a note for those in the valley.

Sunday was hard.

Rowan woke up and immediately wanted play outside. I knew I was going to have a fight on my hands - transitions are not exactly his strong suit, especially when he has his mind set on something. He unleashed holy terror on me when I tried to change his clothes and it got even worse when his senses melted down over putting on socks.

It took me almost a full hour to get him into his clothes and shoes, and all the while, Scout was howling from her swing. I only have so many hands and arms - two to be exact - and I just couldn't manage my two screaming babies at the same time.

When all was said and done, Rowan was happily playing in the dirt in the backyard, Scout was sleeping in her crib, and I was spent. I had no mental faculties left to engage and so, I sat down on the couch for a spell, and turned on my computer for the first time in a few days. I needed some mindless entertainment.

I logged onto Facebook, and then on to Twitter so I could try to catch up on the latest goings-on.

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There were big, important conversations being had over adoption ethics. Feminist thinkers were tackling some problematic themes in modesty culture. Equal rights proponents were discussing the failure of a gay-marriage bill in Illinois. The theology folks were camped out in the argument over biblical inerrancy. This list is only a small slice of my social media stream.

Every time I read a post, update or tweet about any number of the issues listed, I felt the familiar itch in my fingertips. I wanted to jump in, say something, add something clever and thoughtful to the conversation. I didn't. I was just so tired... I am still just so tired. I climb really steep and treacherous hills every day. When it takes me an hour to put Rowan's socks on in the morning, I simply don't have it in me to climb the hill of another social or theological battle and die on top of it.

I have a number of things that are keeping me in the valley, and I just need to get through today. Maybe one day, I'll get back to climbing the hills, but today is not that day.

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I'm passionate about a number of issues, to be sure.

I think the conversation of adoption ethics is an absolute must-have. But just because I'm passionate about it and think it's a worthy conversation doesn't mean I should jump in and add my .02. It's probably better to let folks like Jen (who has two internationally-adopted children) and Seth (a lawyer by trade, but involved and steeped in adoption ethics conversations for years) take the reigns and fill their spaces with good, thoughtful, researched and measured content on the topic.

I have a lot of opinions about modesty culture, but there's nothing I could say that women like Emily, Dianna, Sharideth and others aren't already saying so well.

And wow, do I have some Big Thoughts on theological topics like biblical inerrancy, the role of the local church, women in ministry, and others. But people like Zack (getting a theology degree from Yale), Preston (getting a doctoral degree from St. Andrews), Rachel (a published author of a best-selling book on biblical womanhood), and Sarah (a vocal advocate for women in ministry and author of the upcoming book, "Jesus Feminist") are doing a wonderful job of articulating the nuances of the various arguments and they hold the same opinions I do. Anything I'd add at this point would only be noise.

I'll admit that some days, when I do actually have the energy & wherewithal to engage, it takes a lot of self-restraint for me to resist the urge to jump in and share my opinion. But, over the course of the last five months, I've seen conversations on the internet implode on themselves enough to know that sometimes, too many voices can actually silence the conversation because the good stuff gets lost in the shuffle.

Sometimes the best way to contribute to a conversation is through silence & thoughtful listening.

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Maybe you're like me. 

Maybe you'd love to spend time education yourself on issues of justice and mercy. You'd love to research sustainable ways to love and care for the least of these in your communities and around the world. You want to bury your nose in books and read for hours about intricate theological debates.

But, maybe you're spending all of your energy trudging through the everyday.

You have a difficult kid with special needs. You just had a baby and you're beyond sleep-deprived to the point of delirium. You're up to your eyeballs in homework because you went back to school for your MBA. You're putting in extra hours at work to save up for vacation later this year. You have a family member that's terminally ill and you're the rock that everyone is relying on. You have a huge body of creative work with a looming deadline.

You are down here, trudging through the valleys of everyday life and you look at those big mountains off in the distance & all of the people climbing to the top of them and you just don't have it in you.

Pull up that chair over there, have a seat and put your feet up. Let me pour you a drink. Just because you can't climb that hill today, doesn't make you any less of a critical thinker, nor does it make your opinions invalid. But this is reality - you just can't climb the hill today. It's okay. You're most welcome here.

Maybe you're like me.

You're down here in the valley with the lot of us with no energy, but you're ready to go. You're practically jumping out of your skin to get climbing, but after looking at everyone else climbing the mountains, you realize you don't have the gear to make the climb. You love the idea of talking about adoption ethics, but you should probably do a bit of reading first. You want to make sure you have everything you need to make it to the top with the other climbers. Or maybe you made it halfway up the hill and you realized you don't have a rope. I'm here to tell you that it's okay to come off the mountain & back down into the valley in order to gather your thoughts and bearings, to accumulate the tools you need to keep going further.

If you're coming down off the mountain after realizing you're unprepared, you're welcome here, too.

I want you to know that this is a good place to be. It's full of other people - good, thoughtful, brilliant people - that are all taking some time to sit in the valley for a while. We're letting our kids run wild, we're trying to catch up on work and pay attention to what's right in front of us. We're reading books and researching. We're all just making it through the day, and we want to hear from you. We want to know what's on your plate, why you're not up on the mountains with the others, going to battle over the big issues. This is a safe place for you to be.

You're welcome to stay here as long as you'd like.

Now, would you pass me the wipes? I have another diaper to change.