Now that my daughter Anna’s 18 months old, my mind seems like it’s waking from a long postpartum haze. I was shocked today at soccer when I realized I was cheering for my daughter’s teammates by name. While I rarely forget a face, I’m usually the one who can’t remember people’s names to save my life. Which of course is worse during seasons of sleep-deprivation!
Anyway, while I was yelling, “Go Anthony!” at the game, feeling pretty smug my brain was back online, a painful counter-example of mental acuity grated at my heart. Before the game, my sister had left a voice message about some potentially scary health news. The thought of my little sister going through that kind of difficulty broke my heart. But harsher still was her assertion, once I called her back, “I’m sorry I had to call and leave that scary message about me, but you’re so busy I knew you’d only call back quickly if I told you what was up.” Ouch. Apparently the part of my brain that remembers to call people back on the phone hasn’t even begun it’s post-baby recovery.
Being a person who sees herself as one who cares about people and is even pursuing a career as a Life Coach, that hit hard. How did I become someone who my own sister saw as too busy for her? Granted, it’s pretty hard to connect when we live in different countries, on different schedules, with a half-dozen kids between us. But still. Even after the conversation had moved through a few more topics, I stopped her and said, “I’m sorry I am hard to reach. And that I stink at returning calls. I’m so sorry I’ve left you feeling your own sister isn’t there for you.”
The re-connection was immediate. She paused, forgave me, and we went back to talking and laughing for a little while until she had to go clean a bowl of Cream Of Wheat off her baby and the floor. When we hung up, I continued to wonder what kinds of choices I’m making with the people I care about. If I call myself a follower of Jesus, which I do, then wouldn’t I live like Him and pursue people as my highest priority? From the very start of His ministry on earth, he went out of his way to seek people out – from traveling to a different town to “find” a disciple (see John 1:43) to the ways he called people out from a crowd to heal them from lifelong pain (Mark 5:25-34).
Talking with my sister was a wake-up call for me. Her honesty helped me to see an area where I can grow, as hard as that was in the moment. I suppose that even over time, with years expanding between me and postpartum sleepiness, there will always be the needs for wake-up calls like this. Here’s to hoping I’ll be alert enough to listen to them!