(Even my dog liked this book)
I tried knitting once.
When I broke into a sweat, I knew I was doing something wrong. It wasn't supposed to feel that way, right? Everyone else that did it looked so zen.
An inevitable knot of thread in the middle of my frame, just sitting there like a lump of judgment, shouting at me,
"Hey you, aren't you a modern Latter-Day Saint woman? I mean, shouldn't this be something you love--like quilting, canning, and braiding hair? What kind of a mother are you anyway??"
I don't know if your cross stitch ever talks to you, but mine could get downright mouthy.
The problem is, I don't like doing any of those things. My house, while tidy, falls short of pinterest and St. Patrick's Day has been known to come and go with only a drop of green food coloring in pancake to show for it. I've tried to love quilting, I really have. And I have tapped into my Grandma's energy to try to summon a love of crocheting. But alas, not a single handmade pot holder sits in my drawers.
I carry this "should" stick around in my pocket. This is the club that I pull out to beat myself about the head as I list the things I "should" be doing. . . .
I should read more.
I should weigh less
I should write more
I should write less
I should. . . .
I should. . .
I should. . .
It is exhausting.
This lady gets it.
Lady Clementine Churchill carried her own "Should" stick in her handbag. Here she was: smart, capable, fashionable, eloquent, thoughtful, and loyal. She also drove herself to a nervous breakdown in a companionship to a bully genius that she both loved and, from time to time, resented.
Clementine and Winston were clear on their expectations--this was going to be a loving union of brains, power, and sheer grit. They would be fiercely loyal and Clementine would prove to be Winston's secret weapon, practially a Vice Admiral and Assistant Prime Minister.
But, wait, the world also said she should have kids and love them and teach them to read and cuddle with them. Her "should" stick pounded her into the ground, creating a home where noone really won until she finally cast off the "should" stick and stepped into herself.
The "shoulds" of a modern woman can be daunting. The expectations of the decades seem to compound and we think we should not only be as strong as pioneer women, making our own bread and curtains, but we should also have Masters degrees, clean homes, puree our own baby food, knit to relax, and boast perfectly arched eyebrows.
No wonder we walk around so bruised and tired.
My question is this What could happen if we dropped our "should" sticks?
What miracles could follow a level of self-acceptance that trust our inner compass to guide us instead of an external expectation? This is not a life of selfish stagnantion, but a life of mindful and intentional growth driven by our faith in ourselves and our faith in a God that has no "should" stick at all.
I suggest we find out. If Clemmie Churchill can do it, so can we.
Give up the "shoulds."
Surrender the knitting needles.
Run your race. There simply isn't time to run anyone else's.
(Also, this book made me love England even more, the British were flat out astounding during the Blitz)