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Measuring Up

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My sister and her whole family came to visit me today. I was all in aflutter trying to get ready. I wanted to make sure the lawn got cut, but four days of rain and a broken mower belt seemed to conspire against me. I bought food for lunch for when they were here, but was worried whether it would be enough and whether they would like it. Then I noticed my rosacea was acting up, and that always makes me feel self-conscious.

Things were fine while they were here. Husband fixed the mower and I got all the grass cut just in time (and even managed to get a shower before the family arrived!) No one complained of being hungry after lunch (though perhaps they were being nice). I was worried about whether they would be entertained, but we had volleyball and badminton and a tour of the property and my nieces especially enjoyed the baby rabbits. And we played Apples to Apples and one nephew entertained me with card tricks.

I met another nephew’s girlfriend and wished that I could be more like my mother-in-law who can talk to anyone and can draw people out and who learns about and connects with people in a way I cannot figure out how to do. In the end, I did not get to know the young lady as well as I’d have liked.

All in all, I realized that I’m always trying to measure up to someone. I want to do everything well. This is an impossible task. I know that. But the impossibility of it does not stop me from desiring it. I want to garden as well as my brother-in-law despite the fact that I hate weeding. I want to connect with people like my mother-in-law even though in reality, I don’t really like people. I want to be as detail-oriented as my mother and sister, but the fact is that I would rather look at the big picture.

I ask myself: If all my dishes were plates, how would I eat soup? If all my appliances were refrigerators, how would I cook? If all my tools were hammers, how would I tighten a screw? I know that God made each of us different because things just wouldn’t work if everyone were the same.

I just don’t always know what He wants with a misanthropic, unathletic hater of details like me.

But here is what I do know.

I teach middle schoolers and I love it. And that is an age a lot of people don’t love.

Today, I talked relatively intelligently to my niece about knitting and to my nephew about the ukulele.

Over the past decade or so, Husband and I have had guests in our home countless times.

If you need help with your grammar, I’m the gal to ask.

I don’t excel at mathematics or art or using power tools. But God made me a unique person, and I need to be as happy with His creation as He is.


About Karen Koch

I like the old-fashioned lifestyle. All this new-fangled stuff baffles me sometimes. I cherish living out in the country, raising chickens and rabbits, planting fruit trees, and enjoying a slow life filled with beautiful words and ideas. I don't always achieve a slow life. I teach middle school English and manage a little burgeoning farm with my husband, and somewhere in the midst of that, I try to find time for writing, running, knitting, reading, and playing the ukulele. And sometimes, I actually succeed.

6 responses »

  1. Theresa Middendorf


  2. You don’t know how many times your “big picture” perspective helps me make decisions when bogged down by details. Kinda like “what would Karen do?”

  3. “I want to connect with people like my mother-in-law even though in reality, I don’t really like people.” – oh man, it’s like we’re twins! Except for the middle schoolers – I didn’t even like ME when I was in middle school, so thank God for you!

  4. You left out your dry sense of humor and the ability to engage through the written word — when combined they make us laugh out loud and lift our spirits! “Misanthropic, unathletic hater of details” absolutely killed me! hahahahaha


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