Friday, November 9, 2012

Second Fiddle and Loving It!

Do you dislike "playing second fiddle" to anyone?  You know - being subordinate to anyone or anything.  If some of us were really honest right now, we'd admit we don't like "playing second fiddle" to anyone or anything!  We like being in charge and we don't want to depend on anyone else.  There is something to be learned in dependence which never will be learned as long as we declare and hold fast to our independence though.  Maybe this lesson is just too hard to learn, so we resist it so dearly.  A friend and I were talking the other day about whether either of us would see ourselves remarried again in the future.  It came down to a talk about liking our "independence" vs. "being dependent" on someone else.  Bottom line, I ended the conversation with, "Independence is not always what it is cracked up to be!"

Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.  (Romans 12:9-10 MSG)

For those who don't know me, you should know I have been "single again" for longer than I was "single" in the first place!  I married at 20 and have been "single again" for nearly 25 years.  In that time, I raised two kids, have enjoyed being involved in the lives of my two grandsons, and most recently been in the position of caring for an aging parent.  In each of these relationship "journeys" I have learned some pretty valuable lessons about "playing second fiddle" - something which does not come easily to most of us in relationships.

In my marriage, one of the toughest things to do was to "play second fiddle". To lay one's desires down for another's is often a very difficult thing to do.  Let me just say this is most certainly not being "under the thumb" of a controlling husband, or living as a "doormat" in a relationship.  If you have ever played a team sport such as softball, football, or soccer, you know there are individuals on the team who do a much better job of setting the ball up, fielding the balls hit into the deep outfield, and scoring the goals.  The one who sets the ball up for the goal to be scored is equally as important at the kicker who puts it into the goal!  One without the other is really not a team, but an "independent contractor".  I don't think God intended for "independent contractors" in relationships.  In looking back over my ten years of marriage, I think he intended for us to recognize the strengths of the other in the relationship and to compliment each other with those strengths.

In raising children some mothers will tell you they feel like those wee ones just "suck the life" from them.  It is like they are "leaching" the life right out of you some days - clinging on you, demanding more and more, until you are about worn down to nothing.  Their needs often outweigh our own, don't they?  We don't want to awaken at 2 a.m. to a crying infant, pleading to be held, freshly diapered, and beckoning for their tummy to be filled to capacity.  In fact, to be honest, we want to roll over, pull the pillow over our heads, snuggle down into the warm covers and hope the noise just goes away!  What I learned from motherhood may not be much of a lesson to you, but it was to me.  I learned what it really means to be dependent on another - for those wees one had a way of "taking from me" exactly what they needed most.  Maybe this is the lesson of parenthood - learning to give what another needs, regardless of how much our emotions cry out for us to just think about ourselves.  

Grandchildren are indeed a gift from God.  You can love them, spoil them silly, and then send them home!  Yet, there is something which has come into my life with grandchildren - the ability to mentor and model.  You see, my children now come to me for advice - something they never considered all that worthwhile when they were teenagers!  In those moments, I see what it means to be "dependent" on another - looking for answers about how to make ends meet, hoping for some cure to make the kids eat their vegetables, or simply finding ways to make time for the other in a hectic life filled with work and chores.  Maybe God allows parents to again be "smart" in the eyes of their children because he knows they need role models who show them how to live out this faith in their day-to-day life.

Probably most revealing to me is the role of an aging parent debilitated by the years and with failing faculties - totally dependent on another for their safety, every provision of life, and even for their socialization.  They never wanted to be where they find themselves now, but it is a reality of life which they cannot escape.  They never envisioned themselves moving from independence into dependence.  Maybe God's lesson in this is the beauty of giving back what has been given out for so many years - their faithful love matched with our faithful care.

Dependence vs. independence - the lesson of the "second fiddle".  The best music is made when we recognize the times for "first fiddle" to begin to "play second fiddle".  Just sayin!

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