The wrong fight

There was a super poignant scene in the latest episode of "Parenthood" and if you're not all caught up, this could contain a spoiler for you, so be warned, fellow viewers. It was a subtle moment, an exchange that takes place in restaurants everywhere, every night of the week. Joel fights his boss to pay the bill after a celebratory business dinner. Joel covers his boss's hand and says that, no, he insists. He says this job is the only thing that makes sense in his life right now, so he is paying forward his gratitude.

There are a lot of implications to this scene: possible romantic undertones with Joel and his boss, the expense and the celebration that Joel is withholding from his wife from whom he is recently separated.

But the part I keep considering is the fight. Joel fights to pay the bill. He puts the strong hand out and slips his credit card in the slot. He doesn't have to fight to understand his job right now--it's the only thing he doesn't have to fight. In other words, he's fighting to preserve the very thing that comes easily to him.


A major theme over the last few weeks of Parenthood has been the fight for what matters: meaningful work, a house full of memories, a marriage under duress. Julia, Joel's wife, keeps accusing him of not fighting for their marriage, and we see in the tears Joel keeps holding back (he must be really tired of the script lately!) that he must feel already defeated in some ways.

I can identify with this fight.

I am not in the midst of a separation or a divorce, but I am great at fighting for the things that come easily to me. The very things that I shouldn't have to fight for--more time for things that will not make a difference, more connections and clothes and capital--things that will ultimately fade. It takes courage to fight for the things that are more lasting. It takes intention and guts and salty tears.  The admiration of my husband, the hearts of my children. These are all I get to bring in the UHaul behind me. Why am I not fighting harder for them?

*** It was Bump Up Day at Baby Girl's school today. All the kids in kindie got to experience the first grade classrooms, etc. Loverpants reminded me that it if were Korea, the kids would have had to take a test before they were allowed to advance to the next grade level.

Oh that I would welcome the test so I'm ready to be bumped up to the next level. That I could face the fight for growth and accept with gratitude grace as so much of this battle has already been won by the One.