Let the life sustaining air that he created fill your lungs and give you strength for the next moment.
Sometimes prayer does not feel like enough because there are not words to describe what your heart truly needs. Sometimes worship seems distant, unobtainable, impossible to behold with all life’s circumstances.
And in again.
Until it feels like peace washing over you. Until the spirit runs through your being, filling in the broken, missing, empty spaces longing for wholeness, healing, completion.
I open the fridge to find it just sitting there. Delicately packaged, neatly arranged, ready and prepared for a new day is my husband’s lunch. I sigh, immediately slump my shoulders and feel the weight of defeat. Regrettably thoughts rush through my mind. Why do I even try? What’s the point? I had come home from work the evening before after a long day of stopping at the repair shop for the car, rushing to work because of the delay, leaving late trying to get everything accomplished, stopping at the grocery store to ensure ingredients were on hand for the week, only to arrive home far past dark and 20 minutes before the little one’s bed time.
Husband had prepared dinner for the kids and kept a bowl warm in the oven, a healthy morsel awaiting my arrival after the day. I appreciate him for these things. For the small acts of kindness that fill in the voids that time demands and the day seizes. Left to my own devices I probably would have eaten a handful of peanuts. However, to my delight a warm bowl of rice and seasoned pork sat on hand, the perfect temperature and deliciously prepared. I consumed enough to quiet the sounds of hunger gnarling inside and without taking a seat or pause, began preparing for the next day. Lettuce to peel, radishes to slice, tomatoes to quarter. Meat folded neatly on bread and wrapped just the same. Yogurt and berry cups prepared for the morning. Lunch cases organized and placed on the middle shelf, I felt accomplished and finally went to change for the evening, ready to shake off the days ventures.
Now, here it sits. Not forgetting his own sacrifice of time and love the night before, I had purposefully appreciated it and offered words of gratitude to him. Encountering the forgotten efforts the next day left me feeling a little deflated. The little one and I loaded up in the car and headed for her school drop off. I messaged him about the abandoned meal. He messages back a sad face and intent to get a granola bar from the vending machine to hold him over. Immediately my heart softens and my frustration melts away. It wasn’t purposefully ignored, just simply forgotten. I considered my agenda for the day and realizing I had enough time to help, I made a new plan.
Little one now in class, I head for the store. I carefully examine prepared meals until I find one that appears diet-friendly and that he might enjoy. Veggies, lemonade, yogurt and a fruit bar later, a new meal is ready to go. I stop by the coffee station on my way out and pick him up a medium roast. A gesture of love on what was is usually a busy morning of meetings and hectic schedules for him. I head east and swing past his office. He greets me with a kiss and a heartfelt thank you.
Nothing else really matters than this. This is marriage. The delicate balance of support and concern, of friendship and gratitude, of making life happen together.
I desire love to be the loudest voice in my life. I hope it echoes off the walls of insecurity and finds its way into the smallest crevices of my heart, like a flood searching for a turbulent exit. May it twist and wind, rush and flow, surge and roll until every last susceptible nook and cranny are overflowing with its abundance. May it tear at the roots of frustration and discontent, washing it far away from the new buds of concern and affection. May I always be willing to love first and demand last, to hope with abandon and run fervently towards compassion.
This usually requires a removal of self, the awareness of emotion that is offered for others and not wrapped tightly around the center of my own desires. It is sometimes a daily occurrence, this allowing of the satisfaction of others to satisfy myself. Yet, its the sweetest taste of life I have ever known.
I have lost 412 pounds in my life, collectively. I mean, not all at once…come on here, give a girl a chance. But, if you put together all the “Weight Watchers” counting, no super size – thank you, “just say no” to carbs kind of mentality, I could really total up some poundage! I was not always so concerned about these curves. I mean for the first few weeks or so that I arrived into the world, I was a cool 7-10 pounds and totally average. Yes! Medium! Average! #Excitement
Actually, I did not understand at all why I was on the planet when I was a baby. I could not tell night from day and cried like my favorite shoe sale had just ended. All night long I would do this. My parents sought out reinforcements, they checked their buyer’s agreement and called the hospital to see if there was a recall on babies born that day in late October. Turns out I had not yet figured out this silly thing of living. Born with a head full of jet-black hair my blonde-ness came in like a group of 3-year olds at a Chucky Cheese birthday party – wild, loud and totally uncontrolled. I had black tips and blonde roots, my first real taste of rebellion, it seems. I still wake up most mornings looking like I took a 3:00am roller-coaster ride, but hey – sometimes my hair is the most reasonable thing about me.
I mean, I never really know what kind of day its going to be, or what the world may perplex me with. For now I’m just excited that I can slip into my new medium shirt, heat-style some life into these golden locks and embrace the day with full force. A girl on the loose.
There are two shiny, red corvettes. I’m not entirely sure of the year, but from the cut of the fenders, the glisten of the cherry paint and the muscley-muscleness they represent, I’d say they are a 70’s model. Sure, they are probably from the 70’s. My children are intent on arguing which one is theirs, however. The little one insists the one in her brother’s hand is IN-FACT hers and the other, identical one on the counter belongs instead to him. It doesn’t matter, I quip. They are the same car. We bought them on the same day, at the same time, from the same store. They came in the same Hotwheels box and you both liked the same car, so take one of them and go play. She sighs a huge sigh, shoots her brother a death-look and takes the other car from the counter, likely to create some sort of Evel Knievel-style launching system from which to shoot it from.
It’s tough, this game of possession and the level of importance we assign to the objects, the things, the stuff that “belongs” to us. As a matter of fact, I’m of the persuasion that we really own very little in our lives. I feel we are more gifted an authority over things and we get to choose how to execute the stewardship of those things.
I have a home. A home I purchased and work for and pay for. However, when I am done with the use of this home, when it has served it’s purpose in my life, or I decide to move on from this place, I will relinquish ownership to the next purchaser and it will no longer be my home. So, rather than get prideful about the place that I own, I try to honor it for the thing that it is, a place of shelter, a quiet place to read or study, a place to share a meal with family and friends, my safe harbor and the place in which I may rest my head at night. I take joy in cleaning and shining the wood floors, impressed by the fact that although constructed nearly 100 years ago, the floors are still beautifully preserved and intact. I give honor to the person who cut and built the archways by dusting, wiping, inspecting and giving attention to what my home may need. I am the keeper of this place at this moment and I will also work to preserve and extend it’s life should someday I not still be the “owner.”
I feel we can give such attention to the things in our lives and the people, as well. I must remember as a wife that I do not “own” my husband. He is a gift in my life for me to cherish. Now mind you, I’m not preserving him for the next in line. But, I rather feel in this dance of marriage and companionship that we are called to enhance the other’s existence, to partner to meet each other’s needs, support each other’s desires and to tenderly care for them in a way that does not overtake or abuse their position in our lives. I do not wish to take for granted what I have been given.
I help my children by providing them a donation box in which they can also release some of the ownership of their things in order to share with those less fortunate. They sort through their toys and belongings and look for items to share. It is not for the broken things they wish to discard, but rather when my step-daughter pulls out a stuffed bear that she likes and announces, “Beary has always made me smile because I like his silly scarf and his big eyes. I think another girl would like him, too.” My momma-heart swells so big and I know they are absorbing a will of goodness, rather than an idea of possession. For now she keeps that little, red corvette and that is okay, too. She is enjoying it for this moment and perhaps will have a moment in the future where it is no longer hers. Cherish the moments, baby girl, instead of the things. I will enjoy more watching you create those loops and jumps, rather than basking in the pride of what items we can afford or not afford for you. If you must posses, then posses the moment. If you must own, then own the responsibility. If you must insist, then insist on love. Always, insist on love.
If I had a hat for every role life has asked me to play I would have a wall of hats…big floppy ones for the carefree girl that I am, one with a feather for the sophisticated woman I desire to be, a construction hood for the harder moments, a cap, a fedora, a beanie, a snow toboggan, big hats, little hats, hot pink and sequin hats, a hat to match my favorite black heels and maybe a patchwork hat with buttons for these converse tennis shoes currently living on my feet. I would have so many hats. How do we balance this?
I am a wife, a step-mother, a business manager, a student, the family chauffer-chef-doctor-therapist-counselor and rememberer-of-things. I am a dog mom, cat mom, little red fish mom to Bubbles the 2nd (it must be pronounced this way, full-title, at all times) and a spider mom to Mr. Cuddles, the tarantula (a moment of questionable judgment in attempt to let the kids learn more about nature and science. Turns out he’s a very nice, albeit hairy little fellow and so was dubbed accordingly by my step-son.)
Changing hats is hectic enough, but sometimes I literally cannot remove one before adding another. And so here I stand with unkempt hair that I promise was curled earlier, wearing hats like a circus performer, one stacked precariously on top of the other until they are out of my reach.
Thank God for grace.
Thank God for the tribe around us who uplift and support. For my husband who lovingly offered the other day, “What can I do to make this week easier for you?” For my team at work who rallies beside me to make the day happen, for ladies at church who offer hugs for no reason, for friends who send random texts of uplift and encouragement, for words of wisdom that call out from the pages of scripture, for podcasts of enlightenment I can listen to on my commute, for family who are always cheering from the sidelines, for all those who pour into life so that others around them may live. If you are not experiencing these things, then I hope you find them here. I hope that you find a wellspring of love and support, of encouraging words and compassion. I hope you find inspiration to fuel your passion, no matter what hat the day has asked you to wear. Pull it down tight and press on ladies, we are here to live love, and live it so very deep with you.
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