Now, I am no science fiction junkie. Let’s get that straight. But, something descended upon our home today and it was super welcomed and much needed. Perhaps, even requested.
I spent the better part of the weekend sick, after a week of taking care of a sick family. Each member, individually, fell ill to a nasty little virus whose signature was the deepest bone ache, most intense nausea and other gastroentestinal manifestations I have ever experienced outside of pregnancy. We owe Lysol disinfecting wipes a big “Whatever!” for it’s ability to “kill 97% of viruses.” Or, we are just unlucky enough to attract that resistant 3% that laughs at sodium hydroxide. We’ll likely never know for sure.
So, today, my husband awoke to the usual 6 a.m. houligan-anigans. Let me describe.
My son, who seems to have a deep seeded lie in his heart regarding his ability to ascertain a breakfast each day, scavenges the kitchen after waking his much younger sister to join him. He knows not to go into the kitchen and climb up into who-knows-where and start rummaging to get whatever he deems an appropriate breakfast to be. Especially NOT before 7 a.m.
With three kids (ages 5,4,and 3) a parent has to establish the ‘start time’ - like the time of day when the gun goes off and the race begins. For us, that is at 7 a.m. Before that, awake and rummage at your own risk. And he does, despite loving correction, angry correction, positive reinforcement and yes, that ever growing unpopular negative reinforcement (the back hand). I am kidding. It is not the back hand. It is actually the front of my hand on the BACK of his behind. It matters not, because nothing has deterred this behavior and it is completely exasperating.
SO, Daddy got to administer the love this morning followed by a resignation that the gun was going to have to go off at 6:30 a.m. today instead of our self appointed 7 a.m. Sometimes acceptance is the best thing you can do. And Honey Nut Cheerios tend to help the tears disappear. He even dressed them and brushed their teeth so that when I rolled out of bed around 7:30 all I had to do was pack lunches, disrobe them, shower them and redress them. It was a smooth process believe it or not. I am not kidding.
Everyone was in the car and he, showered and dressed, and I ,showered and dressed, departed at the same time this morning. Unbelievable. I dropped off the two at school from 9-1 and took my youngest for a “Mommy and Wibby (aka Libby)” day. She requested Panera for her second breakfast and who am I to argue. So we went there, and chatted and spread butter, a lot. I looked through my delightful Sunday paper with all four beautiful coupon inserts and exciting drug store advertisements (more on that later) and we left, without any hint of an argument, for the library.
Ah, the library. She loves it. I love that she loves it. It has little computers, puzzles, puppets and books of course. But what really makes it great is the librarian who does not care that the toddler area is treated by a toddler like a toddler would treat a toddler area. You follow me? I mean, Libby grabs a book from each shelf, randomly, and then asks the librarian to help her transport all of her selections to me. I am thinking “Oh, this is going to be a nightmare to reshelve.” But the librarian says, “Oh, it is okay. She is so cute.” And I believed her because it was not like she was just trying to say something polite. I can see through that, generally speaking.
We return home for a lunch, again without argument or fussing and then off to pick up her sibs for my eldest’s first KinderMusik lesson - which she LOVED. I took the other two during said music lesson to a previously unknown nearby park that was shaded and LOVELY in every single way. We picked up my big girl after a perfect 40 minutes of play and returned home.
I started dinner. Are you appreciating the smoothness of this day? I mean, even as I type it I am thinking - whose life IS THIS?? I prepare a lasagne which I have all the ingredients on had to prepare. Majestic. I call my husband as I put it in the oven. He will be home in 20 minutes. Are the stars aligned? I don’t even believe in that stuff.
He rolls in, hungry and delighted with my dinner selection. My kids eat it all and say “yummy mommy, thank you.” Am I on candid camera? Who has possessed my home?
After dinner I am cleaning up the kitchen while the fam is out back playing some football. Where is Norman Rockwell when you need him? And as I am cleaning the dishes in the sink and placing them in the EMPTY dishwasher (visualize my bowing in all four directions here).... this entry comes to me.
What FORCE has entered our home today and how can I get a package of it and stockpile it to pull out AT LEAST once a month. You girls feelin’ me?
What is missing in the entire saga gloriously described thus far is the conversation my husband started last night at the dinner table. It too was brought on, in my opinion, by a Force because it was exactly what I had wanted and needed to hear, perhaps not for the first time, not just from him, but ONCE AGAIN.
I have realized that I am fighting my life at times. Wanting to disengage, wanting to escape. Not anything like in the permanent sense, but in the momentary. Wanting to just exit via my mind - turn on the boob tube, plug in the ear phones, head out to Target, surf the net, read any thing and everything and become so frustrated with the ‘interruptions’ that I disappoint myself in what I am becoming in my primary role in life. And despondent about turning this whole habit around.
The habit is: always rehearsing the difficulties of life, the hardships, the challenges.... you know those physical aches and pains, those relationships or lack thereof, the financial realities we might find ourselves in... I could go on and I usually do. My husband and I both, I hope he won’t mind me saying, have settled into this...or I should say unsettled into it.
We know this is NOT living a life but rather surviving one. And as a wise tweet recently posted stated “if you are not doing anything with your life it does not matter how long it is.” Word. I mean, we are doing something with our lives and we even have some vision for what we are doing. We’ve made some hard choices, some poor ones and even some really incredibly wise ones. But I frequently lose my vision. And when that happens as often as it does, all I can see are the difficulties. They are my only REALity. They are speaking louder.
So Stephen says last night that we have got to change NOW the climate in our home - and not as an accusation. At least, I did not receive it as such which is a HUGE miracle right then and there. There’s an entire entry that could be inserted here, but I will spare you.
There is so much arguing and correcting and everything else that normally goes on in a home with three kids, and two really stretched parents. We need some refuge. Some peace. And not the kind of peace where we are all polly-anna and stuff like that, but where there are some things that are true and settled. And those true and settled things rule over the lesser realities.
The true and settled things are that our stressors, in REALITY, are our blessings. Our jobs, our relative HEALTH, our providentially being born in the USA, our having the opportunity to make choices at all (like where and how to spend our money), our having to balance quality time with our THREE children, our stressing to find some time to focus on our marriage... all these things are manifestations of a blessed life.
THAT is what gets lost when perspective dies. It is a painful place to live. It is a difficult place to remain. I think that is a primary reason God commands us to be in relational community. As with everything He implores us to do, it is not for His ego, but for our good.
What descended upon our house tonight is a picture of what I think it looks like to do what the Bible calls, “walking in the Spirit.” I am not going to get all mystical on ya, but I do take the Bible seriously, as you know, and the Bible is clear that the Father is in heaven, Jesus is currently at His right hand, and what we have today ON THIS EARTH is the Holy Spirit. And I think when He comes and is allowed to speak louder in my heart than those difficulties, there is a REAL change that occurs.
Now, in my house tonight, it just worked out. Perhaps God was working. Maybe He was answering our humble prayer to take our family and do something in and with it that we just cannot seem to sustain. Maybe. But the way the day proceeded reminded me that what our family needs, what I need, is not some stockpile of star alignment, but the life changing force of the Holy Spirit.
I need Him to remind me, ALL THE TIME. I need Him and His perspective to be more real to me than my sensual reality. I need Him to help me control my tongue. I need Him to give me some supernatural ENERGY. I need Him to give me eyes to see what is really going on around me. I need Him to give me creativity and imagination. Compassion and mercy and productivity. I have to tell you, I KNOW I cannot do, in this life, all that I hope God has made for me to do WITHOUT the Holy Spirit giving me some power to do it - and some wisdom to even know WHAT THAT IS. God is not “in me as me” as a recent movie stated profoundly. No, God is in me, despite me. Thank God. No really, right now, “Thank God” - as an equally profound movie of the late 70’s proclaimed (if you don’t already know which one I am talking about... it is entitled “Oh, God”.... John Denver and George Burns plays God... not moving making at its most adept).
I said there was a Force that descended upon my home. It felt like it sorta. But lasting and meaningful Power from the Holy Spirit comes like a breeze. It is not heavy and laden with things to do and accusations. Not surprisingly, because of the God I love, His vision and perspective are maintained most fastidiously by remembering how much He totally loves me. He does not motivate by Force, but by Breeze. It IS surprising how effective His love is at motivating me. His love gives me an understanding of why I am, who I am , what I am made to do and hope that He will help me do it.
I place my life and my home and all that I care for in His hands. His very able hands. I really want Him to do something undeniable in me... and you too. He is so good, and what He creates in the physical and in the spirit is beyond description.
But as you come to know Him and consequently trust Him, you'll find that all those very real distractions, grow dim and the Breeze subtly takes you aloft, on your way to becoming what you deeply needed to be.