Friday, June 12, 2015

It Isn't All My Life

Sometimes you ask me how I am, and I demur.
Maybe someone just called my husband in crying distress and needing prayer,
and it's broken our hearts that the same people
who have borne up under so much pain are hurting again.
Why do some people
seem to get so much more than their fair share of grief and heartache?
Shouldn't there be a rule
that you only have to deal with one death every ten or twenty years or so?
They're on my heart, and you want to know how I am,
and I'm fine.
Really, I am.
And how is that fair?
And I can't talk about how they're hurting, because it's their private grief.
And although they shared it with us, it isn't ours to share.

And just a day or two later,
someone confides a soaring joy that makes us laugh out loud --
and tells us we can't breathe a word of it.
Even though it's a fulfilled promise of God.
And we nod, and try to tamp down the smiles a little,
so as not to let on that we know.
And it's such a privilege to be allowed into both --
the sorrow and the rejoicing.
But, man -- how to respond to your question?
How am I?
I'm elated!
I'm heartbroken.
I can't tell you about either.

And so I tell you something mundane from my life.
And maybe you think I'm withdrawn.
Or I'm hiding something.
Or that I don't want to be friends.
And I want to be friends.
I want to share my life --
but it isn't all my life.

And even sometimes when it's my own hurt I don't speak of,
it's because maybe someone has acted badly.
They've done something mean,
and I'm trying to respond the way I ought to.
I don't post their dirty laundry on my Facebook status,
and gather all my friends to my side to condemn them.
Because do you know my hope?
I hope they come to their senses.
I hope they recognize the error someday.
And how will they ever be able to do that
if everyone they know thinks they are the devil's own apprentice?

A friend told me a story about a pastor he knew
who had been really wronged by people who knew him.
He'd been slandered and they had drawn others away and separated themselves.
The pastor had been really upset privately in my friend's presence --
and rightly so, frankly.
He's a human being with natural emotions.
The pastor had said he'd be happy if he never saw ______ again.
A few years went by.
The person he'd said that about realized he'd been misled.
He'd misjudged the whole thing.
He came back repentant and asked to be forgiven.
A few more years went by.
A new area needed a church pastor.
The pastor laid hands on and sent out that same guy who had come back.
Our friend was a private witness to both.
And I smiled to hear about restored fellowship with more depth --
the depth of repentance and forgiveness.
A reality of Christian fellowship.
Sometimes when we're hurt,
we have to choose the end game.
Hope for reconciliation, because we are family, screw-ups and all.

In the same way that you will never have a healthy marriage
if you go tattling about every failure your spouse has to your family of origin;
how will you live love for the church
if you can't swallow a few hurts and hope for the best?
Sometimes our love points out an error,
and sometimes it shuts its mouth and prays,
and accepts a painful slight.
Paul rebuked Christians for going to court against each other.
"Why not rather be wronged?" he asked them,
"Why not rather be defrauded?"
Better to be a victim in this case, than a plaintiff.

And how are you doing?

Sunday, June 7, 2015

If You've Wondered


The toddler has been flipping out for days.
Arching her back.
Banging her head on the floor.
"What does your shirt say?" Talia asks her, in a pleasant voice,
in an attempt to distract her from yet another fit.
"IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!!!!!!" she screams back at her.
She tries to hang on the open secretary desk.
"No, no," I say gently. "You can't hang on that. It will hurt you."
She melts down, slapping my leg and weeping,
and then attempts to climb me.

Her third tooth is in,
birthed through another sleepless night of thrashing and much Orajel.
She still has her charmingly sociable personality,
only it's been joined by an alter ego that is furious and mean.
She runs like a whirlwind through the house,
climbing things that scare me, and undoing all order.
She tries to climb the bookshelf.
She's taken down, and flings herself angrily at the ground.
When I try to read out loud, as our homeschooling lifestyle demands,
she yells through the whole experience.

She does not want her hair combed.
She does not want her diaper changed.
She does not want her nose wiped or her face washed.
She wants to eat, and rejects all offered food.
She spent several days in a war between her mouth,
which didn't want to put anything in it,
and her tummy, which cried for hunger.
She would only eat enough to take the edge off,
and then would be crying again shortly because it wasn't enough.

Nap times are respites.
Except we are reading through most of them lately,
since she interrupts so much of it earlier.
Why am I writing this?
Because maybe you wondered where I am.
Why I write so little lately.

I am tired.
We've had company,
and while I know they are people who love us, and aren't expecting the Hilton,
it seems reasonable to me that sheets be washed and basic cleaning be done.
And I can't keep up.
We are pressing on to finish school,
because that is one of our very top priorities in life.
And we are doing the dishes and feeding people.
And we are trying to keep from drowning in laundry.
And please don't even talk to me about my children's bedrooms.
Just shut the door.

As if drowning in dirty laundry wasn't bad enough,
WHY are the clean clothes being put back into the laundry again?
Please explain how the hampers in your bedrooms, 
the three hamper sorter in the hall outside your bedrooms, 
AND the large basket hamper in your bathroom just off the hall 
ARE NOT ENOUGH HAMPERS TO DEPOSIT YOUR DIRTY CLOTHES IN?

Life operates in seasons, and this is one of exhaustion.
When I have a few minutes, I mostly stare at a wall.
I miss writing more often.
I miss not stepping on toys and discarded food.
I miss time to think.
I miss reading books of my own choosing while not falling asleep.
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