This is the truth – and I know it all too well. My family knows it all too well. My daughter knows it all too well. Why is it, that with all my best intentions, the ones I love the most inevitably bear the harshest brunt of my worst failings? Tensions and my temper – already primed like a flash grenade – have not always done well in these past several years as we have struggled in and out of stability and in the ever-looming face of the unknown. They run high and on a hair trigger – ready to detonate at the slightest provocation. And like a flash grenade can impair vision, cause hearing loss, disorient, and upend balance for long, aching moments.
But things are changing. The tides are turning. The Spirit is moving.
A friend’s Facebook post led me to the discovery of Ann Voskamp and her book 1000 Gifts, and the Joy Dare. Which led me to her blog: aholyexperience, which led to the writing community, Allume; which led to the online community, (in)courage; which led to oh my word – a re-thinking, a re-focusing – a re-imagining if you will – of my own writing, my own blogging, my own living. And me starting to make my own list. And counting. And thanking. And discovering Eucharisteo – which is giving thanks and grace and joy all wrapped up together. And trying to live fully in the midst of my unending inexplicable mess and my desert wanderings. Striving to remember what Ann writes: “thanksgiving comes before the miracle.” And then …
One night after work, instead of a sweet, happy grin peeking in through the window to pick me up, there was the saddest little face, all full of tears and woe. I walked out into the cold and dark and she was stricken and torn, and could barely talk about it. I tried to coax it out and puzzle out what was wrong, but she kept crying pulling away and saying: but you’ll be so mad. And I don’t want you to be mad.
|By the talented Ursula Abresch|
And then there was the miracle.
Because maybe three or four weeks before, I probably would have sparked mad and gone off the rails over nothing; turning harmony to chaos. But somehow, I just held her close. And loved her. And said that it was okay. And that I wasn’t mad – really – could she really see that I wasn’t mad. And that I loved her and that it was going to be okay. And there was grace pouring down and I said thank you again. Breathed out thank you again up into the deep blue of the night sky to God who was working and mending. And prayed that it wouldn’t just be this one time. That He’d keep fixing the broken bits of me.
And He is. Because the miracle happened again. Just this morning. When she decided to put every bit of the whole new tube of toothpaste down the drain. To see if it would clean the drain. Maybe that will make no sense to you – why get mad about toothpaste? (Because it’s wasteful. And pointless.) And when you’re living on the edge of stability and cutting every corner’s corner, every penny counts. A new tube of toothpaste is supposed to last for at least a month and be one less thing you have to spend your tiny bits of money on the next time you’re at the store. And yes. I probably would have gone all flash bang grenade on that one too. But I didn’t. I actually laughed. Out loud. Tweaked her nose, made her smile, and said, silly girl, what did you do that for? Breathed oh, thank you Lord again. And that was a grace note of joy all in itself.
*James 3: 5-6ish MSG