Tuesday, August 12, 2008

An Example to His Momma

It was a hectic night... too hectic... too full. When Mark came home from work, we quickly hopped in the van to run errands and eat on the way. I don't like nights like this... the lack of schedule, the normal tasks that go undone, the lack of face-to-face time with my family as we sit in line in our Toyota Sienna.

We came home just in time to run a rag over the faces of my littlest kids and herd them into bed. As we hurried to get this done, Noah declared that he was going to take a few minutes to go outside and fly his "bat". A few months ago, Noah was given a remote controlled bat that has quickly become his favorite toy... it flies and dips and turns and he has gotten really good at making it fly just the way he wants. The hard part about playing with the bat is that because it is so light, the weather conditions must be just right to fly it at all. And at the end of our busy night, the weather was perfect.

As Mark and I took care of the details of ending our day, Noah kept coming in and saying, "Please momma, come see!" but having seen the RC bat fly more times than I could count, that request fell to the bottom of a long list of day-end-to-dos. The sun had set and whatever work left from today would have to be added to tomorrow's list.

Finally, I came downstairs and there stood Noah, anxiously awaiting a few moments of my time. What surprised me most is that the bat sat in it's original spot on the book case. What had he been doing if not flying his bat?

"Come on, momma, come on! You have to see!" he said. He took my hand and pulled me toward the screen door.

It was dark outside... really dark. We love this about our area. Though we live just 40 minutes outside of Chicago, we are so surrounded by our beloved woods that when night falls, we find that the glare of the city is hidden and we can see the stars.

Out I stepped into the dark of the yard. The smell of green and the warm summer air surrounded me. The door closed behind me and then my 11 year old wrapped his arm around my waist.

"Look, momma, look!" and then he whispered... "Isn't it beautiful?"

I slowed down then and I took the time to look. Every inch of my backyard glistened... little yellow lights flashing on and off like diamonds floating on the summer breeze. Fireflies. Millions and millions of fireflies.

Noah stood perfectly still and I heard him sigh a deep contented sigh. We stood in the yard, my boy and I, arms around each other staring at the incredible sight before us.

I almost missed it, I did. I almost tasked myself past what Noah saw and wanted to share. I almost got so lost in the scrubbing of faces and elimination of items on a list that I would have rushed right past the thing that was most important.

It was only a minute. But I think it might have been my favorite minute of the whole summer long.

A Long Quiet, An Empty House and a Choice

Have you ever had one of those days? It seems, around here, to be one of those months. It has been a time of struggle for us as we process through our on-going townhouse situation. The past year and a half has caused us to question ourselves, examine our life and wrestle with things that are parts of our very selves. It has been a hard season here... and a time for us to cling tightly to what we believe... to The One in whom we believe. For me, it has been a time to be quiet... and my blog has fallen quiet, as well.

By nature, Mark and I are trusting people. We know that there are plenty of folks, family included, who feel that this is likely our fatal flaw. I can live with that. But, we WANT to believe the best in others, we want to hear their words and give them a chance to be the people they claim to be. Real estate is not the right market for us! : ) Last year, we worked with a family who really wanted to rent our townhouse and we were anxious to get it rented. They moved through our process at a snail's pace and throughout the whole ordeal, we chose not to advertise the house. A month of valuable summer availability passed by and we continued working with these folks who also showed interest in "renting to own". On the day we were to sign papers and exchange initial funds, they disappeared. Mark and I were devastated... they had been dishonest from the beginning and we were left in a precarious situation that was very nearly overwhelming to us. In moments of anger and frustration we vowed to never be so "stupid" again and wondered, quietly to ourselves, if all those who have pointed out this flaw in our lives had been right all along.

Well, we did find renters last year and just in the nick of time. They moved into our home in November and took exceptional care of it until leaving just recently. Mark and I had time to regroup and went back on the market with our home at the beginning of the summer. Recently, a couple has made a commitment to rent our home and are also looking at the option to buy. We have fought ourselves all over again and have come to a very basic truth. We have a choice. We have a choice to look at these kind people, who seem to be telling us the truth, and trust them-- or not. I do not say that easily because the truth is it's HARD. But it is just that... a choice. We choose to trust.

The past several weeks have been a struggle for me. I have not been sure if that is blog material or not. But, as I sit here this morning, I know that I do not struggle alone. This is a hard time for a lot of us... the economy has slowed, prices have skyrocketed and so many of us are seeking to make a life for our families that is warm and memorable and good. While we process through a recession and try to keep our heads above water, offering that life can feel like a tall order. As I toss this around though I am faced with the fact that parts of this struggle are exactly what I want my kids to see. I want my kids to see that when it is hard, I choose to believe. I choose to have faith in The One who has claimed me as His own and "does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men" (Lamentations 3:33). I choose to trust. I choose to trust my God to love me and have a plan for my life. And, as hard as it can be, I choose to trust others, as well. I do not want to be stuck in a life that sees negativity where it may or MAY NOT exist. I want to see the best in others and, in doing so, embrace within myself the woman I was created to be.

So, excuse my silence as I process it all. I am not through it yet. But, I am working and I am trying and today I am going outside to play with my kids in the yard we have fought so hard to own. Even in a time of economic struggle, that experience is FREE. So, we will turn on the sprinkler, get out a basketball and run with the dog. Today, I will live, in front of them, what life can look like when things are not as we had planned. And maybe, just maybe, walking with their parents through a season like this, watching their parents choose to continue to trust others and our God, will help them to grow into people who will be good and honest and trusting and open... and then it will be worth it after all.