Amy Grant sang it best years ago, if these walls could speak…
15 years and 4 months ago, the last time I packed my house two planes tumbled the twin towers like live Jenga. 3 boys and 1 girl later, 4 graduations, 3 weddings, 2 jobs, 1 house. From 12 passenger van to mini van, from huge computer monitors to iPhones, from family at home of 6, up to 11, back down to 7. If these walls could speak they would tell of myriad of scrawled stats on little scraps of paper, of journal entry after entry crying out to God, art works and photographs, of Geek man and a shattered lava lamp, of loud singing in the shower and thousands of messy kitchen creations, poetry and football games, fires and puzzles, studies and books read. Nerf wars and rip sticks, arrows shot in the basement, dreams, schemes and plans of camp, hunting and basketball reinactments, wrestling and volleyball in the hallway, touching the ceiling, trampoline games over and over, girls giggling deep into the night. People aplenty. Parties aplenty. They would also tell of sin and evil, broken promises and heart ache, deception and fear, appendicitis and miscarriages, arguments and anger, tears and despair. But mostly, Redemption and hope. Forgivesness and freedom. His covering over all. My daughter of 6 sat in the bathtub crying loudly last night, “bathtub I don’t want to leave you!” The bathtub where Kip was born and bubbles reach the ceiling when out of control children empty a bottle of bubble bath in the jets. Where my husband soaks sore muscles and has all the kids in their swim suits watch a movie while in the tub. I think I will join her and cry loudly, “House I don’t want to leave you!” And I will go pack another box.
Locked in the closet.
Wrapping, sorting, sobbing.
The wrapping room, stocking surprises, parenting rejection. Cleansing the heart with tears, give until it hurts, give some more, give until there is nothing left to give-then nudge away, towards independence, some take the first steps reluctantly, others leap at freedom. And I’m left…locked in the closet, wrapping my emotions, sorting the pain, alone with my tears realizing that this, another gift, perhaps the greatest gift that I can give: the pretense of no pain, of joy, of celebration in their departure–this the final ripping of my heart. Wiping my tears on a burp rag that was used for nine babies of spit up. Emotions neatly wrapped and hidden, I emerge.
8 year old boy, being ornery, rubbed the wart on his leg with his fingers and then rubbed his fingers on his 5 year old sister’s forehead. She gave him the satisfaction of screaming and squealing with dramatic flair. He enjoyed her terror. Scolded and corrected, life moved on, warts forgotten until one dreadful day, weeks later, a slight imperfection appeared on her baby skin forehead. Could it be? Unbelievable! Dead center, like a unicorn horn, a wart emerged and flourished. We could hide the one on his leg, but this! This was unhideable and screaming for attention. Three attempts at burning it…a little smaller, then growing again…his ugly wart now shared with her…for all the world to see…his disregard for her sweet innocence, his viral contagion spread without thought of consequence or care for damage done. I can’t hide the ugly. I can’t seem to destroy the ugly. With her hair fixed perfectly and her dress immaculate, the ugly is bigger than life. There is only so much a mother’s love can cover. The one and only Wart Remover that will restore sweet innocent baby skin drips crimson red.
Step aboard my boat Lord Jesus.
“As soon as He stepped aboard, the contrary wind ceased its blowing. They were greatly astonished.” Mark 6:51
With hurricanes on my mind (literal, figurative and dream-like) I read this morning about contrary winds. Hurricanes are contrary. He ceased the winds. The storms don’t phase Him. That’s my Jesus. He walks on water…in storms! No worries. Enjoy the ride for He can calm the storm whenever. I can trust Him.
You astonish me Jesus and I’m watching to be astonished again as I reach for the fringe of your robe (Mark 6:56)
World spinning, fear and disorder. Dream or reality? Real fear. Real pain. Real bad. The magnitude of Matthew whirling within. Time. Change. Grief. Unknowns. Unnerved. Unleashed. Undone. Spiraling out of control. Robbie behind bars. Bonnie buried. Old wounds tore open. New ones bleeding. Joy unspeakable, grief unweighable. India calling. Haiti crying. Holidays looming. Finances spiraling. Security crumbling. Knee swelling. Face smashing. Children leaving. Promises forgotten. Promises growing. Choices that wound. Death’s sting. Ouch. And again. Oh Lord, where is the relief? Where is the stable ground? Where is the fresh hope? Dreams of hurricanes reflect reality. I’m listening for your still small voice in the storm.
So refreshing, finally a fall weather kind of day to wash over the memory of scorched months, sweaty days. This change is so life giving, so welcome and enjoyed, given by the Change giver who orchestrates weather patterns and seasons. Other changes, resented, rejected, unstoppable and bringing pain and discomfort, washing over the joys with tears of sorrow. Are these changes also life giving, even if unwelcome and not enjoyable? Are they too given by the Change giver who orchestrates growth patterns and seasons of life? I am such a frail, untrusting receiver of gifts. I must put my focus on the Giver. Help my unbelief. Increase my faith. Grow it to the magnificent size of a childlike faith. Regardless of the appearance of the gift, I can rest assured because I know the Giver.
Careful following me, I don’t know where I am going. In fact, I am less sure than I have ever been. Besides, I am so private, I hide my journals from myself! When I do give into the urge to share myself, I am plagued with fears and regrets, so it’s easier, safer to stay locked inside of me. I do prefer writing to speaking, so much more control of what comes out, time to reword and rewrite, unlike my unedited words that escape from my tounge, unable to be deleted or rewritten. Reasons I write: 1. To process. So for myself. For my sanity. 2. To encourage. When I’m impressed that someone could be touched by words in the same way I am, then I am motivated to write. My dear friend thanks for the reminder that the present suffering is nothing compared to the coming glory that will be revealed to us. Mist in my eyes has clouded my other worldly focus and your windshield wiper words have cleared my vision a bit. It’s a wrap. The dog and the children are hovering. Must hide the journal.