Friday, September 25, 2015

a gospel for friday: the gift of one less worry in the bunch

I, myself, am very slow to learn some lessons.

The most recent example of being liberated from my own dullness is this: my daughter has strep throat this week, and when I picked up her medicine, I brilliantly asked the pharmacist for an extra measuring syringe. It has taken me eleven years of caring for sick children and dozens of trips to the pharmacy to land on this genius request.

How many times have I scrounged the inside of the dishwasher for one of those little plastic parts, only to realize I left it upstairs, by the bed? Then I have to go get it, find it under the bed, clean the sticky residue off the carpet fibers, and wash the syringe before I can give the kid the nasty pink stuff she doesn't want to take anyways.

But two syringes means one is dirty and one is clean and I never have to worry about anything except how to bribe her into taking the rotten tasting medicine. Suddenly, I am Spartacus.

One less worry in the bunch is a gift. One good deed brightens the darkness. One spark of faith lights a million more.

And, man, do there seem to be a big bunch of worries in the darkness of the world these days, or what?

Yesterday, my son and I had a good, long, epic argument about a school assignment. As his mom, I thought he should be let off the hook: he's just a kid, after all. As his teacher, I knew better: he is capable of so much, and settling for so little. (Ah, the beautiful world of homeschooling.) I wanted to pull my hair out and stuff it in his empty excuses about the impossibility of writing a final draft, so I could make cozy pillows for this impromptu pity party of ours.

Then he suddenly broke open a little and unloaded the weight of his soul. I looked at his eyes, so full of earnest questions, and I remembered what I knew when I was young: It's just so hard to grow up. He's figuring out who he is, who God is, and how to make sense of the gnawing feeling that he doesn't quite know enough about anything. 

Along with these cosmic questions about life and eternal purpose, he carries a hatred for writing final drafts. Each heart knows its own bitterness, the proverb says, and no one can share in its joy.

We travel alone in many ways. And yet, God is right here with us, in us, among us, leading us, bringing up the end of the line, and guarding us on every side. Soul lessons like these take time and courage that my son will have to find inside himself, in his own faith, and in God's mysterious and wide love for him alone. 

But I gave him what I could: love, wisdom, and empathy. Mostly, I just sat next to him and listened.

It is a marvelous thing, to be trusted by a person to just listen. Over the years, I have stood here, struggling to hold onto my own clunky baggage, listening to friends, family, church members, beloved fellow mamas, and even the occasional stranger in line at the grocery store, as they have told their tales.

We all want so badly to grow up and find our way home.

We celebrate little, simple victories along the way, like asking for two syringes and a boy who can talk to his mama about real things. But mostly, we march on.

Today, it is a privilege of endless joy to walk alongside my children, my husband, my friends, my church, and so many wonderful people I have never even met in person. We walk alone, but we walk together. We pick our way through our insecurities by loving each other the way God has asked us to love each other: with brilliant mercy and grace. We are pulling out our hair in prayers for refugees, babies dying, mamas starving, daddies who keep daring to be great even if they're afraid, inmates in shackles, perfectly free people enslaving themselves with sin, and every kind of darkness in the world. 

Our prayers lay scattered along the path, and they make a road others can follow. Our good deeds fill the atmosphere with light. Our legacy is God's love, and behind us rises a generation we will never know, but who will know God in ways we can't fathom today, simply because we have followed the way of Jesus.

God is on the move, and those who follow the light of His love will not be left behind.

Thanks for walking with me, you guys. Thank you for being my friends, for loving God best of all with me, and for being heroes to the world around you.

I hope your day is full of at least one less worry in the bunch. And I hope you have an extra medicine syringe if you need it.

Cheers to the weekend. 

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