I woke up and shuffled into the kitchen looking for my best friend, AKA my Keurig machine. Magic instant coffee is indisputably the best thing about this millennium so far.
On the way there I discovered a true tragedy. A giant pot of leftover, homemade spaghetti sauce from the night before was still sitting on the stove. Failure and waste waved its hand good morning at me. It felt a bit like mockery.
I dug around in the fridge for the creamer, incapable of processing any strategic thoughts because I was tired after a stormy night. Two children had cried out for comfort when the thunder boomed and woke them up. Now the dog was whining aggressively at my feet with a ball she wanted thrown.
In the living room a vintage typewriter loudly clacked away as one kid practiced spelling every word related to toilets he knew.
The children had turned on every light in the house and it was so bright I thought that maybe the Sun itself was inside our house. I seemed to be going slightly blind, actually.
Someone punched someone else for sitting in his "spot". The punched person did not turn the other cheek as Jesus taught, but sought out his own revenge. My dream of raising peacemakers is still in process. Everyone had 2,754 things to tell me, all of them spoke at the same time. I was making a Nutella sandwich for someone before I had the chance to make my own cup of coffee and learn to be human again. (Incidentally, I still can't believe someone has duped me into accepting chocolate spread on a piece of bread as a viable breakfast option.)
I have so many regrets right here in the kitchen alone. Mostly I regret that my magic coffee still hasn’t appeared in my hand.
Can a girl get a redo at 8am?
These are the kinds of days I want to run away and take an impromptu vacation. I would like for this dysfunctional escape to be considered charming in an eccentric sort of way by all my peers. Judge not, my people.
I could pack everyone in the car with a change of clothes in a backpack and head for Yellowstone, Canada, or Seattle. It’s on these days that I remember my kids have never seen the Grand Canyon, or Half Dome at Yosemite. They don't know the Pacific Ocean well enough. We could remedy all of that by leaving this place of great sorrow and hire a realtor to sell our home fully furnished while we are on an endless road trip.
It seems like my life would be easier in one small car, without electric bills to pay or wood floors to mop. Surely my kids would all be so sweet if we lived in a car. Right? Surely.
Okay, I know this is not true. It just feels true. When the pressure of my current circumstances crashes down on me, my first response is always a desire to change my circumstances. Forget about cultivating courage and discipline and longsuffering. Give me sweet relief!
It's hard to accept that God has led me here, to whiny dogs and bickering kids, to stormy skies and loud clacking typewriters, to a messy, beloved family and a church full of His glory. God's plans for us are always good, but they are not always easy. I live in this house where the leftovers get forgotten, but we are remembered forever by the Maker of all things. Life is a strange juxtaposition of brokenness and grace.
God’s goodness blossoms fullest when we exercise our willingness to trust and obey. Life makes so much more sense in the rear view mirror. I can see how the darkness that prowled after me some days taught me to love His invisible light. I can see how the wounds we suffered drew us closer to Him and to one another. And I can see that I rarely had a proper grasp on how His goodness was overtaking me despite my own efforts to change the path He chose for me.
The odds are pretty good that His goodness is in the all the mess around me right now, too. It's just hard to detect because of the emotional noise and ridiculously bright lights.
Truth be told, road trips with four kids and a dog are mostly awful. Eventually everyone bickers about the music choice, the snack distribution, or whether or not one particular person really and truly does “need” to stop and find a bathroom (again). Our backs get sore and our legs get cramped and we long for a place to sprawl out and live without someone’s elbow knocking against our ear.
I think eternity will feel like all the perks of a road trip rolled into one joyous life. We will all live a happy nomad life on heavenly shores after following Jesus through all the deserts and darkness. Until then, our happiness is bound up in our assurance that God is who He says He is and our ability to follow even when we'd rather run away.
Cheers to reality, friends. Here's to annoying lights and coffee that cools off too much while the kids argue about who should get the last of the Golden Grahams. We’re all right where we’re supposed to be, and God is in our midst.