Thursday, July 31, 2014

This I Know...Summer 2014

Thanks to Emily Freeman for inviting us to share what we learned this summer at Chatting at the Sky.  Emily is one of the most gentle souls I know, and as I dive back into my backyard travels after a summer off, I am glad to be jumping safely into that sweet space.

This summer has taught me some lessons and true to form, I had to learn them the hard way, with deep growing pains and much prayer.  There are more things I don't know but this I do...

This I know...home should be a safe place.

Me and my circus, we have begun putting down roots in this town, new to them, familar to me.  We are happy to take our time and look for our "long-time" house.  I don't know what it looks like or where it is but this I know...

I know our 'long-time' house will be a safe place.  It will be a place of acceptance and grace.  I love these words from Gary Morland in his post, The Safest Place on Earth:

"Your family is designed to be a place of honest vulnerability without rejection.  Disagreements without anger.  Foolish mistakes without embarrassment.  Failure without shame."

Our "long-time" house will be a place where you can take your drink into the living room and three kids who have moved way more than I meant for them to move can choose whatever color they want to paint their rooms.  (Yes, Nora, even macaw green.)  We already act and sound like a circus, why shouldn't the colors of our home match the way we live?

Our "long-time" house will be a place where it is "all about the heart."  As we make mistakes and fall from the trapeze, we will catch each other.  We will practice life together so that we are ready with our best efforts.  We will applaud each other when the lions and tigers are tamed.  We will live our real lives whether it is showtime or not.

This I know...what I do is not who I am.

People move, jobs change.  In spite of my threats, kids grow up.  My role in this circus is changing.  I have been the planner and orchestrator of all things at home for almost 11 years.  I was mother, teacher, helper, cook and maker of all trivial decisions regarding people shorter than me.  Until this summer.  I have come to the realization that it is time for me to move out of the director's role and into the role of trainer or coach.

Perhaps I yell up to the kid flying on the trapeze, "A little to the left, reach farther, hold tight.  Let go!"

Can I be honest?  This change?  It came much too fast.  I feel grief sometimes, but it is grief for the role I used to have, not the person that I was.  I don't die just because there is a change in what I do.

I need to stop parenting "little" kids who need to be constantly directed and I need to start parenting "big" kids who are ready to begin making their own way.  I need to be the mom who lets those kids fly through the air while falls are still about report cards, fights with friends, stealing pencils and forgetting to brush their teeth.  Let them learn how to fly before falls are about lost jobs, bad relationships, or jail.

I am still the same "who" whether my kids wear diapers or baseball pants.  I am still the same "who" whether I cook their lunch or the buy it at the cafeteria.  I am still the same "who" whether I spend my days at an office or picking up laundry.  The circus may move from town to town, but it still has the same clowns, elephants, and acrobats.

What I do is not who I am.  I am still here.

This I know...people are often most beautiful when they are their most ordinary.

Earlier this summer, I had a bad day.  I trudged along under a cloud, my thoughts going around and around like the strange animals on the carousel, circling incessantly and achieving nothing.  Only not fun.

At the dry cleaners, the same woman works there all the time.  She always says something nice.  Her voice betrays a little age.  We share the same hair color, Preference 9NB.  The fog followed me into the dry cleaners.  We speak, I pickup a tie.  I pay and move toward the door.  The cloud follows over my head.  We are finished with our transaction.

She speaks ordinary words that I don't even remember.  Her words are kind, nice, and spoken for no reason at all except she is nice and we are both people here on this earth at the same time.

This small moment is a gift that reminds me that people are good.  People are better than I think.  Sure, people are sometimes worse than you think but they are also better.  It's all mixed up and beautiful and I can't explain one bit of it because I am not God.

If that woman at the cleaners had stood on a stage wearing a gold suit and making $1,000 and hour to tell me how to be happy, her words would have been worthless that day.  There she was, in her chambray shirt and black leggings, Preference 9NB hair and smiling face saying nice things to every customer, even me, myself and Eeyore, and she spoke a gift of good.


I kept feeling like I needed to tell the woman at the cleaners about that bad day.  I thought she should know that her kindness matters sometimes.  So yesterday I let my crazy show.  I paid for two pair of suit pants and headed toward the door.  I stopped and told her about the bad day and how she said nice things and how I walked out thinking that people really were nice.

She told me that she was real glad to know.  She said that she had her own bad time happenin' and that it was so hard she just had to give it to the Lord.  I told her she mattered.  We both tried to pretend that our eyes weren't misty.

True to form, as my hand hit the door to the sunshine, she offered another parting shot of courage, "Finish well, sister, finish well."

Yes ma'am, it is my intention to do just that, one ordinary day at a time.