Saturday, March 2, 2013

New Ordinary

I've been caught all week between feeling cooped up and feeling like a homebody. I want out. I want in. It must be March.

There have been sick little kids and heart-sick big kids and wild kids and naughty kids and silly kids and stinking cute kids. So many kids.

My life - or what I used to think of as "my life" feels more and more irrelevant to the one I'm really meant to live. On a bad day I think it's wearing me down, but on a good one, I'm thankful to the rafters that I'm trusted to do this big, meaningful work.

And by "big", I mean really quite small. I mean taking phone calls when part of me thinks I deserve a chance to catch up on Nashville episodes.

I officially dub this past week The Week of the Phone. And if you know me at all, you know how this might pain me. You know how many times I wanted to hit Ignore and keep on trucking.

But I've been entrusted with these calls, entrusted with the callers. I've been summoned to the edge of my bravery, where on my own I'm inclined to believe the worst. I've been nudged past the idea that I can opt out of a neighbor's knock at my door. I swear I can feel Jesus smoothing down my hair as He promises me that I can parent with grace.

Conventional wisdom says we can't help anyone unless we take care of ourselves first. It's nice in theory. But the truth is, we were called to the very opposite. So I'm trying to learn to swing wide in the direction of anyone but me. I'm failing and flailing. I'm scanning the tree-line for a little absolution. I'd love to pluck some vindication from a low-hanging limb.

All the while, I see these faces. I see the gift that they are. I see the way they start to scour my crud away so that I can begin to see the truth about things. I see that it doesn't matter who we lost to find them - they are home to us now.

God comes through and He ladles out grace, fills our bowls way up. The windows are slim but they sure bring the light so we tilt our faces to the sun and we linger while it lasts. We snatch up friends who care about loving us more than they care about understanding us. We steal away catnaps, packages in the mail, late night reality tv, pop up pancakes, dimpled baby hands.

We make art for art's sake and because it stills the thrum.

Then when she rides up on her bike just as we're unloading cranky kids, a hungry baby girl, and a bucket of chicken, we ask her to come inside. It is not my first instinct but thank God, I've learned not to trust all of those.

She takes the leg at first but eventually, the biggest, juiciest piece in the box. She's much too loveable to feel like anything other than straight-up luck, but we go ahead and take that, too - the gift of her and all her chipped-tooth beauty, sitting slick-fingered at our table at the end of a very long week.