Thursday, November 10, 2016

Cheers, It's That Time Of Year


As I sit to type this, it's Sunday, and not just any Sunday, it's time change Sunday.

This is that dreaded time of year that mothers everywhere raise their ten daily cups of coffee to call cheers to one another in the shared solidarity of 4am mornings. Dear Father Time decided to take an extra hour's snooze, did he? Well the children saw no reason to do the same, I assure you. Already, we've already read several books, played a rousing game of tennis, rambled around the neighborhood, pulled out the arts and crafts box, and eaten our way through a batch of salt crusted chocolate chip cookies, and what time is it? . . . 10am? Ah, yes, well, I think I need another cup of coffee. Cheers.

In truth, it's not as bad as all that. This year, Lanna's been offering a helping hand with this and that, and her wit shines vividly in the moments I need to gather myself. Out will come a stack of scratch paper, and as she hands 'round crayons and pencils she'll exhort the two little ones: "now don't go using these on the wall or furniture or YOU KNOW WHAT." Here, the little girls will look on with rounded eyes and crayons hanging from their anxiously puckered mouths as she ominously rattles a pen or two in the metal tin they're kept in. The little ones have absolutely no idea what the "what" is, and, frankly, I don't think Lanna does either, but it seems to work pretty well for her. I really admire her tactful dramatic flair there.

Speaking of pens, Wren just peered around the corner with one dangling from her mouth. She learned just last night that these magical tools her sisters always seem to have in hand actually make marks on things if you apply them just so. Glory! I wish you could have seen the way her face lit up when she realized the clever thing she was doing; it looked something like when someone yanks the chain of a lamp in a dark room and it's instantly transformed with a pleasantly warm glow A special moment, however ominous for me.

This may be a touch off topic, but it still catches me off guard how much of life is bulked into these small moments. There'll be a bedtime story here and a stack of dirty dishes there; teaching small fingers to tie a bow today, passing another hot cup of coffee into large fingers tomorrow; stirring oatmeal one moment and tackling the building of a block castle the next. In exchanging pleasantries and all that with an old friend the other evening, I summarized things here at home as being in "a season of consistency." She responded with a sort of chuckle and admitted that consistency is something she's not great at. Her honesty made me smile because I don't think there are many who could say otherwise, but it suddenly struck me how much of that stiff unfamiliarity it still holds for myself. It's shameful to own up to this, but this season of consistency has shown me just how small my faith is.

Living on the brink of barely-making-it for so long got me used to that warmth that came with active faith. Or, maybe not "warmth" as much as familiarity. When you don't have enough in the bank for food or the next semester's tuition, faith looks like praying and trusting and waiting. When you're faced with a two way street of decisions and aren't sure of the right way, you pray and trust and wait again. Etc etc. But, what in the world does active faith look like while rocking screaming babies, sorting a mountain range of laundry, or singing the alphabet to splashing bathers? I know where your mind is wandering and no, I'm not saying my faith was built on the fluff of emotion. What I am saying is that every day laundry sorting, alphabet singing, baby rocking, budget setting, coffee grinding, time change adjusting faith is hard. Dare I say, harder than the other? I mean, if I can face an empty bank account with more courage than another night of lost sleep, what does that say about my faith?

Did I really just write that down?

The girls are all here now, piled in and around my lap, and I'm chugging yet another cup of coffee as I try to hear what they're all saying as they excitedly chatter over one another. What does the faith look like in this moment. Not glamorous, that's for sure. And as I mull it over for the five hundredth time today, I'm thinking that maybe it's just the sort of question I'm never supposed to stop asking, because the moment I do is the moment I'll idolize my efforts. Maybe it's one of those questions you simply answer with "don't grow weary in this; you'll reap a harvest in time if you don't give up."