Saturday, April 26, 2014
It hit me at the strangest moment. As I my hands were submerged in soapy dishwater and dinner over-cooked on the stove, I watched him sweep the walkway in our front yard. I turned to look out over crumb and clutter-covered kitchen counters and a dining room table with dried-on spaghetti sauce and the pink paint that remained after the Valentine's crafting months ago, into a messy sunroom where pillows were tossed haphazardly onto the floor amongst books and blocks and my two fair-haired babies watched a television show that certainly exceeded the recommended daily limit.
And somehow, I saw beauty. And I thought of how this was never the life I wanted for myself yet how blessed my life has become.
This life that is daily filled with tantrums thrown and meals refused and counters wiped and re-wiped and dogs shooed and laundry folded and refolded after the babies tossed it onto the floor.
Where windows are smudged and dishes are dirty and the sink smells and the shoes never make it to the basket.
Where the carpet is beyond salvage and the furniture is second-hand and the light bulb in the fridge has been burned out for a week and the bananas always brown before you can eat them.
Where time and patience and naps are often in short supply.
Where the back yard needs mowing and the toys litter the floor of my shower even though the children have their own bathroom and mending piles up in my closet.
Where everything needs painting and updating and plans are big but the time and budget is small.
Where my bed only stays made for about five seconds before that darling little blue-eyed creature crawls into it and begs, "Momma, snuggle!"
Where in the dark of the wee hours of the morning, I stare into the bright lights of that damned and blessed baby monitor checking and re-checking that those babies are still fast asleep, covered up, and peacefully dreaming of the adventures that were had.
Where a little boy plops himself into my lap and insists that I read book after book yanked from the shelf, and then discarded in the middle of the floor.
Where night after night, he lays his tired bones next to mine and grasps my hand as sleep comes fast and heavy, and then kisses my cheek when the morning comes too soon.
Where tears are numerous, and dedicated to moments of extremes- anger, hurt, fear, frustration, yet still and often, joy.
And all this... mess of a life- the marriage, the children, the house, the mortgage, the two cars, the dog... it was never what I wanted. It was the makings of a dull and repetitious and empty life for which I refused to settle. Because when my body was younger and my mind was more naïve and my eyes were too wide and wild, I was sure that all I ever wanted was a life lived fast and free...
And God found me and rescued me from my own selfish destruction and placed in my path those amazing blessings that I never asked for and I certainly didn't earn. And even then, when days were long and hard and the babies refused to sleep and I- short-sighted and merely mortal- began to mourn the loss of my freedom and my body and my time and my rest and my youth, He continued to bless me. To give me more than I thought I could handle, and more than I deserved.
How great is His love for me. How many are His blessings. How vast His faith in me... that He would entrust such a rich life to one that did not at first appreciate the utter and absolute wonder of the simplicity set before her. I am forever grateful that my God is greater than my self, and that His plans for me are far bigger and more exquisite than my inferior, inglorious dreams.
I haven't the holiness to see what He sees all the time. I haven't the strength to bear it in my withering mortal soul. So I just continue to trust that dirty dishes and mismatched socks and messy hair and piles of mail are all signs of a life lived fully and humbly and simply. I take my cues from small cherub faces, flush with laughter and arms held around my waist and words whispered quietly in the dark. I remind myself that this is holy work, and this life that I never wanted, is the life I could never ever replace or trade for all the world...