Monday, November 16, 2015

A Square Foot of Thoughts

I saw my life in a small pile on the kitchen counter the other day- all within a square foot or so.  Well, not really but notable chunks of life and thoughts these days.  In the kitchen {a detail not to be lost on a keen observer}, there sat my Bible, a red pen, reading glasses and my keys.  Scooping up my things gave me pause and here’s where my thoughts landed.

So who would say some of your most significant conversations happen in the kitchen?  {Hand up, darting repeatedly upward and leaning out of my desk}  Yes! I would!  Just last night, Julia positioned herself right over the dishwasher and there, with me cutting up fruit, gave me a glimpse into 8th grade drama and into her heart.  Not wanting to sound too dramatic myself, but I think the kitchen is just a safe, comfy space.  There’s almost always activity— something to do, something to put your hands to if need be.  Mindlessly popping grapes— or Fritos— into your mouth, putting away dishes, or wiping the counters just keeps the conversation at an easy level for some of us. Someone isn’t boring a hole into your soul with their eyes.  It’s just comfortable—not the pillows and blankets kind of comfort— but less intense.  Less threatening.  She knew I was listening but she also knew it wouldn’t get too serious right there.  And if it did, she could hop off the counter, get completely sidetracked by eating something and meander away.  Good stuff happens in the kitchen without it even being planned.  Agree?

The red pen?  When the kids are home doing school, I have to have one nearby for grading- or for initialing.  It seems they all wind up in the kitchen because that’s where I usually am.  Cute and cheery “Excellent Work” stickers would be more fun to decorate their papers because that red pen is daunting.  It was for me when I was in school.  You remember the paper that had so much red on it that the kid six seats behind you could clearly see you either didn’t comprehend the information covered in class or you didn’t study the night before. The red pen is a constant companion on these school days at home— and so many days I look around when it’s actually quiet- B in the window seat devouring the chapters in his book for English {Who am I kidding?  “trudging through the chapters”} and Julia working hard in the dining room, lights off, using only the light from the window- and think, this is FLYING by.  We’ve got to enjoy this more.  I need to make this more fun.  Bust out the cookies and milk and let’s do this.  I need to be lighter— not just with my red pen but with my words and my tone and my spirit. Maybe I should put some snazzy stickers in my back pocket?  And bake some cookies? Yes.

Oh. My.  I have reading glasses. {But mine are cute, right?  And, mark my words.  I will NEVER have a chain. Sorry to my chain adorning friends...I won’t.}  I made it a few years after 40 but now there is just no denying it.  I can’t see like a normal person anymore.  The directions on the back of the pasta box just don’t look like they used to— neither do dinner menus, phone screens, book print, brochures, answer keys- or this computer screen for that matter!  {And in case you're worried, Walgreens has a large lighted magnifying glass on a flexible arm for those of us who are ocular challenged.}  I have a contact — for my non dominant eye— and that works pretty well if I remember I have one and actually put it in.  I could probably go a little long here too because these sorts of things throw me for a bigger loop than I had anticipated.  I like things to work whether that’s my eye, my shoulder or my coffee frother.  If something is broken or not functioning as it was intended, well, that bugs me.  I think I am figuring out if I don’t change my perspective regarding that philosophy with my body, I’m going to be perpetually “bugged”.  I met a former model the other night at a fund raiser— older than me and beautiful— however, not gracing magazine covers anymore.  I knew she was a strong believer so I just skipped the chit chat and asked her how her heart was on all of that - aging- since her lovely young face had transformed into a lovely older face.  Her answer was simple.  “It’s just part of our walk with God.”  So simple but she’s SO right.  We are young and we are old in this sanctification process but His ways don’t change, His standards don’t change— He is still more concerned about my heart more than anything else and so should I be.  I think maturity UNKNOWN could come to me if I viewed my aging as part of His process to grow me up to be more like Him. How I respond to my body changing and failing as I continue to walk with God will reveal much about who I believe God to be and who He has made me to be.  No, it doesn’t sound fun but I know it could be the most freeing and fulfilling thing I’ve ever given myself to.  Only by His grace will this turn out well.

And the keys….. I drive.  Mostly with kids in the car taking them to one thing or another.  Ballet, the sport in season, piano, church small groups, friends’ houses, to buy jeans, basketball or pointe shoes, to buy a friend a birthday present etc.  That’s living life and I am not complaining-at all.  Walking is the alternative.  I’ll take my keys.  However, the car is similar to the kitchen in that it’s good for talking.  It CAN be relaxed and fluid but then it can be planned and targeted.  At the age my kids are now, sometimes I find the car is the best time I might have alone with a child that day.  Other days, the car can be a great space to announce some information, to pray, to ask hard questions when they can’t slip away — and keeping it honest, to give them a piece of my mind.  But I never do that.  I just could if I ever wanted to.

My Bible— with this one, I get all twisted inside—  my heart clenches and my throat gets a little tight—  when I try to think of what to say about my Bible.  I’ve had this one since I was around 14. My parents gave it to me for Christmas. By the grace of God, I was taught to read it and to pray that I would love it.  And that I do.  I could go for days right here but I’ll just say a few things.  NOTHING snaps me out of my own ridiculous selfishness like taking to heart what’s on these pages.  Just a few minutes is all it takes— just to open it and hear the pages rustling and be reminded of the countless times He has met me as I’ve heard that familiar sound— begins to soften my heart.  His Word  has just grown in value during my life and especially now as I parent.  I am completely out of control of my kids’ hearts and choices so I’ve never been quite as dependent on Him as I have before— because before I had delusions of being in control.  What a joke, right?  But oh, how patient He is.  He’s faithful to teach me when I least expect it and where I least expect Him.  He is faithful.  He is the Word.  It’s flawless and life giving.  I love Him. I love the Word.

November 2015- that’s what’s filling my hands, my heart, my thoughts—  or a square foot on my kitchen counter.

Not sure where my coffee cup was…..


Sarah said...

Love all of this... definitely missing the coffee. I'm going to be right behind you on the reading glasses. And you are pronouncing Fritos, FREE-TOES, correct? :)

Emily said...

Thank you for sharing these thoughts. I always love to read and know your thoughts, however many square feet I can get!