Monthly Archives: June 2010

Perspective

Today is one where I have a laundry list of complaints and irritations about certain inconveniences life has thrown at me this past week.  I want to get specific. Even name names.  I want to detail every single factor that has significantly and negatively impacted another…and that somehow, after four days, it has seemed impossible for me to be anything but irritable, frustrated, even wounded.  I want to carve it somewhere so it’s permanent, or climb on a building with a megaphone.  However…

I’m not going to get specific.  Mostly because I would only embarrass myself with how minor my issues really are considering the scope of human pain that exists around me.  I would feel deceptively better if I wrote down the ‘who’s, ‘why’s, and ‘boo-hoo’s of this week, finding little bits of justice in sharing my experience. But I think I need to be quiet, refocus, and gain perspective.

Here’s why:

My sister and brother-in-law were visiting Holland this weekend, running errands while Josh and I were in St. Louis celebrating with my college roommate, Lisa, as she got married. (I might have to write another post titled: Lisa + Craig: How to Have the Most Beautiful and Romantic Wedding of All Time. Including pictures of a garden ceremony with lilies and long-stem candles).  Sara and Jesse were merely driving along when a man was thrown from a mo-ped on the street.  My sister, a nursing student, had to overcome her bewilderment in order to perform chest compressions for a long period of time.  The man, a dad of three, did not survive the accident.

I need to pray not only for their family, but for the trauma this caused my sister and brother-in-law.  This incident reminded me of another tragic and sudden loss of a friend (I blogged about this) and JP’s customer, Rick Postma. Rick was a single full-time dad of his two children and passed away after falling down the basement steps of his house.  Heart-wrenching.

It seems cliche to say “Life is Precious”, but the fact that the phrase has become stale is a tragedy itself.

I’m in an air-conditioned, loving home with my healthy family cozy in their beds.  My husband gives me the “thumbs up” when I tell him I’d rather be home with my son and make crafts instead of chasing my previous dreams of higher education. My healthy little boy knows his colors, most of his letters, and lights up when he sees me in his crib in the morning. My neighborhood is trustworthy.  My bills are paid.  All things considered, I should spend my energy being grateful, seeing the miracles in Jack’s new vocabulary, baseball swing, dance move, or painting.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it as many times as I need to hear it myself:

I. AM. BLESSED.

I. AM. GRATEFUL.

Please, Lord, help me not take my blessings forgranted. Help me to focus on others rather than my own problems.  Help me to look to the cross before I look at my own life. Forgive me for selfishly focusing on my own problems.  There is a bigger world for me to be a part of.

If you’re grateful for something you don’t usually take note of or you often overlook, I’d love to know what it is…

Coffee Cake Galore

I think I can say that I work harder than most people I know.  Ironically, the work I do is mostly unnecessary and untimely, so I don’t think this counts as boasting.  I have the amazing talent to keep myself wildly busy and yet feel as if I’ve accomplished absolutely nothing.  The large responsibilities in life somehow take the back-burner to things like cleaning the upper ledges of my house while standing on a chair.

I think this somehow correlates to the fact that I get surges of energy once Jackson is in bed. Am I the only mother that has this?  I’m tired all day because he wears me out, but once he drifts off to sleep, I feel freedom for the first time all day.  And instead of appreciating the delicacy of this freedom, I cram as many fluky tasks into a two to three hour time frame that I possibly can.

Case in point:

After taking a final exam for my graduate class followed by spending time with Josh’s extended family (I often get phone calls from Josh like this: ‘Hey! So-n-so’s in town from who-knows-where! We’re all hanging out so come meet us!’), then getting Jackson David in bed, I decide it’s time to pull out every single baking ingredient I have, peel steam and puree 2 whole butternut squashs, and make TWO entire coffee cakes along with a chocolate dip.  My irrational motivation is that my mom is coming tomorrow from Philadelphia so CERTAINLY I must have every task on my extended to-do lists checked off! I MUST make these coffee cakes tonight because I won’t be able to do it tomorrow and she’ll need food while I’m gone for the weekend! Ridiculous.

My impulsiveness is something I actually cherish because it creates adventure in my life and has introduced me to people I NEVER would otherwise have met. However, it needs limits.  I should have been reading a good book or playing the piano rather than raiding my kitchen at 11:30 p.m.  I did NOT need to make two entire coffee cakes just because my mom is coming.  Jack does NOT need the healthiness of the avocado in his system tomorrow.  A banana would have done just fine.

Why is it that our best qualities can also become our worst?  I’d love to hear the silly things you’re doing to stay busy.  And if you’re bored in the next week, come over for coffee cake. There’s plenty.

What church is supposed to be…

This is most likely a continuation of the last post on Engedi and there will probably be many more…

I can’t help but MARVEL at our experience at Engedi Church.  My Sundays are now the motivation for my week, the magnetic pull to get through the other days in order to arrive home.  Josh and I have only been attending the church for a number of months, and our roots are already so deep in our church family, it feels they have always been there.

We’re also at the point where we’re looking for Jesus uncompromisingly, inconveniently, loudly, boldy.  We’re looking to feel our chairs quiver beneath us as the sermon instructs and inspires us to GET OUT THERE, make the world not only better, but more holy.  We’re craving a filling of the Holy Spirit, a shower in the grace and wisdom that drenches us entirely.  We want direction, not only forward, but a full expansion of what God can do within us in every direction.  We want the awareness that Jesus died once on our behalf, and that remembrance should motivate EVERYTHING we do.

I can’t say we were looking for this before.  I have no desire to criticize or analyze what our past churches missed or what they could’ve been doing better (I’ll leave that to Josh).  They, too, are incredible places in the Kingdom.  But I can say that church as the Bible really intends it can be the most incredible blessing in life. Our calendars revolve…exuberantly…around our commitments to church.  The opportunity to spend time with some of the most fantastic people I’ve ever met is a pleasure.  Whether it’s shaking sincere and loving hands across the church aisle, having beers at New Holland with our newest elder, or spending a Saturday painting a fellow Engedian’s house…the activities of church life light me up and fuel me to pursue the rest of my life with passion, dignity, and a heart for the God who created it.

I’m so proud of the God we serve and the church, Engedi, he is using as an instrument.  It is an honor to be a part of it.

I can’t describe the spiritually cleanliness I’m experiencing, but here is an image of Engedi, an oasis in Isreal.  It’s no wonder I feel as alive as I do..

poetry

I was caught. Right when my professor asked me to respond, I looked up with one eye and kept my head low so as not to draw much attention to myself.  I felt like my students: back in high school, mind wandering, and embarrassed in front of peers.  In fact, as my professor had talked for twenty minutes (she tends to do that), I gave myself permission to resort back to doodling habits.  I started writing my name in three different handwritings. Then I wrote it in bubble letters. I wrote “Rebecca” five times total. (I like the “R”; that’s why I doodle my full name. The “R” can twirl much more than the “B”).  Then I began to write Jack’s name with an arrow as the top of his “J”.  Then I drew a tree, and wrote my favorite girl’s name, “Emma”, with the tree trunk as the backbone of the capital “E”.  Then, naturally, I began thinking about a baby, proceeding to draw a mother holding her baby, eyes closed, cradling it.  The drawing was simple, like those sculptures that are soft, round, and don’t even seem to have lines.  The mother’s eyes were two simple half-moons, no lashes.

It’s amazing to observe my own mind in the patters of boredom because it has been so very long since my mind was last bored.  Even when I WISH.HOPE.PRAY.BEG for something more to do, my mind never has the freedom to wander as effortlessly as my pen doodles.  I eventually added a small little boy’s head (with spikey hair) peering over the mother’s shoulder. I thought, if this were someday me with another infant, assuredly there would be a crazy small boy present.

The twenty lecturing minutes had been spent circling ideas about my life, trying to draw minute conclusions about the future and my tiny place in it.  When I was asked to read the poem I had written after Emily Dickinson’s poem “Hope”, I struggled to return to the world of stanzas and line breaks, of desks and bright lights.  But I did read the poem. And as I did, I was surprised at how deeply accurate it portrayed my feelings:

Fear

Fear is that thing with claws

that opens old wounds

and growls the same old words, the words of doubt. It paws

at tomorrow, tells it to shudder.

It busts through my door,

throws me down,

carves a question mark on my head

with its meaty hand. And turns around.

Fear is a bestial thing

with dust circling under its leathery steps.

But all it takes is for me to say:

“No thank you. I’m at rest.”

For the sake of the poetic art form, I will spare you an analysis and let you find your own interpretation (and I’m desperate to make the point that his poem is undrafted, just to my writer-friends, anyway).  But I will add that I’m grateful for the chance to doodle again, for the surprisingly positive mom-writer who sits next to me, for the lectures I tune in and out of, for the questions I have about my life right now, for the answers I know will come when they are supposed to. And most of all, I’m thankful for the crazy small boy I have that makes all of the questions worth asking and all of the poems worth writing.

I can’t wait to write more…