Full of Thanks.
Maybe I’m the only one who does this, (yeah right!) but I often play scenarios in my mind as I’m getting ready for the day. “If this happens, I could say this … or this … and they might reply this way … or … ” and on and on it goes and I
prepare amuse myself with any possible reactions, concerns, or otherwise potentially death embarrassing moments.
This morning was no different so as I was getting ready in the mirror I was thinking, what if someone asked me today, what i am thankful for? Hmmm. This year it seems a little hard to verbalize (good thing no one asked). Because really, this year, I am most thankful for a fresh perspective.
I have been an outsider looking in at a large family, and sat face to face with a mother and rather than make small talk, I took a risk (for me) and asked her, a near stranger until 20 minutes before, to tell me about her family and what it was like growing up. She answered so thoughtfully, her reply full of joy and appreciation for her family. I then stood in a room with all of them, some 60 or more family members and knew that although I could never have that in my present day, I could in fact have it in my future, if I chose to do so and it was in God’s will for me. And my perspective of large families was altered. And my heart has never wanted it more.
And then I look at my daughter Taylor. A year ago, we were hanging out at home in our pajamas all day, drinking hot chocolate, praying for snow and still attempting to maintain her ever-fading naptime schedule.
I now drop her off – curbside, mind you – at school every morning. And she runs down the sidewalk to her class and doesn’t look back at me. She looks ahead. And somehow I find myself fighting the urge to desperately look back. Back at her empty carseat. Back at her baby pictures. And back at the times I can never repeat. And this is what I painfully see: a mother always looking forward. “I can’t wait until you can talk to me”, “I can’t wait until you can walk so I can carry more of this other stuff in my arms”, and although never said aloud, “I can’t wait until you’re in school. It will be so much easier to get things done around here.”
And here I sit missing her, tears streaming off my chin and soaking my shirt as I type this, because when she comes home from school, she still likes to crawl up in my lap and read to me, or be read to, or just cuddle. And all I want to do is breathe her in and hold that moment because I know that I can never stop time, although it would be for me a mighty gift to have.
And so my perspective shift was jarring and heartbreaking but also a gift in and of itself. Although I do anticipate great things in the future, I must live in the day, and at times, in the very moment I stand in, because the moments are fleeting. Painfully so. But the blessing is that I now see how easily wishing the time away comes. Fortunately I can stop, take a deep breath, and enjoy the moment … the season, however long or sleepless or busy or difficult … and live in it richly, so as not to take for granted what the whole experience has to offer.
Lastly, I’ve come to recognize brokenness. Although it is sometimes impossible to even utter the words to ask Him for it, I find that God hears me in my silence and meets me in the midst of it because He gets it. He gets me. Sometimes, my own brokenness and mess is the only quiet place where I listen and be still and give my full surrendered attention.
So it’s Thanksgiving and I’m giving thanks for experiencing grace – from my child who is still grasping the concept of time and from my Father, who is not constrained by time and never will be.