Riding along in our old van, the wonderful clunker that gets us from point A to point B, and we are a family desperately needing to make this day, this outing a peaceful, joyful, grace-counting time…this time, this time it will be different.
This is what goes on in my head. So we listen to music, speak in loving tones, and I don’t want to admit it, but in the back of my mind there is nagging wonder of how far my loving tones will carry me this time.
We enjoy our time together, and snapping pictures, we happily gaze at gigantic, bumpy-backed toads that seem dead they are so still and dormant. We are amazed at the enormous dinosaur bones. We wander and linger long and I read to them about God’s creation. “Look at that electric blue and neon yellow on this little fish”, I say. “How can anyone say there isn’t a creator? Some intelligent designer that thought of this?” And we marvel.
We barely make it out of the gate by closing time, and little ones have to go to the restroom and we must all make the journey to load up without rolling over someone’s foot with the stroller, a possible meltdown, and losing our positive, loving mood.
The kids say they want to go have ice cream, so Husband swings by and I can feel he is anxious to get home and it begins a low, slow stirring in me. So I hand them ’round, tall white curled swirls of cold, creamy sweetness.
The first creamy swirl-top falls over into a little one’s lap, as more cones are being passed from the window and Husband’s hand, and they are coming faster than I can keep up with. Little one wants help with her fallen ice cream top. Then as our old van lurches forward, another crown of sweetness falls, and another, and my eldest girl’s brave face crumbles as her sweet, creamy crown falls into her lap while trying to help and serve her sisters. She breaks and cries…it is too much for her…and that is all too much for me…
I snap and I yell and I say so many words to my dear husband. And then, as realization of my behavior sets in, shame sets in. I know that nagging in the back of my mind was right–underneath all of my loving tones and hard efforts lies a tense cloud of frustration and anger. This is hard for me to admit. But I apologize. The words come out slow and hard like a child that doesn’t want to share, wants to keep it all to herself.
I realize then, that the Holy Spirit is telling me to humble myself, and be patient, to not practice loving tones for me, so that things are peaceful for my benefit, but to give patience and sacrifice my own feelings and desires because this is true love, real love. To give my time and energy toward their enjoyment.
And if they wear me all out ’til the edges are all frayed and I have given all, is that really so bad? Isn’t that what I’m afraid of when I’m impatient, when I’m selfish? Aren’t I afraid of someone hurting me, that something will happen to me? Aren’t I trying to make sure I keep myself intact? Aren’t I, then, about me? Are these fears unrealisitic? Yes, according to the truth of the gospel. Is anything bad going to really happen to me? No.
“That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” II Corinthians 12:10
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” I Corinthians 13:4-7
So, then, love is not about me. It is not selfish–not about self. It does not seek self or self’s intactness, self’s happiness, or self’s peace. But it seeks the happiness and benefit and wholeness of others. Even if I’m all worn out, mistreated, and frayed around the edges, this is what love feels like…and for this i rely on grace, always the grace of God, and with that comes joy and thankfulness.
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” John 15:9-11
This week I’m linking up with Ann Voskamp’s site and also re-vamping my blog. I am letting you in on the decision-making. Since it isn’t only the content of a blog, but also the look and feel (is it a comfortable place, or an annoying place to look and spend time at), I want to hear your opinion, whether you have been reading for awhile, or today is your first time! For those of you who know me well, I am artistic and I want my page to be artfully tasteful, but also want it to reflect me and be a restful place for readers. A tall order, you say? Each week I may change it up a bit until I find what I like. So if you find the spot to vote in the sidebar? Thanks for your input.