It is evening and we’ve had an argument…I have been crying on his chest…showing the weakness that I hate to show, but it is the weakness that, in spite of me, softens him. I am weary from life, and all that seeks to destroy me, wear me down, and take me under. We are moving around, speaking to one another, trudging forward through the thick mud around our feet, desperately needing a change, but knowing that this is what change feels like–it is the uncomfortableness of moving forward when it is really hard. Then he comes and tells me while I’m in the shower, that my eldest daughter has asked that I wear my black special occasion dress, and that she is preparing something for us. I ask, “Why?” He says, “I’m not sure what is going on, but she says she is doing something for us, and she wants us to get dressed.”
This takes me out of my comfort zone–I don’t feel like getting dressed up in my fancy black dress–I feel like resting–it’s been a rough day. I want to hide, because it is hard to feel that I belong. But I summon the courage to get dressed up and go to the dining room.
She tells her Daddy, “Don’t forget what you are supposed to do, Daddy.” He pulls out the chair for me, and I sit down. I feel like I am in an alternate universe, not really sure what is happening.
I hear Nora Jones’ soft, bluesy voice wafting in from the kitchen. I smile, knowing what she is up to, but there is no way that I could be prepared for what is to come.
They come in, bringing our dinner plates, and serving us–she has even dressed her sisters up for the occasion. I am in awe. And when she sets down the very humble little meal she has prepared in front of me, I do my best to let her see that I appreciate it. My children are daily teaching me lessons that no sermon could ever teach.
And then the dessert–such a wild, imaginative thing that only a child could dream up. I know that she has been watching some cooking shows, and trying her hand with creativity, and I am amazed that she soaks everthing around her up like a sponge. Noone has told her yet that she “can’t”. As she sets the plate in front of me, I know that it is just the plastic plate belonging to her little sister–not normally a plate fit for a dining table, but it doesn’t matter. I try to stay in the moment and feel this queenliness that she wants to make me feel.
But I am so humbled, and it is though at the moment my paradigm is shifting, and everything seems to be sliding. And I know that I am having to try too hard…what a wretch I am, that I can’t feel the happiness in this moment. And then she says, “Okay, are you finished with your plates?” and clears them away. “Now”, she says, “it is time for the dance”, eyeing her Father. So he takes my hand and leads me to the kitchen.
My head is spinning–I am not sure what to think. It has been years since this…dancing, closeness, this intimacy, and it is hard…I feel the air closing in around me. I feel the bittersweetness and insecurity of a new pattern that is not normal to our relationship. And I know he feels it too. I hear him say, “Been a long time since we’ve done this, huh? I can hardly find my voice, but when I do, I think I sound like a croaky, silly adolescent, unsure of myself and not wanting to let myself fully into the desire of the thing. I answer and stumble around, “Yes, it’s been..um..10 years.” I think about Lorna, and why she is doing this for us. Does she feel the tension, the stress?
As he holds me close, I begin to melt and everything all wound up tight begins to unravel, in a very, very good way–the way that only he can make things unravel for me. This is where my peace is–I have had to be away from him before, and I know that there is no peace in that. This is where I belong. And should I apologize for saying this and not giving God credit for my peace? I don’t think so–I believe that He ordained that I would feel only truly whole when I give myself over to another–completely giving and allowing myself to be vulnerable enough to feel complete in another’s arms. Here is where and how I come to God.
The more we dance, the looser and freer we are. The more free we are, the more the joy deep inside wells up. I stop worrying about Lorna. One day she will have to know about the stresses and arguments, down days and sadness of life. All I can do, being human, is to show her how to deal with those things when they come. Maybe if I’m looking at Him, whom i belong to, while she is looking at me, then everything will be alright.
And then my little girl takes me back twenty-something years ago to when I was a little girl, dancing on Daddy’s feet. And it makes me smile pure joy.
#157 a day of swimming 1/2 mile in the lake–getting stronger
#158 fighting fears
#159 girls swinging on ropes–advice from a friend to let go more often
#160 my three littlest girls learning to swim
#161 Bella, apprehensive to get in the water, jumping in and swimming like a fish after a few minutes
#162 Bella’s 4th birthday party–while feeling the sadness of her daddy being at work, knowing that he and I are united for our daughter’s day
#163 This hardship has taught us to be a team–and the satisfaction of seeing the fruits of the labor of all of these years
#164 another woman’s wisdom and encouragement and I can listen because I know she has walked this road too
#165 friends that keep calling and writing
#166 that only my husband can love me the way he does
#167 a movie with just me and my girls, some popcorn and coke, and a screen bigger than life
#168 Bella, as I was trying to leave her with her Granny, when asked if she was sure she could stay awake for the entire movie, replying (with her cute lisp and nodding enthusiastically) “yesth.”
#169 Lilly running unsteadily and determinedly up to her sisters, grabbing them, folding into them in a hug
#170 eldest daughter, growing up so fast, so aware of the way things are in the world, creating a romantic moment for her stressed, burned out parents
#171 the grace to accept in humility this moment that my daughter gives, even though I feel undeserving, and what I really want to do is hide
#172 that God’s love brings me out into the open–all of my fears, failures, and insecurities want to retreat into isolation and darkness, but His love brings all things into the light and He refines me with fire.
#173 He uses my children to teach me
#174 because of this, I see a path by which i can learn to truly love, cherish, and respect them for the individuals they are
#175 husband’s texts and messages–checking on me, his love always there to catch me on a bad day
#176 having an upset stomach after an argument and a night stayed away from home and husband because it was too late to drive, and then the feeling of urgency to get home to his arms
#177 knowing that this is where i belong
#178 when i don’t understand the body of Christ, when my perspective is jaded, when people hurt and disappoint me, my husband that God gave to me is always there as the head, receiving direct shepharding for me from the Shephard and i can’t stray too far away from truth–and this truth amazes me.