Monday, January 25, 2016

God's Time

Butterfly Wonderland

This would be the species of cactus that attacked Calvin's hand

True confessions

Stacey and Casey's Visit
To everything there is a season. This is the season of bronchitis and sinus infection and tailbone pain. It's a season of overextension.

I'm getting back to the routine of accompanying. Just when you have about had it with getting up on Sunday mornings, the choir finishes the anthem and the whole church applauds. As you walk back to your pew, you see a father figure dabbing his eyes and you see Henry and his family in the third row and you think, my God, maybe, just maybe, it's all worth it. Maybe our contributions have an impact on actual real people. Maybe music is an actual gift that actually speaks to people's actual hearts.

The rest of my family played hooky from church Sunday morning. That turned out okay, because sometimes sitting in church by yourself, without looking for pens and tissues in your purse, and without listening to adolescent voices flutter between soprano, alto and tenor, you can actually experience a moment of worship.

Sometimes and more often than not, it's the children's message that hits home. Pastor Sarah is talking to the rug rats about her broken wrist watch. She's pulling out coloring sheets of clock faces. What would the face of Jesus's wrist watch look like? One coloring sheet has a giant heart in the place of the twelve numbers.

Maybe God's time is different than our time.

I grew up believing that our material possessions are all gifts from God and ultimately belong to God and that makes it easy or hypothetically easy to give back.

Maybe our time really only and truly belongs to God as well.

On the micro level, this means moment to moment our time is not our own to begin with. I'm not saying that I'm not going to work for more balance and set some limitations as we go here. . . but for this season, right here right now, with the present commitments, the question becomes--what should I do with God's time today.

It works on the macro level too. How else is the sharp knife of a short life even remotely palatable? Our Pastor Bolhman used to say after every infant baptism, "I give you back your child, for as long as God has loaned him to you." Ultimately we are all just on loan to each other.

Our time is not our own. It is a resource that we are not entitled to. And we are only on loan to the people we love. That doesn't mean we don't beg for an extension. . .and grieve when we don't get it.

This tangled web of high school commute (160 minutes on activity days) and family life and studio life and church life and music teacher organizations is a recipe for burnout. It's clear, but this is the season we are in. I'll keep you posted on how we unravel it.

I ordered a book -- there is always a book to fix us--Susie Larson's Your Sacred Yes: Trading Life-Draining Obligation for Freedom, Passion, and Joy.
I'm sure there will be a blog entry hiding in there. . .

In the meantime--it's meant a lot to me to take an hour of God's time and sit here with my coffee and write.

Thank you God for the gift of time. Help us appreciate each moment with our loved ones and the hours in service to you in all the forms that takes. Heal our coughs and colds and tailbones, and also heal the bigger pain of the world and the people we love. Amen. 

Friday, January 15, 2016

Some Live and Learn. . .

And. . . some just live.

We go and go and go and sometimes limp along a little. . . until there comes that moment when we have to give it up. So that was me Wednesday night. I had been fighting the cough since 12/12 and the tailbone incident was no small injury and so a sinus infection coming on was the last straw. I give. I cancelled lessons for Thursday, went back to the doctor and settled into a four day break.

I'm feeling better--not sure if it was the antibiotics, the mucinex, the pseudoephedrine, the steroid nasal spray, the inhaler, the ibuprofen, the prescription cough medicine or the allegra. Could have been the hot lemon water or the apple cider vinegar or the steam shower. Or it might have been two nights of ten hour sleep.

By the end of day two, alone in my own house (kids and Bill off to Arizona), I settle back into equilibrium. Train of thought. It was on the calendar for me to teach down in Austin this weekend. By the flukey grace of God, they ended up with fewer kids this year and didn't need me. I'm sad to miss my Austin gang and the kids--but all things work together for good and this time--I needed a break.

It only takes a little solitude and time and space for that deep calm to return. That peace that passes understanding. And as soon as we feel it we wonder why we let it go for so long.

I guess the question is, why we don't ask for help and call time out sooner. Bill was happy to let me sleep in the basement and he got up and got both kids to school albeit without piano practice but clean and fed. And my sub was happy to play on Sunday even though it turned out I could still be in town. And I didn't hear any tears on the phone when I cancelled a day of lessons.

Most of the time all we have to do is ask. We are not so important that the world will stop spinning if we are not at the wheel.

Gratitude sinks in and we tell ourselves we won't ever let this happen again. I'll never overdo it and take on this much again.

But I will. And probably you will too.

All we can do is try to obey that law of the sabbath. To be instead of do. And take that long breath that you are reminded you need, only when you are too sick to take it.

We must trust that we are right where we need to be. Sometimes it's too much. But sometimes the gratitude, peace, and love fill in the space, the little space where the sabbath leads us.

Tonight my friends are flying in for a girl's stacation. I'll pick them up in a couple hours. My home is clean. There is food in the fridge. There is firewood on the porch. The house is silent. I'm back to my very best self.

Tomorrow is my birthday. I probably should be wiser for my age. Some live and learn, and some just live.

Even so, I know I'm right where I need to be. All the pedals of the flower are important. Every mom is the hub of a complex wheel. I do like the flower metaphor a little better--see my mind map from the last entry.

I don't need to run away to Colorado, I don't need to change my life or become a monk, I just needed to catch my breath--and I waited a little too long this time.

Remember the sabbath. To keep it holy. To keep us holy. To keep us whole. Amen

Monday, January 4, 2016

Off to a Rocky Start But Not Too Late for a Fresh Chance

Morning Coffee and a New Year's Mind Map
Kids Like a Fresh Start Too
There are two things I love. Clarity and the chance for a fresh start.

Clarity can take many forms, for example a recent ex with a new girl friend. Or, the obvious overbooking of the holiday season. Or, when the child is off the rails. Or. . .

...actually feeling the broken tip of your tailbone. On New Year's Day I got the year off to a rocky start. . . ha ha ha. I broke my tailbone. Me, the snow, a tube, and my very own landscaping rock. Whose idea was it to put a rock there anyway? Bill concurs that the bone feels broken and wasn't that a romantic moment?

Clarity is good, I hate it when things are grey. Like my mom being in the hospital for four days with the doctors kinda shaking their heads and ordering five millions tests to scare us and then ultimately landing upon a diagnosis of viral pneumonia. Poor Janel. She spent the latter half of the Fall preparing food for our visit and decorating her house for Christmas and we spent the better part of our visit eating hospital food with a loud and strange roommate at the University of Iowa Hospital.

So here's to 2016. A fresh chance.

In spite of the rocky start, I do love a new year. I spend the actual day (for me this was 1/3/2016) listening to Oleta Adams and letting in the deep meloncholy of the passing of time and the putting away the Christmas tree and thinking about the kids getting older and our folks getting older and actually everyone getting older and shed a couple tears on that account and come across a couple photos of my dad and my grandparents and listen to a couple more sad songs. Bill and I used to call it "mope fest" in college.

But then, really, it's time to recommit. To everything. My family. My studio. My church. My piano teacher organizations. My health. And my limitations. The tailbone is helping with that.

It starts with some simple no's. No, we can't go to the library after school today. We have to get into a routine. It starts with some new charts. Then we can move onto the bigger picture of being mindful of what we do. That's might include some bigger no's down the road. That is clear. I love clarity. But it's gonna take some time to clear the board.

When Calvin was little, and like all children, he would go off the rails, we would send him to his room, ocasionally kicking and screaming but always in a funk. Ten minutes later I would go visit him and he would be back to his very best self.  Ready for a fresh start.

Everyday a fresh chance.
Happy New Year!