Thursday, November 19, 2015

When the World Falls Apart: or showing up in a cluttered life.




I look around and the world feels like it is falling apart.
There is evil every where.
Paris is broken.
Isis is powerful.
There are refugees that no one knows what to do with.
There is hate and racism and deep-seated distrust in our country.

And that is just the world out there.
At home it is my cousin's cancer.
And the broken seatbelt in the back seat.
Sales numbers that need to double and only nine selling days left.
There are exhausted outbursts at the end of the school day.
And home work that feels too hard.
A toddler who won't give up her bottle.
And a cavity in my back molar that irritates the corner of my brain more than my jaw.

And if I can't do anything about the small things close to home, how can I even hope at having an impact on the world out side my front door?

I drive down the highway flipping between bitter debate and saccharin music. So the radio goes off leaving me with my own thoughts. And my father's voice plays over and over shuffling between two thoughts.

"We chose to clutter our life with people not things."

and

"Show up."

The first a line from letters he wrote my husband and I on our wedding day. A motto he and my mother applied to their entire marriage. A motto my husband and I strive to embrace. The reason we bought our home. Not for status or security. But to fill it to the brim with family and friends and laughter and God's goodness.

The second line from a sermon he once preached. It was a difficult season for us. A toddler and a newborn with a close family member ill. We were in constant pain and it was easier to check out and shut down than to actually show up and be present in our lives. We were on a path that could have destroyed our  marriage. During the four hour drive home that day we made a choice. No matter how painful, no matter how messy, no matter how inconvenient or irritating, we would show up for our lives. When with each other, with our children, with our families, at church, we would stop shutting down and start engaging.

I don't really know what these two things have to do with a broken seat belts and cavities, much less bombings and refuges.

But there is homework tonight.
And Thanksgiving is next week.
And Christmas is coming.

And so I pray.
And bake bread.
And clutter my life with coffee dates and soup suppers and date nights and family nights.
And wherever life puts me I will show up.
Because some days, that's really all we can do.

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