Sunday was pretty uneventful. With the previous week bursting at the seems with need-to-dos, and want-to-dos, even Saturday night had us hitting both his school prom and mine (chaperones, of course), we decided to utilize the Lord’s day of rest for ourselves. Rest, for someone who is restless and stir-crazy, does not come easily or naturally.
Saturday night I fell asleep on the couch. Clearly, not a shocker for those of you who know me, this is my reoccurring ritual. The routine goes, that once Jason is ready, he wakes me up and in my comatose, Linus-from-Peanuts-state, I grab my blanket and I drag it and myself up the stairs following the procession of sleepy puppies. Quiggles, always takes the lead. On a good night, Aussie and Quigley will both get into proper position at the foot of the bed. On a bad night, one, the other, or both steal my pillow and I whimper, literally whimper, until Jason comes to my rescue and moves the furchildren. I’m dramatic. We all know this. Add lack of sleep, I become Oscar worthy.
Somehow last Saturday night was disrupted. Around 5 am, my body’s natural alarm clock sounded and I awoke to the “ting, ting, ting” of soft rain falling on our tin roof. Instead of rolling over and seeing the three loves of my life, I saw Jason’s spot on the sectional. I checked my FitBit again. Yep, 5:08 am. No puppies in sight. “Traitors,” I think to myself. I envisioned them curled up on my memory foam pillow under my all-season down comforter without a care in their puppy world.
In Jason’s defense, when he asked me to come to bed, I convincingly responded, “I’ll be up in a minute.” Of course, this was his version of the story, but this clearly sounds like me, sleep talking, sleep negotiating.
Regardless, I slept well. I got up and made my way to the Keurig and hit ON. “Clip, Clap, Clip, Clap” came Quigley’s quick feet down the stairs. Very much a morning puppy like his mother. He’s always ready for the day’s adventure. “Stomp . . . Stomp . . . Stomp,” Aussie begrudgingly followed with her slow, methodically taken steps, only appearing in case she misses out on something important like a good morning T- R- E- A- T.
I grab my coffee, splash in some coconut milk, and head to my spot in the office. My office is the formal sitting room right off the entrance. I am clearly not a decorator as it sits scattered with novels and nonfiction texts on the floor in one corner. Two antique club chairs in the middle with nothing visually to anchor them, both desperately needing re-upholstery. Lastly, my self painted yellow desk takes center stage loaded down with yearbooks on both sides, completed devotionals, journals, and planners scattered about on top; all open, all written in, all loaded down with entangled thoughts. Instead of an office chair, my spot (as Sheldon would claim) is an extra piece of our beloved sectional. Yep, the one I just slept on. I love it. It’s perfect. I could write a Petrarchan sonnet about how much I love it. All fourteen lines would reaffirm that this couch was in fact, made for this family. Unfortunately, or well fortunately, when we ordered our furniture mid home reconstruction, we overestimated the space for our sectional and now have an additional piece. Having moved it to my office to get it out of the way, it quickly became my writing go-to. My spot.
It’s wide enough for me to slouch on, comfy enough for long hours of reading, writing, or editing. I usually drag a club chair close to prop my feet up on between me and the desk as I’m doing right now.
“Ok, God. It’s 5ish in the morning. I have my coffee. I’m in my spot. Speak to me,” I said out loud to God last Sunday morning. Again, this is Sunday morning. Yes, our day of rest. Yes, I “slept in” till 5:08 am.
But I just sat there, in my spot, with my feet propped up, wrapped up in my Linus blankey, holding my coffee, waiting on my God to speak. Here lately, God has chosen to speak to me through other people’s words. Or maybe I just listen more attentively to a voice that is similar to my own. I have a stack of nonfiction texts that I need and desire to conquer but starting a new one this morning doesn’t feel right. Instead, I just sit. No lights. No sounds. Just the “tink, tink, tink” of the rain. I can hear Jason’s audible breathing up above me echoing from our undecorated, Benjamin Moore painted walls.
Little did I know that God would speak to me, in fact multiple times this week, through the voices of others that forced me to listen. Now, I’m not going to dissect every encounter this week (this is a blog post, not a novella) but I can’t shake off God’s voice Tuesday night, spoken so clearly and humbly through a young man that I have come to love with such deep affection.
Tuesday night was our graduation banquet for our 36 gifted school-within-a-school kids. Held out doors under the pavilion of our local Country Club, with the lake and the sun as our backdrop, we honored the graduates with what we could; our admiration, our love, our praise, and a few accolades.
Last year, I was a hot mess at this banquet. Still feeling raw and pink for what my body had endured that March. Feeling inadequate as a woman. Feeling like a failure of a Program Director for things that slipped through my hands; colliding professional trauma with personal. I think I cried through the entire event. I try not to look at pictures from that night. Hot emotional mess is not picturesque for a #throwbackthurday on Instagram (sorry #tbt as all the cool kids tag it).
Last year, I needed to be hugged to keep the pieces from falling apart. This year, I needed to do the hugging as a symbol of my genuine love and gratitude.
Before the pomp and circumstance was over Tuesday night, this young man stood up in front of a hundred people and spoke. Without looking at me, he began by speaking directly to me. In his humble fashion, he thanked everyone who was in attendance and then quickly moved to his point beginning with a movie he wanted to quote. Collateral Beauty, 2016, stars the Will Smith (again I have not seen this one yet but I did just recently watch Seven Pounds and geeze! Grab a box of tissues!). Anyways, this movie has a character named Claire who apparently has struggled to have her own children (see where I’m going here?). A young man, who is apparently deeply influenced by her life, consoles her with such powerful truth that I cannot shake it. He says, “Your children don't have to come from you. They go through you.”
Yikes! I’m pretty sure I turned my head away from this adorable young man as he continued to speak and probably clinched my chest. I have always heard people say, “out of the mouth of babes,” well those words just proved that expression true.
This young man saw it so clearly. Saw me so clearly. These were my kids. Even when I got up to speak just a few minutes later (forcibly on the spot, I might add), I could not help but refer to these remarkable young adults as “my kids.” They truly are! My love and interaction with them is the closet relationship I have to parenthood. I spend more time with these young adults, five out of seven days a week, than maybe even their own parents. We learn together. We eat together (a lot). We have traveled together. I have stood in audiences, on the sidelines, at the finish line, with tears in my eyes celebrating their accomplishments and consoling their defeats. These are my kids for they have gone right through me. Right through my big, weepy, emotional heart.
I knew Tuesday was going to be a wonderful night. It began at 6:00 when one of my favorite families (yep, teachers really do have favorites) brought me a gift basket just from them. It was filled with all kinds of whimsical things that speak my language. But it’s not about the gift; it’s about the action. The card that came with it is now pinned to my card wreath in my kitchen. A visual reminder of my kids, their families, and their love.
So in good teacher fashion, I Googled the movie Collateral Beauty. The actress Claire is played by Kate Winslet. Yep, I’ll take that comparison. She’s stunning, and blonde, and classy. I can see where my student saw similarities (sarcasm). Regardless of the cast, what I really wanted was to find that movie quote. To find the context of those words that were clearly God-words for my stubborn ears. What I found was that quote didn’t just end there. It ended with that young man continuing to speak into Claire saying, “So, I wouldn’t consider the battle with time over just yet.”
Sitting in my spot. With my coffee, splashed with coconut milk, my heart aches. With 9 days till my 33rd birthday, a day I feel as imminent as a countdown clock, I know that right now, on this early morning, the battle with time is not over yet. God has confirmed it. I have heard it audibly. And now I feel it.
God has answered my prayer. He has made me a mother. I stood Tuesday night in front of thirty of my kids with hot ocean tears in my eyes. My heart was full.
But regardless of how my whimsical adventure turns out, it will not affect my relationship with God. He is my Father. My Redeemer. My Healer. My Friend.
This is my season of life. This is my spot.
Come back next week to see how else God has audibly called my name.
The Big Bang Theory, Series 03 Episode 23 – The Lunar Excitation