The Thanksgiving turkey’s been stuffed, cooked, and eaten, the Christmas presents have been bought, wrapped, and opened, and New Years came and went with the traditional raised champagne flutes and the Quiram traditional banging of the pots and pans and our five young adults who returned home from near and far places, as near as Newport News and as far as New Jersey, have gone back to their homes, jobs and/or schools. Only our two high school-aged young adult daughters remain at home.*
While the girls can get raucous at times, it’s a lot quieter now; when they’re all home—especially after they’ve been fed and are completely wound up—I sometimes want to run away to the mythical land of peace and quiet, far from the noise, the clutter, the clash of wills…
Do you have a family wall in your house? We have a massive wall, nine-foot high by approximately 20 feet wide, in our TV room covered with pictures of our family, with maybe an inch or two margin of wall-space between frames. We have pictures of grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, pictures of our boys when they were babies, pictures of our girls when we adopted them and family portraits taken at holidays or special events such as Tim’s retirement and Billy and Brynne’s wedding.
After putting the Christmas stuff away, I found a drawing someone had left in the TV room. It came from Tim’s house and used to be in his boys room. It’s a sketch of Jesus as a carpenter. I thought of putting this drawing at the center of our family wall as a reminder to keep the Carpenter, whose birthday decorations Ethan and I just took down, at the center of our lives and our family.
Then my imagination ran wild, as it is wont to do, and I envisioned what it might be like if the actual Jesus—a flesh and blood Jesus, not merely the Holy Spirit—lived here with us. Since Jesus is God and presumably skilled at everything He endeavors, we might get a trellis added on to our deck without paying a contractor. Our medical bills would go down—surely He’d heal my arthritis and Johnny’s Crohn’s disease and Tim’s recurrent cold, right? Maybe He would even multiply the money in our savings (He did it with fish and loaves of bread, so why not some greenbacks?). Maybe He could multiply them so much we could pay off the mortgage and Tim could retire before he’s eighty.
All good, so far. Then my imagination took a different turn. I pictured my husband and I going over the day’s events in our bedroom and could almost hear my laments:
“Today Jesus told me that I worry about too many things, that I need to rest with Him—like He didn’t know sixteen hungry, expectant people are anticipating presents and turkey and stuffing and cranberry sauce and apple pie and stockings filled with goodies.”
“He knows everything,” my husband, helpful as usual, reminds me.
“That’s just it! He knows that I have meals to prepare, presents to buy, gifts to wrap and still thinks I have time to sit at His feet all day.”
“Did He actually say, ‘All day?’”
“That’s besides the point! I mean, who does He think He is?”
I give him the look. “Yes, I know. You’d think, instead of sitting there and expecting me to hang on His every word, He might help with the cooking, the cleaning, or the shopping?”
Even in my imagination, my husband gives me the I give up! two-hand raise.
But seriously, I have to chuckle. If, even in my imagination, I can find something to complain about living with our Lord and Savior, how do our young adults stand a chance?
The better way is His way.
I’ve got to stop always expecting them to jump up to help me at my every whim, get off that computer! and clean up after yourself! And just BE with them: spend one-on-one time listening to what’s going on in their lives, find ways to encourage and laugh with them. It’s funny how it works. The more time I spend with them, the more they help me, get off their computers, and clean up after themselves.
Ethan, the last to leave, drove back to Tech yesterday. Does anyone know when spring break starts?
*I’m taking a course on cumulative sentences. If you think this a run-on sentence, it’s not. It’s cumulative. 🙂