On Paying Attention

the long way home
Driving up to school this morning I am struck how in-a-hurry I usually am to finish the task of school-drop-offs. I am in my walking clothes, eager to get home so that I can get my two mile walk with John done before the sun is completely overhead. The temperature rises quickly in April, and there is a small window before the trees stop offering shade and the heat is nearly unbearable for this Seattle girl.

I’m up early these days. The sun streams brightly  through our windows and the loud-chirping of the common myna calls me to rise. I cover my head and try and finish my dream and catch a few extra minutes because I know that once I am up there is no nap ahead until the late evening hours. My kids still love their beds and are mostly unresponsive to the morning 6:30am call as their home-schooled bodies are not used to rising so early. To which I want to tell them of children who must get up much earlier but I am usually unconvincing in my stories. Because the boys have the challenging gluten/dairy/egg –free diets popping a piece of toast and frying an egg has never been an option in the morning. Today I make gluten/dairy/egg-free oatmeal muffins and the kids eat their fill before we head off to school.

Taking the short-cut through a nearby Thai village we pass rice fields and stray dogs, the beautiful Doi Suthep Mountain frames the backdrop to our drive out of our moobaan (neighborhood). A village lady has restocked her fruit stand that is nearly always filled with bananas. Today she has mangoes and papaya. I will have to stop by and see her on my way home. We have three traffic lights on our 5 kilometer drive to school and we usually never make the lights. The extra wait reminds me to breathe and enjoy the noise in the car. We carpool with another family and there is usually someone in the car verbally worried about a test and another is putting on their socks and shoes because they had to run out of the house in a hurry.

I steal a peak at the light at this car-full of kids, loving the innocence and their simple worries about who they’re going to sit with at lunch. Tests. Friends. A desired acceptance on both levels. Am I enough? Will I make it? Do I have what it takes? Will they accept me?

Questions that begin so early on and yet they never seem to leave. I am still asking those questions. I’ve been following Jesus for so long and yet I still get lost in the myriad of questions that take place in the deepest place of my soul.

My youngest who is now 13 puts on neon yellow socks, a colorful addition to the simple uniforms they must wear each day. My kids have discovered the only way to separate themselves from the crowd is to wear colorful socks. Neon? That was in when I was 13 and just like him I wondered who I would sit with at lunch.

Today’s reflections are simple. Paying attention to God in the moments and how my heart is responds to all that is going on around me. Unloading the burdens as they come. Yes, Lord, I’ll trust you with this one. And oh, here’s another worry. I’ll choose faith. Again.

I call my oldest son today. I apologize for my attitude toward him at the end of our call yesterday that felt judgmental and anxious. Stress from another situation had bled into my conversation with him and I had projected my fears onto him. I call him because I want to tell him I’m sorry. I’m in process, son, and your mom is just a kid who is learning to trust God in everything. I’m growing in awareness. My apology is met with grace. My college boy can take that his mom's not perfect but in process. But growth is incremental, takes time and sometimes feel so slow. How my heart dictates my attitude which then impacts my words and my actions. If I’m unaware of the insecurities, worries, doubts, and fears that lie deep within I can so easily hurt others around me.

I take the long way home today. I linger behind the red song-taaw (truck) that is unsure which way to turn and the motorbikes who, too are taking their time today. I choose not to be in a hurry. God and I are striking up a conversation and I do not want it to end.

What moments do I miss because I do not pay attention? What treasures and gifts does He have for you and I if we were only to stop and listen?


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