It's about paying attention to God in the moments of life, growing in gratitude, receiving His extravagant love, and learning to love others with that same love. It's about letting go of my old ways of living and learning to walk in the joyous freedom that can only be found in Christ. I must allow truth penetrate into the deepest parts of my soul knowing that truth in me will also awaken truth in others.
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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?
It all happened so suddenly. One day we were talking about her. Two days later she was gone.
I was just with her Friday afternoon! My son lamented. How can she be gone? The emotions of this past week have been more down then up, and my son says, "I'm not sad at the right times." As if we can control this complex emotion we call sadness.
We have sat in the pain though. We have pressed in and we're better for it. Life for now cannot be as usual. A friend is gone. Too soon according to us. We didn't have enough time to learn about this young 13 year old with a vivacious personality so colorful that sometimes people didn't know what to do with such vulnerability and such freedom. In many ways she was older than her years, in other ways she was just a girl wondering if people could accept her just the way she was.
We all just want to know if someone will take us as we are. Growing up is so hard to do.
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