Thursday, March 17, 2011

Same time, Same place, New laughs

Tonight I did what I tell myself I WILL NOT DO.

I felt like Paul who says in Romans 7:15 "For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I."

I just could not help myself.

Well yes I could I just didn't.

Kindov like ordering two McDoubles for y-o-u-r-s-e-l-f.

Yep. Perfect. Same feeling.

I blog surfed.

(Insert me making a BBBLLLLAAAAHHH face.)

So much out there. Big blogs, small blogs, fancy blogs, "I sell things blogs," 70,000 readers a DAY blogs, I am trying to become a budding author blogs, and my personal favorite, the, I am strange and love that people will come and read my bantor because I AM strange.

Not hatin', just sayin'.

And I read and coveted, and sighed and laughed and looked shocked, and even was moved by some. One 4 post spread about the Magic Kingdom seriously almost make me quit blogging all together. Wow. Yet another reason why we probably will never go there, or desire to. You cannot pray in schools, but you can take out a loan for some "Magical" experience where you spend three days in amusement overload, paying way too much for junk food and making your kids hug every single "Magical" stuffed something or other or smiling lady with huge hair. Still makes me shake my head. The adds tell you, "You will take some of the magic with you when you leave..." Yeah that and some pepto. Better hope that magic makes some payments for you on your credit card.

Ok, sorry.

See where blog surfing gets me? Every time. Every.time.

I do find some humor in all of the various thoughts people share. I think of them and I think of me and get a good chuckle.

I like the fact that dinner time is a potluck of thoughts that are just bubbling out of all of the kids. Joel barely says, "Amen" and here we go off into some explaination about something like whether the blood was cooked out of the meat. It will also be at this time that I can listen to the explaination, scold Anna for singing about blood, ask Nathan to stop picking his nose and remember that cookies are in the oven.

I like that Alayna can cry and Joel and I can volley over who should leave the bed and get up and get her, and we get crazier and crazier reasons each round and by the time we cannot even look at each other for fear of breaking out in laughter she falls back asleep and we just go on reading or doing whatever we were doing in the first place.

I like that I can promise to only read ONE chapter of "The Boxcar Children" and they KNOW that even I want to know what curiosity gets the best of me and I read on....every time.

I like that we get spontaneous calls to pray for church members, family, friends and yes even uncles getting their cows taken away, and we pray. Right then.

I like that I always see a lady in a long skirt or dress and long hair pulled-up each time I go to Wal Mart. I like that God sends her to me and me to her to no doubt encourage each other.

I like that I can make Hamburger Helper and call it "Hamburger Help Yourself" and the kids roar with laughter.

I like that I can begin to say something, it get jumbled and one of my kids will pat me on the hand and say, "It's ok Mom, we know."

I like that I can wear the same apron everyday. EVERY DAY and not care.

I like the fact that it has seen many pies and cookies and that my kids see me every day in it. In my place.

I like that I can sneak into town for something and get two McDoubles for myself from the drive thru and eat them before I get home, wiping the katsup off my cheek as I greet the kids.

I like that I can pray any time of the day kneeling at my bedroom window at my little bench and feel like I am in the world's grandest cathedral.

I like that I can then have some liquid spilled on me from some place by someone WHILE I am praying.

I like that I can cry one whole afternoon about the fact that now that we have moved to the great state of NY, I will miss lilac season. Bemoaning to God how I have FOLLOWED HIM, I have come and the least He could do was to allow me my ONE delight in life.

I like how my husband can then tell me that we have our own bush. IN.OUR.YARD. That I had happened to miss in our moving here and the snow covering every inch of NY.

I like looking at my husband as if it was the very first time I had laid eyes on him. And smile a Cheshire grin.

I like finding one last box of pudding in the pantry, feeling like it is plum pudding at Christmas time and then whisking the daylights out of it with the only whisk I have. The 6 inch one that goes to my mixer.......and laughing.

I like asking my husband things while I am writing like, "How big is that whisk that goes to my mixer downstairs?" and he have no clue why I wanted to know.

I like not being able to silence the laughter when one of us accidentally says, "Can you cut the cheese?"

I like that I have a pillow that was sent to me from my dear friend all the way to Mongolia, now adorning my bed. I like that it makes her seem a little closer.

I like that I can serve Pop Tarts for breakfast and not feel guilty.

I like that I can hug a lady at church, hear her say, "Watch out, I'm grumpy" and say, "Oh good, I am too."

I like that I can read through this list and laugh at my own life.

Because it is my good bloggable life.

I like that someone else will laugh at it too.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Ugly Beautiful

It is a weary end of the day here in Humphrey.

I am sitting in a comfy chair, thinking of all that has transpired in the last few days.

Just a little while ago we were in a Conference in WI when a call came that one of our church members had been in an accident and went to heaven. He was in his 60's and truthfully, I was not well acquainted with him. He usually came on Sunday mornings, sat in the back and was out before I had finished my nursery responsibilities. I did talk to him a few times only to notice that he was uneasy and uncomfortable doing so. So.... when I did see him, I would smile and thank him for coming, but never pressed him for information even regarding the simplest things, like the weather for instance.

It was Joel's first funeral. I think we all were nervous. It went well, he knew the Lord and surely was too busy enjoying his time with the Lord to even notice we stopped to place his body in the ground.

A few days later we got a call from the Rehab place where he frequented asking if we would hold a "Memorial Service" for him. What an opportunity this would be for us. A government institution and the gospel do not usually mix, and when they give occasion to, it is a matter of prayer.

So we went. We smiled, we met people and then it began to happen.

A man in almost high heel boots and 70's pants made his way to us. He announced to us that he was one of the "Soloists." Oh me. Remember at this juncture will you, that I am a terrible phony. I cannot hide anything, so this was getting hard for me. Deep down I thought, "Ok mister, YOU are the soloist? I am too and we shall see...." and even a little "Lord, help me not to laugh at this moment!"

He told us he was a friend of our deceased church member and how he took the news rather hard.

I am nodding and listening, trying not to look at the boots and pants individually let alone as an ensemble that any person should be legally allowed to wear.

We got to the meeting room where all of the friends of his were gathering that also happened to be their cafeteria that also happened to be dirty.

Very dirty. Again smiling, greeting, nodding, "Oh really?-ing".... doing the Pastor's Wifely duty.

I met another soloist. She was short and sweet and I liked her until she told us she was going to sing the Ave Maria.


I have not previously mentioned that this facility was for the Mentally/Emotionally challenged, and so at this announcement I thought, "Is she really meaning that or a little confused?"

She was a-meanin'-it. Full Italian, no subtitles, no music, you got it.

Now I have some semblance of a sense of humor, but this is beginning to get downright agitating. They should leave the "Memorial" thing to us professionals!

Person after person file in this already crowded room, I feel smothered. Anna puts her mouth on the table, I cringe. One lady in a large stocking cap takes it as her life's mission to make SURE everyone has a little program of the service, I wince. One man mumbles to me the same thing over and over, another lady to my right keeps asking me my name. In the middle of almost a mental breakdown, a lady rather elderly comes and asks me curtly if I want a cup of coffee. I fudge a smile and decline not too graciously. I mean, one only has so much graciousness.

The service begins. I am hot, nervous, trying to keep Nathan and Anna from touching the table too much, shaking hands too much, wanting Joel to hurry.... not wanting to tell the lady next to me my name for the hundredth time, and for goodness sakes, NO ONE needs another program, PLEASE sit down lady in the back!

Then it was as if I began looking through some else's eyes. We sang hymns. The sound of these voices, voices people in "normal" society have been taught to drowned out, began to reach the bottom of my sinful, wicked heart. The first soloist sang," When the Roll is Called up Yonder." We all sang along at the chorus, our voices swelling to fill the room. His voice was shaky, filled with emotion, it burned my heart. The second soloist stood and sang this Italian, difficult song with a soft whisper-like alto voice that made us all strain to hear each word. She had us all captivated by her unassuming way of trying to just be a help to those around her in this, their time of loss. The loss of their friend. Someone who, like them, understood being misunderstood.

Then each person who wanted to, stood and gave a testimony of this man. THIS MAN whom I was beginning to learn a lot more about through his death that I never knew in life.

The service begins, Joel is consoling and I feel my heart burning with shame. Will I never learn? Will I keep up this pride and try to slip out after everything is over?

No. No I won't.

Before I know it, it is MY turn to sing.

I slink out of my chair and feel as if every soul can see the blackness of my heart. Will they cringe at me like I them?

No. No they won't.

I meet eyes. They widen, brighten, and give me a glimpse into hearts yearning for real friendship. I sing and as I do I try to apologise with my eyes. Stanza after Stanza.

Did they see it? Get it?

They did.

I spent the rest of our time there hugging, helping serve coffee to people and look each one in the eye and smile. I touch an arm of a man who is beaten down. I am beaten down too, inside. I am trying to be maybe the only Jesus that this man will ever know. I get him his coffee, help him put the cream back, as he shakes.

Inside I cry, I want to stay and make it up to them.

I want to serve these people,

the Ugly Beautiful.

I hug more, smile more, serve more, and listen. Always there is listening.

And while I listen I am in all wonder at the change of events.

At the switch that has taken place. Those who were the Ugly are now the Beautiful.

Those who were pious and Beautiful are now the Ugly.

I went to the restroom to gather my thoughts and flooding emotions. The Holy Spirit met me and whispered, "the least of these....."

"you have done it unto me."

Look how I have treated you, Lord. He knows. He saw the change in me though. He prays for me, and nothing can ever separate me from His love for me.

Or separate them from His love for them.

We leave and a woman who was shy comes and envelopes me in a hug. She rushes off. She has been pacing, wanting to hug me and finally worked up enough courage. I am glad she did. It is I who should be shying away and not her. A man comes and gives Nathan a wad of money from "The group." He tells him in a whisper to give it to his dad. It is an offering from them all.

to us.

I left feeling so ugly, but so thankful that God got a hold of me before it was too late to shower them with His love.


The Ugly Beautiful.