Monday, June 10, 2013

Live In The Grace Of Now

I remember sitting in the back seat of our 1960-ish gold Oldsmobile with my arms crossed and my face set in my best trout pout.  My cuter-than-Shirley-Temple, tousle-haired sister, most always got to be in the front seat, because she was prone to motion sickness. My two brothers whined, punched and cried over the windows in the backseat, so I was usually assigned the middle, to keep mayhem to a minimum.  In that day there were no seat-belt laws or seat-belts for that matter. My mom learned to drive after she was married, at which time my dad gave her the nickname  "Speedy".

Mom often said that people had a hard time seeing gold cars. I suspect that was why she would often slam on the brakes and extend her right arm to save my sister while the three of us in the back were propelled like hand grenades and then generally ran-a-muck fussing over who was touching who.

Yes, it was a wonder we all lived.

I rationalize that my make-believe world, was born out of this kind of chaos.

There in the gold car, I dreamed, that I was currently being held against my will and forced to live with this crazy white family. I consoled my little girl self, that my dog and I would be moving out of the house to live on our own when I turned twelve. Unfortunately I turned twelve in the dead of winter, so we stayed for soup and cinnamon rolls and then it was Christmas time. With a certain degree of confidence, I'm sure mom helped me pack my bag to run away more than once.

So, in my whimsical world, I had been kidnapped from the tribe of  Native Americans that lived a few hours north of us.  When mom bravely trooped us into a store I would look at people like, " me?" It seemed that some clear thinking person would notice how out of place I was.

After all, in my imaginative sphere, I had long dark hair, big brown eyes and beautiful dark skin. I wanted to be called by my Native American name "Julia". There were no Rhonda's in my fairy-tale, so when my name was called, I would look around to see who they could possibly be yelling at.

You might think I'm making this up, but I'm not, which makes it all the more disturbing really.

As a teenager my non-reality carried over. I always thought I was overweight, probably because I felt stuffed, from sitting in front of the television while eating chocolate chip ice cream, ....straight from the carton, ....before supper. I know now that I was not pudgy then. However I have walked in delusion still, as currently I weigh more pounds than my joints can carry comfortably and I try to convince myself that I'm thin.

When I got older, married and became pregnant, I thought my condition was terminal. In some ways I guess it was since I've never fully recovered. Then when the child arrived, I was sure I would never sleep another full night again in my entire life. And I wondered how I would ever survive the next eighteen years of messy diapers, runny noses, sticky floors, piles of laundry and the daily demands of life. Back then, I secretly hoped the children would all be mature and leave home early so I could claim my life back.

I was able to get into the swing of dressing my adorable toe-headed children in darling outfits ...that I chose and trained them to go to sleep at the magic hour, on their soft fluffy beds that had white headboards and were capped with pink ruffly canopies.

Yes it was a little charming.

They were finally learning how not to jump over the basket of folded laundry on their way up the stairs and how to help clean off the table when lunch was finished, when things began to spin terribly out of control again.

That new season we were  running tire tread completely off the rims of cars day and night. We tried to only make two trips to town a day. It seemed like I was helpless to stop the insanity of a full calendar. Weekends and summers were even busier than winters and the winters were long and overloaded. We homeschooled, homesteaded, and tried to do some homemaking but were rarely at home. The two children played three instruments each and only one of those did they probably play at all well and the younger child said she would not play any instruments and we were all fine with that.

Suddenly they moved out and my friend brought me a puppy to get over it all. In what seemed like overnight I had passed through the seven layers of the candy cane forest and come out into the meadow of middle age.

No really.

Yes, mostly the children are now raised. Only it is twenty eight years later, we are a little breathless and sometimes we think that one of our children will move back into the basement and live until we die so they can then take over the master bedroom. It may have been a dream I had.

But right now its my husband, three dogs and two vacuum cleaners.

The ride of life has made the driving to town with my mom in the gold Oldsmobile and surviving my siblings, look like the easy part.

The tide has now turned and my children are relating stories that I don't think really happened and even if they did, I'm not sure how accurate they can remember events that occurred when they were infants.

The whole thing has left me wondering what in the world to do now.

If you are still reading, thank you. There should be free gifts and balloons for all.

What is wrong with me!?!

The words, "living intentionally" are illusive. There is no such thing as "balance." The seasons of life are often wild, exhausting and unexpected even with the best laid plans.

The media promotes youth, beauty and wrinkle free living. As if you can really control aging. It sells the idea that living life is really for the young and darling.

Even in the Christian community I often feel that if you are over the hill you may as well pull over to the side of the road and park. It doesn't help that our society teaches that we work and live to retire so we can check out of the community in our prime  to enjoy our golden years in the southern sunlight.

One thing I've heard repeated over and over it is this: "I did my time serving, it's someone else turn."

Certainly I get that. I really do.
But I'm fighting the drag and pull to throw it all in and head south for the winter in my spiritual life, which is really my whole life.

It was never meant to be, church on Sunday and Bible study on Wednesday and the rest of the days I do my own thing while sipping high dollar coffee.

At this point we should be at least a little over ourselves already. We should be settled, more in tune with reality.

I've stood at the edge of the graves of both my brothers and thought things like  "I'm so glad we fought, wrestled, built forts and started the chicken coop on fire....."  Why didn't we spend more time contending with life's bigger issues?

Too much time I have wasted searching for meaning, clarity, and acceptance in this life and trying to be something I'm not.

We spent too many years quoting blocks of scriptures to our children instead of just living it out like Jesus.

How amazing is it, that mostly Jesus only quoted scripture to rule-keeping-Pharisees?

The woman caught in adultery.
No scripture was quoted.

The tax collector in the tree?
No scripture was quoted.

The woman at the well who had been through five husbands and lived with a man?
Nope. No scripture quoted.

Jesus drew people to Himself thorough love and relationship.

In this new season of change I just want to be more like Jesus and love on as many people as I can.

I want to rest in all the imperfect messiness of this body, my life, the relationships and embrace it all like a big sloppy wet kiss.

I want to live brave and live in the right now.

Young moms....

My best advice to you is to go to bed as soon as you can, get up when you have to and pray more than  you currently probably are, for everything. Be very careful what gets your yes. Don't buy into the press of what everyone else is doing. You are molding little hearts in the shape of  Jesus and where you lack He will step in and be enough.

Ladies who find yourselves amazed to have survived the season of raising children....

No matter what the journey has looked like, may we be just walk in faith and be humble servants? Be careful of what gets our yes, yet giving our time, energy and talents away freely? And remember Caleb in the Bible? I love his passion. And I love that he did some of his greatest exploits in his eighties.

All we have to do is go where the Lord will lead us - -in faith, if we really listen.

Settled. Not striving.

Fully living in the grace and reality of right now.

Photo Credit

post signature


Post a Comment

I love hearing from you! Thank you for stopping by.

© Rhonda Quaney