As you read this, I’m sipping a Starbucks, maybe nibbling a scone, chatting with a friend/fellow writer/mentor, all of which make me smile. And believe me, I’m in need of some reasons to smile.
I’ve never actually been to a desert. At least not the no-water-in-sight-sun-beating-down-for-days kind. I remember driving through the desert to see a national park, maybe in Utah, maybe in Arizona. But I’m thinkin’ our deserts here in America have nothing on say, the Sahara. I can only imagine what it’s like to literally thirst for water in the desert, or desperately seek relief from a hot sun.
Figuratively speaking, I’m so there. Our season of financial dryness — no full time work, dwindling savings, little government assistance — lingers with not much sign that it will end. This was a roller coaster week for me with a few highs (an unexpected $20 to put gas in the car; finding 4 cans of salmon in the cupboard that I didn’t know we had; progress on my current writing project; kindness and generosity of friends) and a comparable number of lows (running out of butter and Crisco, staples in my efforts to bake more things at home instead of buy them; possible car troubles; stubborn kids). I’m no big fan of roller coasters in real life. About once every few years I think, why not, and ride one only to remember why I don’t usually ride roller coasters.
I’m looking for peace. Steadiness. Certainty.
Most days, I come up empty. Until I sit and listen for God’s voice. He’s not speaking loud and clear these days. He’s whispering. In code. I’m desperate to crack it, but it would seem He’s not ready to reveal the message yet. Instead of a message, He grants me the things I can’t get on my own. Peace. Assurance. Calmness of mind. Truth. Hope. Joy. Without Him, these things are in short supply.
So, I take note of the little smiley things about the week. Those little springs that give me momentary relief from the heat and pressure of wandering in the desert.
For starters, my husband, Phil, has been phenomenal (or maybe that’s Phil-nomenal) these last couple of weeks as I wrap up a writing project. He puts dishes away and does laundry. On Thursday he swept and tidied the living room (hardwood floors and one sorta nasty rug) while we were at a playdate. Yesterday, he deep cleaned the stove top. It sparkles. He watches the kids while I work. And this week we considered switching roles. I applied for a job. For which I apparently have a preliminary phone interview later this month. Phil is excited about the Mr. Mom role. I’m excited at the possibility of leaving the house on a regular basis. Above all, I’m grateful we’re a team.
And my kids. I complain and whine and groan about how hard this parenting gig is, but these two are creative and cute and funny. (I’m a pushover for jammies. Maybe because I’m reminded of their sweetness when they are quietly — and finally — in slumberland.)
They say ridiculous (and sometimes profound) things like “I’m overwhelmed. Do you know what overwhelmed is? It’s when you’re praying and you overflow.” That, from a 4-year-old. And the way the 2-year-old prays for our food at mealtimes is sweet and always punctuated by a loud “GOODBYE” after the “amen.” Watch out, world, we have some enthusiastic ones here.
Books make me happy. Last weekend we went to a book sale in town. The kids each got to spend a dollar they earned for participating in the Summer Reading Program. They came home with three books each. Phil and I scored this box, which really reflects our book tastes in a box.
History. Christian fiction. Bible study. Atheist primer. Humor. Drinking. (Mainly the coffee, tea and soda variety.)
We had some awesome playdates with friends this week. The kids got a lot more social time than they’re used to, and even though I have work to finish, it was good to emerge from the cocoon and speak with real live humans again. (I tend toward hermit on the social scale.)
I’ll leave you with a few more smiles.
And if you need a reason to smile this week, you can borrow some of mine.