This summer has been...in Catechesis of the Good Shepherd language...a BIG work. A pouring of life work where I literally poured the lentils of my life from an Alaska cup to a Virginia cup. When some lentils missed the cup along the way, I didn't always patiently recover it, but by the grace of God...here we are.
Yes, I DID get extremely frustrated at times, angry. I distinctly remembered a moment in early August when I was laying on an air mattress in the room over the garage. This whole being sprawled out on the mattress to any passer by might have looked like relaxing but I was truly throwing a fit, a pity party. Fortunately, this room has skylights so I could see the evening sky was just birthing her stars.
I was feeling so much. I think the word is grieving. I was grieving loss. I was truly homesick for my Juneau family and place. I was lying there, fuming at how helpless I was in this move that had HAPPENED to me...as I had mentioned in this post...like labor. It was in this wrestling with my work and looking at the sky that God simply spoke to me,
"This is My Will. Why are you fighting My Will?"
I have tried very hard in the areas of my life to align myself with what I believe is God's will for us...in marriage, as a mother, as the educator of my children. I can say "It has been God's will to have these five children."
I can say also, "It is God's will that my children be educated in our home."
And yet until that evening on that somewhat deflated air mattress I couldn't quite grasp that THE MOVE was His will.
Ann Voskamp's book One Thousand Gifts was passed along to me a few years ago, I believe by Janet. Gratitude is the song of that book. So as we waited and waited and waited and waited and waited...
for our things to arrive, I grew impatient.
It was harder to be grateful. My imagination was running out. I couldn't think clearly with knowing that our things would get here but not knowing WHEN (right...I told you it is very much like labor). Every day my husband would come home from work and there would be no update as to when our things would get here and as the weekend approached and we went to bed on our air mattresses yet again, it was hard to smooth out the crinkles in my brow....the stressed brow crinkles...you know...of a woman with worries.
Well, good thing God hand picks our soul mates and as my friend Jennifer points out, what a blessing marriage is a sacrament chalk full of graces because one night... my husband grew impatient with me.
The whole move was different for him. He is from Virginia. I am Navy brat who grew up along the east coast but six years in Juneau was the longest I had lived anywhere.
When people ask Justin where he is from it is...the Northern Neck or Upper Peninsula of Virginia. Though he was just as deeply ingrained in our Juneau community as I was, he is excited our children get to experience his Virginia.
And so one evening, when this Virginian grew impatient with my whining about our stuff, his scolding went something along the lines of...
"Stephanie I can't even listen to you right now. I went to work this morning and all over the news there were pictures of a toddler's body floating onto a beach. We have it so good. We have it so good and I am not going to complain. Our stuff will get here."
There was a bunch of other exchanges and I left the conversation initially feeling rather hurt. I felt my husband was being insensitive to my plight. I felt like I was told to eat my broccoli because of starving children around the world.
And yet his little lecture (which was in a bit of a raised tone because honestly that was the only way to get through to me), gave me...finally...an imagination again and the means to be grateful.
You see, I am sitting with my furniture now. Just as Justin said, it DID all get here. I have my beautiful children and my husband. I have my Church and I have already been blessed with a few kindred spirit mamas from this parish. I have nice neighbors and a beautiful setting. I can't wait to show all of this to you.
And there are refugees who aren't going to be getting there things. There are families who have said goodbye, grieving loss and separation. The simple small things we have...count them, be grateful and bless them. I don't want to be told to look at the suffering around me. Maybe I am so selfish that I would rather just not admit there IS suffering!
So...as I unpack my boxes I keep the Syrian mothers, all refugees, close to me. I know we do not take our things to heaven, but certain things DO make a home (even if they have rips and purple marker stains and holes, they make YOUR home).
I wonder...what was the Lord trying to teach me in this move? Was it GRATITUDE? My friend Mary Clare, who just moved here from Denver, gave me a new meditation...it is something along the lines of...He loves me so much.
I love you Stephanie! I love you, I love you, I LOVE YOU! I was so happy to get close to you in Alaska. That Alaska Atrium is a special spot for us right? Well, I know you have been throwing a fit and you aren't trusting this Virginia Atrium very much, but I have so many new works for you here and I am excited for us, because you think we are close now...but we can be even closer. Isn't that so special? You and me! I love you!
He loves each of us so much.
You are special to Him.
Ok! The family is waking up. My coffee is calling.
I will be back so soon...because fall is in the air here and I am totally going to NERD out in all my FALL GLORY and you will not want to miss my AUTUMN NERD musings! seriously