Friday, October 26, 2007


We're full swing into the fall schedule. Today I am stressed out, frustrated, rushed and irritable. Nasty. I hate myself like this. I wouldn't want to be around me. Life is just too busy. If I make a list of all I have to do, it doesn't really seem like much. No more than most working women face, probably less. Here's our weekly schedule: The girls and I have school every weekday from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.. Some days everyone is cheerful and cooperative, and some days we're in a battle zone. Tuesdays we leave the house at 3:30 to go to church. Fred and I cook for about 75 people who attend Alpha. I am always scrambling around madly to bake or to get together ingredients we need before we can head out the door. While we cook the girls have choir and Awanas, and they so much enjoy those activities. So we cook to help out. All of us get home about 9 p.m., totally wiped out.

On Thursday afternoons, Arielle has piano lessons, and for sake of convenience, we food shop afterwards at the nearby supermarket. Library day is also that afternoon, since we pass by it on the way home, and we also stop at the produce market for the week's supply of fruits and vegetables. Sunday we go to church in the morning and then Arielle (and soon Liana) have art class in the afternoon. I also spend the afternoon preparing lessons for the girls for the upcoming week of school. The supposedly "free" evenings and Saturdays are rarely that way. All of this doesn't seem like much, and we've actually cut a lot of activities, but I must be doing something wrong because I struggle to find time to clean my house, to cook a decent meal each night, and to keep up with the laundry. I am in a constant state of hurry. I don't waste time (unless you call this wasting time--maybe it is) and I rarely ever watch a TV show unless I am also cooking or folding laundry or ironing at the same time. I don't have time to call or e-mail friends or even my older children as I wish I could. I live with chronic regret--what I should have done but didn't--cook a meal for the woman at my church going through chemo, visit my friend diagnosed with thyroid cancer, call my mother, invite someone to dinner. Please, someone tell me, what am I doing wrong? What happened to the joy? I am jotting these complaints down as I sit through Arielle's piano lesson, forty-five minutes of waiting until I run again.

***It's a new day. The girls and I are in Panera's, a coffee and bread shop just down the street from the hospital. Fred is having injections in his spine and we must wait to take him home. It's peaceful here. Classical music plays softly in the background and it's so early, the place is deserted. The girls are coloring pictures they drew, and we just finished their spelling tests and a game of "complete the squares." Do you remember that game of the grid of dots that you played as a kid when you were bored? Arielle and Liana were delighted with it. I've been carrying around a big spiral notebook, just like I used to do in college, so I could catch some thoughts flying from my restless brain. So I take it out and write. There is absolutely nothing else to do but sit here and wait.

I hear a whisper in my mind, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30. "Come to me..." That's where I've gone wrong.

I guess I'm a little like King David when he wrote many of his Psalms. He starts with a lament, crying out to God in frustration and helplessness, but before the Psalm is over it becomes a praise. In the midst of his problems, he remembers God's faithfulness and his promises and David lets go of his fear and his anger. I choose to let them go too. I'm so thankful to God for my daughters and my husband and my church. All three keep me hopping, but what is the alternative? Getting old and sitting around staring at the four walls. (As my mother-in-law always says.) Praise God for a full, rich life! I grumbled about getting up at 5 a.m. today to take Fred for his treatment, but the day turned into a time of peace and solace and fun with my girls. Thank you, Lord. I even began to see Arielle's piano class in a new light too. It's my one day a week to pause for 45 minutes and then later I get to spend some one-on-one with Arielle.

Jesus said HIS burden is light. He didn't say we have easy lives. Some people carry enormous burdens, much heavier than mine. But when we're yoked with Jesus, he promises to share the load. We give it to him when we spend time with him and let him direct our day.

Monday, October 08, 2007


I drove on winding roads, autumn trees on the brink of glory bending over me. But it's not quite time for these majestic trees to treat us to their glorious color. I was heading to our local hospital for a mammogram. No big deal. But at my age--and others my age confirm this--any trip to the doctor or any diagnostic test done can be life-changing. One day you're fine, the next you are thrust into a nightmare of specialists and treatments.
I was reminded of other trips to this hospital--racing down these roads as my father-in-law lay dying, and then another rushed drive in the darkness the night I witnessed my granddaughter's untimely birth. After that, there were the many subsequent visits to the neonatal ICU. Oh, the walls of hospitals hold such fear and grief. As a young naive nurse I sobered quickly to the reality of this world when I was drenched in the suffering of people.
Three years ago I made this drive in the dusky dawn, anxious about the high intensity CT scan prescribed to help the doctors figure out why I'd had a fever every day for seven weeks. That morning as I lay beneath a monstrous machine clanging and banging as it took pictures of my lungs, a peace descended on me. God was with me, holding me through that dark time, assuring me this was just part of my journey. That time I escaped unscathed, but illness will surely come again as this old body wears out. Still, I know I can trust the one who knows the number of my days on earth.
Yesterday in church our music director and his brother gave us a beautiful gift of worship. With trumpets, the organ, and piano, they ushered in the Spirit of God. It was one of those moments when I considered the possibility that the roof of the church might just open up and we would all soar away. (No, I'm not talking rapture. Just a moment when the things of earth recede into the farthest corners of your mind and your total focus is on our glorious, majestic, eternal God.) I joined my voice with millions before me, millions to come, and millions that right then were praising my God, our God. I felt small, but not diminished, rather fuller and richer and more whole.
"Since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders us...let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith..." Hebrews 21:1, 2. Come what may, I will not fear. Our God is with us.
So I had my test, as countless other women before me. The nurse gave me parting gifts of a calendar, a packet of forget-me-not seeds, and a dinner mint wrapped in pink. I went in to dress, dropping my little lead BB shields into the trash on top of many others. Noticing the pile of candy wrappers, I opened my mint and added my pink paper to the rest.