Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Food for the Soul

Something was bothering me yesterday. I think a lot of it has to do with working on the launching pad of a rocket. You didn't know I was launching a rocket into outer space? Well, neither did I- until a couple years ago. That's when I found out that helping a teenager find their place in the world (perhaps beginning with leaving home and getting to the college of their choice) feels like you are launching a rocket.

Some days I do not like this kind of work. I'm fed up, some days, with encouraging and prodding and staying silent so I don't frustrate a teen who already knows so much (supposedly). Some days I want to shout out all I have done to help this teen, and somehow get this teen to see what I've done so he gives me just a little credit. Just a crumb. Just a morsel of motherhood commendation. Some days I'll just take a smile of gratitude- and occasionally I get that. Such bliss.

And then some days all I want is to eat dinner by myself, with a good book in hand, and forget the drama and hard work of rocket launching. So that's what I did last night. I made dinner for the family: lemon garlic chicken, cheddar-broccoli rice, and mixed vegetables. I had Abby set the table and then called everyone to the table. But then, after grace, I went downstairs, retrieved the bed tray, brought it to my room and set it up. I took my dinner plate and a glass of water to my room, as I called out "Enjoy your meal." They did not even try to stop me. They knew better than to deprive mom of a few moments of peace. And if I decided to not eat with the family (which happens maybe twice a year or so), then the signal was clear: Mom needs to be alone. They happily ate their meal while I was in a mini, temporary paradise of peace and quiet.

I wasn't alone, though. (No, I didn't even let Harry come in and sup with me, though he scratched on the bedroom door for the hour I was in there). I felt God's comforting presence, and I listened to the words of a friend, the author of The Journey of Desire.

The peace and quiet changed to the sounds of a revival taking place. I am not a quiet reader. I fully involve myself with what I am reading. "Yes!" I'll shout when the author states something that I have found to be true. "Sooo true," I'll say, shaking my head in agreement. "Oh, this is so good!" I'll say when I reach the end of a chapter. This is what I was doing when I got to chapter ten and eleven; that- and underlining all over the place.

For an hour I had revelation, epiphanies, solace for my soul, and encouragement for my weary spirit. I had an experience. It was more than just head knowledge. There were breakthroughs: revelations of where I had struggled with the same thing the author was talking about, where I "saw" myself and "saw" what the struggle was. I had moments of wonder and gratitude that God saw to it that I found this book to read. I smiled and laughed and cried- all because I had sequestered myself away for a moment so that I would not break into yelling, or worse, break down and quietly give up.

There is such a difference between giving up and surrendering. There's a difference between boldness of request and arrogance. There's a difference between asking God to grant you the desire of your heart and asking God to take away the pain of something by allowing you to be temporarily intrigued with something that you think is a "desire" of your heart.

There's a difference between rejecting the company of your beloved family, and deciding to remove yourself from their presence so that you might come back to them recharged, refreshed, and...ready to go onward with them.

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