What a day. 9/11 is a day Americans will never forget, but it's also a day we don't particularly want to remember. Nobody wants to call upon sad or bad memories, painful times, days of trouble and scarring just for the sake of remembering Pain. But for some, a bad memory or sad memory is still a way to link with someone you loved; its still a way to stay in touch with someone you lost.
Last night we were able to do some kind of video-cam thing on the computer where we could see our son and talk to him at the same time. The reception was a bit choppy and we sometimes missed each other's words, but the gist of our conversation was there. My son looked well and there was nothing like looking into those dark eyes of his and seeing life. He is loving what he is learning and I have to say- so am I.
I am learning that sometimes we go through a long rough period in the trenches where we are fighting a battle of some kind, and then when God takes you out of the trenches and gives you a leave of duty from the battle, you find yourself feeling a bit out of sorts. You think you were trained only for war (and Scripture does tell us that He trains our hands for war), and you forget that He also trains you to be quiet and at rest, and maybe I would add - a bit bored. Not that I always loved putting out fires, but I never realized how active, full-time mothering of a teenage boy was so exhausting. Exhausting and never boring.
It's not that my daughter is a complete walk in the park, but she is more compatible with my temperament, and we don't clash much. Being with her I find myself laughing a lot, chuckling over her funny sayings and her honest assessment of things. I don't have to threaten her that her savings will have to buy hair coloring for me because she is not turning me gray. But that-kid-who-turned-me-gray is my son, my first born, and I am aware that he took a big turn down a road leading away from me. And now I don't care that he made my hair go gray. I only care that he is well, that he is safe and sound.
I only care about a couple things right now, in my life. I cared about a lot more, a whole lot more, a year ago. But right now what matters to me is that my daughter has a happy year learning what an 8th grader should learn, that our dog recovers from his anxiety over missing Alex and wondering why that boy is not where he should be- which my dog considers is here, with us, in that messy room of his that is now so quiet and still.
I only care that the few things I have put my hand to are done with simple obedience, no drama, and no fanfare. Now I am getting close to understanding what that passage was about when the household servant was to have this attitude: "The servant should not get any special thanks for doing his job. He is only doing what his master told him to do. It is the same with you. When you do all the things you are told to do, you should say, 'We are not worthy of any special thanks. We have only done the work we should do" (Luke 17).
It's not a false humility. It's simply a realization that you are called to do certain things. They are laid out for you. There is a simple obedience required- and it is good for you to have things simplified down to the Necessary, the Good, the Essential. Too often we get caught up with the fluff and the frills and the failures of trying to produce these things. I've had enough failures to know that many of them happened because I was caught up in trying to produce something significant out of the banal, the trite, the stupid, if I really get honest with myself.
So God is freeing me up, in a way, by winnowing me down. It's the brass tacks of Obedience 101. God knows what He is doing, He has a way for us to take, and when we come forth we will be shining as gold, even if we don't see how we shine.