So, we have chickens.
Today, as I was raking out the rank, toot infested straw from their coop I wondered, “Will you EVER produce an egg?” Am I just going to keep feeding you, watering you, and providing protection from the bears only to have you can drop more excrement on the driveway and in the kids’ sand pit all the while not giving even a morsel back to the family save the glimpses of entertainment you provide when the littles chase you?
Hey, this sounds eerily familiar…oh, right…PARENTING!
In those tired times when the coffee cup has been drained by a child who is now jumping on the furniture, the chocolate stash is gone and my quiet time was interrupted by an early riser, I wonder, “will you kids ever function on your own?!” Will I continually change your diapers, wash your clothes, teach you to read, be your taxi cab, scrub your bodies only to have you ask me what you can eat because you are hungry AGAIN?
I’m just sayin….will you ever give back?
Recently, I read a book entitled From Foreign to Familiar by Sarah A. Lanier. In it, the author describes the differences between cold climate folks and warm. Warm climate people are relationship oriented. People trump appointments. In cold climates humans are task oriented.
I have lived where negative temperatures merely dictate the thickness of my clothing before going out my whole life. Agenda, production, these are my middle names. Much to my chagrin, I have sat with many a person listening to them pontificate all the while wondering when said person would get to the point so I could solve the issue and move on to the next item on my to-do list.
This might be one of the reasons God gave me kids, because rarely is there a point to a conversation with a child under six. Seldom is my list shortened by offspring. I am not heartless, I just prefer instant gratification!
Exhibit A: This morning I awaken later than usual cutting mommy quiet time short by energetic kids seeking nourishment. I quickly dress and ask my mate if I can take a walk before he begins his day. Mentally, I am calculating the calories I can burn while I pray through my prayer cards.
Then, the ask.
“Mom, can I come?”
Hesitatingly, I reply in the affirmative. It was child #2, the one who contentedly plays and draws on her own for hours while the other three zap all of my senses. She deserves it. I warn her that I intend to walk fast. She assures me she will run and skip. She does well until we reach the top.
At the summit, I look down on our cabin which pails in size to the rustling nature surrounding it. The opposite direction affords me a view of the majestic Beartooth Mountains still cuddling a crocheted blanket of snow on their peaks. It is always a great perspective changer when I walk up here to look at how small my life is in comparison to God’s vast, pulsing Creation.
“Mom, now can I pick flowers?”
I know what this means. Our pace slows to a crawl. This child has a keen eye. She finds beauty in everything, making arrangements out of flowers (weeds), grass, rocks and sticks.
Undeniably, I know this is a good thing.
Stop thinking, planning, producing. Rather, enjoy the beauty surrounding me, cherish this sweet time with my daughter. I do well…shutting my eyes, breathing deep, then observing my child find worth in the smallest of life…for about eight minutes.
As I speed her creative process by asking her to look while we walk, I am satisfied as we are producing once more. Then she finds a trail. At this point, I realize my plan is forfeit. I lay down my agenda and intentionally enter in to my six year old’s world.
As I tune in, I hear her singing almost in a whisper while concocting an ornate arrangement. As I listen to her song, it warms my soul. She is singing straight truth from the Bible. She is thanking God for the rock she just found, thanking Him for loving her.
She quiets me, her song soothes me.
Hey, #2 IS producing!
Maybe not in the way that is directly useful to my to-do list, but she is creating WORTH. She has yet to wash her own hair, but she is praising our Father in Heaven for everything He has made and for taking care of her. She is implementing a key element to a quality filled life-THANKSGIVING.
Psalm 127 rushes through me and I am convicted. It breathes…
“Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to retire late, to eat the bread of painful labors; for He gives to His beloved even in his sleep. Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them, they will not be ashamed when they speak with their enemies in the gate.”
Many of my agendas are vain labors. Assuredly, Father God is giving truths to my passionate, creative, right brained child, in her sleep. These children are indeed a gift, an educational gift at that.
This Psalm speaks to me of quality, not quantity; depth of relationship with God and family, not color coded calendars.
Maybe production comes in the seemingly unproductive moments.
I have yet to see the end of this journey.
But today, I am thankful for the gentle nudge by my Father through my daughter to look at production differently.
Now, on to brew another pot of coffee to generate the energy needed to “enter in” once more.