You know those days?
The ones where you go to bed anticipating all you will accomplish, how awesome you will feel, how little you will rely on caffeine, how you'll wake up early and care for your spirit and have a shower and joyfully make a roast beef sandwich for your husband's lunch. You anticipate the productivity. The blessing of another not-yet-promised day.
And then it rushes in too early, when it's still dark, by the demands of a toddler who doesn't see the need to sleep until the sun is ready to bloom. You wake with your to-do list nearly in your hands and a headache already ricocheting through what feels like your entire body even though it's isolated, you know, in your skull.
It's one of those days where I felt the tiny beginnings of a stranglehold of despair. That feeling where you know that today you're going to have to fight if you want to keep grasp of your joy. Those moments when you know it's all going to end up in a dark pit if you don't grasp for straws, grasp for something to give thanks for. Those days that feel like bad days before they even have a chance to prove themselves.
Sometimes we need to give the bad days a fighting chance.
I did the only thing I knew to do. I kissed my toddler and gave him his breakfast. I made my husband's lunch and shook his bottled water into a pink lemonade, because I know he'll like that. I blessed my Keurig as it bubbled hot chai into my most favorite of mugs. I punched the oven awake and cracked open a can of cinnamon rolls, knowing that they wouldn't be done until after the husband left for work, meaning I was making an entire can for myself. I didn't care. It was that kind of day. I needed to save it, redeem it. Make it special and sweet amidst the naked beds, their sheets already spinning clean long before 8 a.m.
As the cinnamon rolls baked and the little boy played and the husband left for work and the chai snaked down my throat, I felt it stirring. The edges of a smile. A wave of contentment rushing over me and making me realize that it's really not all bad and hard and just mindless routine. I added items to my to-do list, feeling ambitious and alive as joy began her happy dance. And then the oven dinged! Time for cinnamon goo and icing-coated goodness!
And the darn things were burnt. Toasty.
You. Have. Got. To. Be. Kidding. Me.
I may have mumbled a dismayed, "Seriously?!" as I slid the pan onto stove top. Maybe a healthy coat of icing on each would redeem their crusty skins. It helped somewhat and I ate it anyway. Gave thanks for it anyway. A kind of disgruntled thanks, but thanks still.
And then the unexpected... a little boy at my side, looking interested and enthralled by the interesting item on my plate. A little boy who is notoriously picky as he delves deeper into the "I'm a big kid!" stage. And I asked if he wanted a bite and he opened wide, his perfect white teeth smiling at me and his eyes bright at the possibility. At the chance for something new. Unexpected on a Tuesday morning.
He took a satisfied bite, ran off to watch more Mickey Mouse, only to return moments later, mouth open, a little bird begging for more of whatever is being offered. And I smiled and felt the proud love of a mother who adores every bit of her child... and maybe a little bit of a humbled smile as I felt the sincere attention and love of a God who sees. Who notes the trying. Who gets the headaches and the responsibility and the pieces that never fit quite right. As I fed bite after bite to Joel, I felt myself fill, too.
Funny. All is not lost as I had feared. All is really, really grace, just as I have come to believe even when I have days when it's tough to want to live it out. In all the spaces, in all the rooms of a day, in all the scratches of must-do's in a notebook, there is always space enough to find a thank-you. There's always time enough and opportunity enough to slow down and take control of the wild thoughts, to conquer the mental exhaustion, to not allow the tone of your day to be set in stone before the blessings are even given a chance to be seen.
My boy and I are still munching slow on an unexpected sticky treat. I think I may end up liking today just fine.
"And God blessed them...
And God saw everything that
He had made, and behold,
it was very good..."
~ G e n e s i s 1 : 2 8 a & 3 1