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Tear it all down...

I'll go ahead and admit it.

I'm not a country girl.

I grew up on the corner in a smallish city.  My husband was dumbfounded when, after telling me of how, in the summer, he would burn up in the non-air conditioned home he grew up in, that I have never, ever, ever lived in a house without air conditioning.

I mean, why would I?  I was born in 1980,... not 1880.

So, imagine my surprise (and his concern) when we moved to the country at the start of June and just a few weeks later a horrendous storm swept through, all fast and furious.  It shoved our grill across the concrete patio and Aaron shoved me and the boys into our newly painted, "Regatta" blue half bath; the one with no windows.  I grabbed a sippy cup and a bowl of Teddy Grahams and held my babies really close and prayed the house would hold.  We ended up with 90 mph straight winds and were grateful that the only damage to our new home was a wayward gutter.  And of course the grill that tried to find a new home.

Even though we had no collateral damage, we were left without power.  And no water.  Growing up in the city, even if we lost power, we still had water.  You could shower by candlelight.  You could drink all the water you wanted.  You could take an obscene amount of bubble baths while you waited for the lights to burn bright, again.

Not so, here.

Here we have to haul water in to fill the toilet tanks so we can flush them.  Here we have to power up to a generator to save what's stored in our fridge and to charge our cell phones and our laptops.  Being the mother of an eight week old baby at the time who loves to eat and who eats formula poses a bit of a stressor.  He likes his bottles warm, not cold.  But cool water was all I had to offer him and he was nota happy camper. I could hear the chilled liquid hit the insides of his little tummy and he'd jerk back and look at me, shocked that I would treat him this way and I wanted to bawl my ever-loving eyes out.  We ended up hooking my Keurig up to the generator so I could get hot water and warm up his frigid bottles.  He was happier (and I was way less stressed out) whenever we were able to do this.

We went early Friday afternoon until late Sunday afternoon with no power, no water, and no air conditioning.  I watched with dread as the heat in our house climbed from it's previously cool and holding 74 degrees to 77 and then beyond.  I told Aaron on Sunday morning that if things didn't change, we were packing our bags and headed to the salvation of my best friend's house two hours away.  I needed to do laundry. I needed to shower on a regular basis (a baby wipe "shower" does not count as a real shower, just so you know).  And my baby boy needed warm water, gosh darn it.

We have, thankfully (so thankfully!) moved to the area my husband grew up in.  And even though his parents (who are six minutes down the road) were also in the same boat as we were, they have amazing friends who do life with them and love on us every chance they get.  We were ushered into an air conditioned home that wasn't our own.  We were given clean towels and took turns in that blessed shower.  My baby was held so lovingly that he didn't make a peep the entire time.  My toddler played and explored and got his first taste of Vanilla Wafers (of which he is now addicted).

And as we left, I felt so ashamed.  Super grateful, but super ashamed.  I am an introvert by nature and no, this doesn't simply mean "Laura is shy".  It means that Laura needs a chance to process information.   It means Laura has to reconcile things in her mind before moving forward.  It means Laura likes knowing the plan and the steps before venturing out.  What happens when your power suddenly goes out and you are anxious about how to do your day-to-day living and providing for your baby's well being and someone says, "Oh just come here and shower."  For most people, that's an easy thing to do. No big deal.  For me, I was immediately stressed.  What do we do with the kids?  What will Joel play with?  How long will we be there?  Will it run into dinner time?  Should I pack hot dogs for Joel to eat and how many bottles should I take and would it be alright if I took eight dirty bottles to clean so I could stop simply rinsing them with distilled water and worrying that I was slowly poisoning my cute little baby man?!

My brain probably makes you tired.  It makes me tired.

But I felt ashamed because I was so stressed and unhappy that I very nearly missed how wonderfully God can and does provide.  I nearly missed joy.  But I walked away with clean hair and clean bottles and we got pizza and Starbucks and I wanted to weep with gratitude and weep with shame.  Why do I ever think I have to handle things on my own?  Why do I forget that God is bigger than everything?

That Sunday was an outdoor service at our new church.  It's the church my husband grew up in and so he knows tons of people.  I have been welcomed with open arms since the first Sunday I visited, which was the weekend I first met Aaron's parents, nearly five years ago.  And now it's our home church.  And my eyes burned with thankful tears as I watched my father in-law and others break ground for the new addition.  A new beginning that we get to be a part of.  I choked on sobs during, "How Great Thou Art", standing next to my mother in-law who was tearing up and my husband who seemed to be sniffing himself and who was about to be baptized.

And when we sang Chris Tomlin's, "White Flag" and waved literal white flags, my two year old grinning and waving boldly, my throat burned.  Could I lay down all I was carrying, all the perfect I was trying to be, all the things I was trying to maintain, all the balls I was trying to juggle and not drop.  Could I lay it all down?  Surrender?  Could I grasp joy, hold hands with praise and release expectations to the unknown and open my hands and my heart to whatever comes?  Could I show my boys, as young as they are, an attitude of peace and joy in the midst of things not being exactly as I like best?

I like my routines.  I like what's familiar.  My Mom once said to never, ever promise me anything because I will remember... and I will be crushed if you forget.  If my parents said, "Hey, we'll get ice cream on Sunday after church!"  I would remember.  And I would question if our car didn't go in the direction of Dairy Queen.  And these things aren't necessarily bad... there is a benefit to being organized and a lover of lists and my family benefits from my desire to be orderly.  But there is a time for our personalities to shine and a time for us to lay down whatever we think works and just say yes to helping and yes to accepting a gift and yes to turning the bed down for someone else.

I want to be a flexible, go-with-the-flow kind of person.  I am naturally not this way, but I am trying.

When Aaron headed over to his Mom and Dad's to return their generator after our power kicked back on and he said he was going to start things up for them in case their power hadn't returned.  I smiled and said, "That's what country-folk do, right? We help each other!"  He grinned back at me.  I think he was relieved to see there might be help for his citified wife after all.

And when he called me, asking if he could invite his parents here, of course I didn't hesitate.  Their house was a balmy 80 degrees and I immediately grabbed sheets and tossed them in the dryer to fluff and freshen.  I lit candles.  I thought about what I could make for breakfast.  I tossed out any plans or expectations I may have had for the evening or for the morning, opening my arms wide to need, opening my heart up to love.  I can't receive and I can't give if I don't give and if I don't receive.

Pretty sure this is just one of the many lessons to learn out here in our new great wide open space...


"The storm is not a thing to fear
but rather to welcome.  
As soon as you have  made 
the discovery  that in the time 
of stress and strain you 
have the clearest revelations of Myself, 
you will learn to head into 
the wind with sheer delight."
~  F r a n c e s   R o b e r t s,  ' C o m e    A w a y ,   M y   B e l o v e d  '


Comments

  1. Laura's brain is like my brain! Tiring, indeed. Your wise words always challange me to move beyond my comfort zone : )
    -jodi

    ReplyDelete
  2. So glad there is someone else out there in the world like me! Jodi, come to Indiana so we can hang out! xoxo

    ReplyDelete

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