I'm pretty miffed right now. This is an automatic red flag on "when not to write." However, I am choosing to go against that sane voice in my head and write anyway.
First, a tangent: as I sat down to write, I realized why I have put my blog aside for at least a year. My kitchen is messy again, I have laundry in the tubs, washer, and dryer, notes to write, things to read, phone calls to return, e-mails to send...and on top of all that my precious almost two-year-old has discovered how to get out of his crib and has done it twice already (going into Braden's room and waking him up in the process before I could get to him) during this nap time (oh, did I mention with poopy diapers both times?!?). As I look at the clock, I see I now have less than 30 minutes before the boys will be allowed to get up and after that there's pick up a sweet youth group girl from St. Mark for dinner, dinner, worship team, take sweet youth group girl home, VBS, bedtime routine, and grocery shopping (at least that second list is tag-teamed with my wonderful husband). Soooooo, this is why I don't write....
Now, onto the reason why I prioritized this blog entry: I CANNOT FIGURE LIFE OUT!!!! Has anyone arrived yet? If so, please write to me asap and let me know the secrets I have yet to be blessed with. Take our most recent week:
We got the heart-sickening phone call from Anne, Ashli's sister, on Tuesday night saying we should get over there tonight if we want to say good-bye to Ashli. Of course, I do not need to say how devastating this news was. Karl and I had been there Sunday night, and while she didn't seem good at all, we were both hoping it was just a bad day. The realization that our wishful thinking was wrong hurt badly. After explaining as best I could in pre-school language that it looked as if the miracle we had all been praying for for over a year wasn't being answered like we wanted, I called my neighbor. Let me tell you about her: she is a thirty-something who moved to our neighborhood from Ohio last September along with her beautiful Golden Lab (if you know me at all, you know that for me to call a dog beautiful should not be taken lightly) and her number one man of ten years. They have no children and don't plan to. However, they have become the neighborhood "favorites." Now, I must mention that one of the main reasons for this is her pantry. Amy has the best snacks of anyone which she freely shares with all three of my rugrats (and anyone else that meanders her way) even though they basically ask every single day. Apart from this, though, people love Amy and Terry because they're so lovable. They're kind, friendly, make you feel valuable, drop everything to spend time with you...you get the point. Well, this is who I called the night we found out about Ashli. Of all nights, it was Encounter at church (Karl's service), so he would not able to be available much AND Mom and Dad were headed to Ohio for the evening. Now mind you, Amy and I have only gotten to know each other better this spring and, now, summer. Yet, she came over in five minutes flat and took charge. With a hug and instructions not to worry, "Be gone as long as you need!" I was on my way around 4 p.m. Six hours later, I knocked on their door and found all three boys sleeping peacefully. When trying to take them home, Terry INSISTED the older two stay until morning...and that THEY would be the toothfairy for Braden's newly pulled tooth.
After Ashli passed away on Wednesday night, I got a message from Amy once again offering anything she could do to help...and I knew she meant it. Finally, when we got home Sunday night, Terry and Amy were just finishing doing a once-over on our lawn--mowed, trimmed, watered flowers...you name it. Who are these people?
Contrast this behavior with another prominent person in our family's lives. Now, I will not name this individual, but let's just say there's a BIG difference in our interactions with him/her and our neighbors. The conundrum comes in the fact that this person is a Christian. And not just any Christian, a "well-known" Christian--well-known in the sense that anyone who knew or knew of this person would know his/her faith was a part of his/her life. And he/she is the one that regularly causes our family grief because of his/her explosive, unpredictable personality. Now, to be honest, I wouldn't be at all surprised if Amy and/or Terry had a deep faith. We've just never talked about it before in any really personal terms. I really need to do that because their lives, in so many ways, seem to exemplify Christ. This other person, though, who is supposed to be such an example, seems to shine much less brightly (and often not at all!) Now, I'm not saying he/she doesn't have any "fruit" in his/her life, but it's so hard to focus on this when the negative behavior seems so much more blaring.
Do you see what I'm struggling with? The Bible talks about how people will know we're Christians by our love. That our lives should look different...in a positive sense. I take this to mean we should be more kind, more compassionate, more determined to help those in need and seek after justice. And yet this is not what I see in my every day life. This is what I long for in my own life--to be a person like my neighbors. To be a person like Jesus.