Monday, April 27, 2009

Spring Snow II

Icky migraine has left me with a kind of bruised feeling in my head and nausea in my stomache, and I was awakened to a half cough, gagging and yet liquid sound that wakes me up as quickly as a baby's cry. Bear got sick this morning. It may have been a seizure, although the kind of sickness he had typically only occurs with the worst kind of seizure which I usually would hear when he goes into the thrashing about/shaking stage. The moment I woke I quickly walked him outside to continue retching out there.

As I was cleaning up the "gifts" he gave me, I kept thinking to myself, this is what love does. Somehow I did not really understand that when you were kids. I felt guilty that I would do the right thing but not always feel the way I thought I should feel. One of you kids would be sick and puking and I would clean it up with a sigh, trying to hold back the contents of my own stomach. I felt so guilty that at that moment I wasn't filled with tenderness for my sick child, but instead was wishing I was doing anything other than cleaning up vomit.

I have learned that love isn't just the words we say, it is action that we do. Yes, there is a lot of duty in love. There is! I sometimes am awash in guilt over the things I didn't do or say or feel when you guys wee growing up, but I was always trying to do right by you. I often failed miserably, but I wanted you to have a different life than I had. I wanted you to know, really know that you were adored. What I didn't realize is how much I needed help to escape my own demons.

I was tortured by thoughts of my own unworthiness, the shame I felt simply for being me and defeated before I even got out of bed, dragging around the mistakes and sins of my past. I was taught about grace, but not shown it, and never taught how to live in the freedom that comes from knowing that my sins, past present and future have already been paid for by the God who loves me and who paid the debt himself so that he could have a relationship with him. I grew up with faith as a byproduct of fire insurance. I believed, but I had a strong fear of going to hell if I didn't. I was unaware of the richness of the love the Jesus has for me. We talked about it, but my experience was so at odds with that teaching that it became empty words.

How sorroful God must have been to see me stumble along being lied to by the evil one and by those around me. I heard the message which wasn't spoken, but the unspoken message was louder in my ears than the spoken one. That you must suffer sufficiently for the sin you committed, and that you must never appear weak or need help. Even as an adult, help was denied when asked for. That isn't love!!!!! That isn't what is taught in scripture.

Over the past few years I have come to know freedom and joy in a way I have never known in the past. That joy has not come in the midst of ease and luxury, but in great difficulty, tremenous trials, sorrow, loss and misery. I have been shown such grace and mercy and been allowed the great luxury of seeing a small glimpse of the love that God has for me. I cannot describe the joy. I cannot describe my wonder. I have always known that God deserved our worship and I believe I worshipped in truth, but I am beginning to worship with my mind, my spirit and now with my heart. I will be driwing along singing a song of worship and want to lift my hands in adoration of the one who made me and gave himself for me. I want to throw myself on the floor in wonder at his majesty (I don't for fear I would not be able to get back up.) My insides are dancing in a body that cannot move in the way my spirit can.

Holy, Holy, Holy is the LORD God Almighty, who was, who is, who is to come. He is gentle and terrible, merciful and just, loving and true.

The snow falling outside my window this morning reminds me of his gentleness, and cleaning up after Bear this morning reminds me that his love involves not just heart but action. He is the gentle whispers, but he is also the God who cleans up after me, who takes my wretchedness and my mistakes, my sins and my failures and wipes them away, and with the fragrance of himself, clears the room of all my stink. His love involves not just heart, but action. His is the love that does. See I don't and you don't need love that is simply warm gushy adoration of yourself, but who turns away when you need help, unable to stand up for you when someone hurts you, or who will not love you enough to make you do what you should do for your own good, or who will not allow you to suffer momentary hurt for your own betterment. We need a love that will make the sacrifices, who will clean up the messes and who will clear our own stink.

Please understand how very much I love you. If you need me, I am hear. I long for relationship with you. I long to know your heart. I love to hear you laugh. Each of you has a laugh that gets my heart. Each of you has qualities that I love. Even in the womb your uniqueness showed. Kristen was the most gentle of the babies I carried. She came right on time, but with a little drama. The first time I heard your heartbeat, my daughter, I was in love and filled with wonder. I had a fierce protectiveness toward you and great anxiety that harm might come to you. I still concern myself with harm that might come to you. Craig was the wild child before he was even born he was fighting me. He was so active it felt like I had a soccer team or a boxer in me. I was already exhausted by the time you were born, my son. Do you know you tried to stand up on the delivery table? The doctor was astonished, but I just said, I told you so. Alex was not as wildly active as Craig, but he took his own sweet time. You were born three weeks late. You weren't in any rush, and I don't think you've been in a rush at any time since. You were just such a happy baby, content wherever you were. Grandma Bents use to call you 'Smiley', cause you smiled all the time. "Look at that Ipana smile," she always said.

Grandma Bentz loved you guys so much, and it was to Grandma Bentz I would take you when you guys were little. I knew so little about babies. I didn't know about how to take care of fevers or rashes. I didn't know what I was looking at when you guys got the German Measles. I had never been around little children before I had you, and there we were in the middle of nowhere. There were no MOPS, no play dates, no coffee klatches where I could find out from other young mothers what to do with your kids.

I had never been read to sleep, but I did read with you. I wanted you to know the joy of reading. We made up stories togehter, do you remember that? Do you remember us playing "Buzz"? I often wish I had written down or recorded some of the stories we created together. Some of them were quite good, you know?

Somewhere, in a land far, far away, across oceans and mountain ranges, deserts and wide rivers, there lived a giant. Not just any giant, Chester was a giant among giants, taller, stronger, faster and braver than any of the giants in his part of the world. But Chester was bored. He had bested all the other giants in wrestling, in swordplay, in archery and in foot races, and had wrestled polar bears, great gorillas brought in from far away lands and once had even defeated a woolly mammoth. The great dinosaurs had all left for far off lands, in one great and strangely majestic migration that left them all mistified. The world had changed, and Chester wanted to change with it. Buzz. Who will take up the tale? Or who will make one of their own?

Love you guys! Hey, I hope there are no misspellings. I don't have my glasses one and can't read the screen, so I'm practicing my touch typing. Hope that has gone well. LOI


WOG said...

Though Chester's abilities won him the awe and respect of his fellow giants, the felt so alone. There were no other giants in his part of the world who he could talk to. All the other giants seemed content to go right back the the way things were, before the migration. Chester could not be content with archery and wrestling. He felt a need to start asking questions.

Giants don't like to talk. Mostly because they are easily offended, so most of giant language is communicated in a series of grunts and uncomfortable looking facial twitches. They found that the less was actually said, the less likely they were to find offence. In spite of this, giants still fought and were rude and mostly very very unhappy. The other giants did not hide their distaste for Chesters sudden interest in talking, but did not bother to fight him, he'd already bested them in all their games.

But Chester was still lonely. "There has to be someone or thing out there even if I have to go far, far away, across oceans and mountain ranges, deserts and wide rivers, someone has to felt the things that I felt because this change burns in me and I have to know more." And so, without even a farewell grunt, Chester left, bringing nothing but the skins on his back. As he walked away his face felt funny and his steps were light, he was smiling.


I love you, Mom!


Kim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kim said...

There were moments when Chester thought with dismay of the fire-starter he had left behind. Nights were sometimes cold and dark, and without his fellow giants he was lonesome for even the sound of their snoring, for giants have the most prodigious snoring capability.

He even found himself missing the smell of unwashed giant, something he never thought was even possible. But each day there was a new challenge to face, a new river to cross, a mountain to climb, food to locate or a wild animal to best, not that many wild animals want to mess with a giant, but those were different times, with different animals.

One day, as afternoon slipped into night and the sun slipped behind yet another unfamiliar mountain, Chester found himself smiling. The stars were blinking on in the heavens as the daylight left, and soon the sky was covered in the tiny lights from far off galaxies.

He recognized shapes in the heavens, and watched as Mother in Chair rose low in the horizon and rode across the skies. Eagle Carrying Thunderbolts flamed from mid-sky and slowly moved to the edge of the horizon behind him and slipped below the edge of the world behind.

He lay on his back, watching the skies and realized that even after days and weeks of walking, that the skies were the same as the home he had left behind. For some reason he felt strangely comforted and less lonely knowing that Boris the Bear and Hagar the Hairy could look up and see the same stars.

High above the valley floors below him, with their deep ravines and wide meadows, Chester found it easier to track the great migration. In the weeks and months since the great beasts had left, rains had washed much of their foot prints away, but from the heights he could spot the broken trees, the missing branches and the wide paths they had created in their dash toward--what?

"Where are you going?" He asked aloud. Already he had begun to see things he had never seen before. Some of the flowers here were different than any he had seen before. The trees had fewer broad leaves and more skinny pokey ones. The smell was different, too, less rich and earthy, but thin and clean smelling. The air had grown colder and as he climbed the heights his breath was a little faster.

He thought over these things as he lay beneath the night sky.

All night he lay there, until Mother in Chair followed Eagle Carrying Thunderbolts behind the horizon. "Goodnight Mother," he called out as the last of her disappeared. The skies were beginning to lighten and he knew that the sun would soon appear.

This was the coldest night yet and Chester decided that he would soon have to leave the heights for warmer country, or come up with some way to keep himself warm.

Shivering, Chester awaited the dawn.