Friday, December 24, 2010

not ready

Moxie is a Jack Russel Terrier puppy who's breathed the free air of this world for approximately three months now. For just so long, she's also been a resident of the Erwin home, and will probably continue to be so for as long as she continues to successfully breathe said air.

Moxie barrels in from the snowy wilderness and scampers through the kitchen, coming to a halt in front of the baby gate that bars her progress into the living room. Usually it's closed. If it's open, she trots through, and then someone grabs her, puts her back where she belongs, and secures the neglected gate.

Moxie stands bewildered, wagging her tail a little and whining, gazing into the forbidden room, sticking her nose through the bars. The kitchen tile is cold and hard. The family is in the living room, and there's carpet and a fireplace. Why does she have to stay out here alone? She doesn't get it.

I am a girl twenty-one years old, and for just so long a resident of the previously mentioned home for Erwins. I breathe the free air with relish or contempt, depending on the day, my circumstances, and my current level of sleep-deprivedness. I ride the waves with the unsteady hand of one trying inconsistently to learn consistency on a choppy and uninviting sea. I fall in a lot.

I am not married, but most of my friends seem to be. Sometimes content, sometimes disconsolate I peer through and wonder a little, why I'm here and where I'm headed. Why are you not out there, waiting for me? I sometimes ask the void. But then I think, you know, that's a silly question. Maybe he is, after all, how would I know? And maybe he doesn't even exist, and then how could he be waiting for anything, let alone for me?

I am a liver of a quiet life. (This does not mean that someone killed a quiet life out in the forest, and cut out its liver, and there I was. If you can't figure out what it does mean, I'm just very sorry, and that's all I have to say about it.) Anyway, I live a quiet life. Blessings shower down on me in mind-blowing abundance, and opportunities of unforeseen vibrancy have littered my path. And I'm stunned when I think of it, and thankful. Still, there are things I want to do - big things, lifelong things, things that aren't just for me - but the baby gate is fastened shut.

I don't get it. It's cold out here, and sometimes it's lonely, and sometimes it's dull. I can hear the laughter on the other side, and the crackle of a warm, happy fire. There are good things happening over there, and I want to join in. Why won't He open the gate?

But Moxie isn't ready. And maybe, I think, neither am I. Perhaps by so feverishly desiring all the goodness that's to be had right now, I desire what would really not be good at all for me or for the rest of the world. It could be that, like our precocious but incontinent puppy, I have to first master simple skills - like refraining from peeing on the floor - before I'm ready to move on to further depths of service and fellowship. Maybe the living room isn't even what I think it is. Maybe if I went in I would find joy indeed, but of a character entirely unlike my expectation. Who can say?

In either case, the great question is, Why does it matter? Wondering endlessly about the future won't bring it here any sooner, and it will only rob today of its gladness and use. He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much, we're told in Luke 16 - but the least has to come first, and it may be that the much won't look like what we expected. 

For now, I will live on this side of the fence and wait with inconsistent contentment. I will learn to be happy where I am, and to appreciate the goodness of other lives without wishing they were mine. I will learn to sit and to stay and to pee outside and to come when I'm called. Maybe I'll learn to sniff out drugs, and since I'm just a puppy I won't even know that this is more useful than rolling over and playing dead. I'll learn to obey, and that's the thing. 

One day I know my loving Master will open that mysterious gate and welcome me through, because I don't believe He would have shown me a better room if I were intended to stay in this one forever. On the other side what will I find? You know, it doesn't matter, because He's already promised it will be good, and He can't lie. He is Good.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

lovable tuesday #1

A lot of people dread Mondays. I don't mind them, actually - after a (usually) restful Lord's day, most Monday mornings find me about as fresh and not-yet-overwhelmed as I ever am. Starting a new week isn't so bad, is it? It's empty and exciting and hopeful - with what shall we fill it?

It's Tuesdays that get to me.

They're just so busy. Today, for example, went like this: Wake up (late, I admit); Skip shower (no time); Breakfast in the car (bread and bananas) after leaving at 8:30 for music lessons (1 hr there, (3) 1 hr lessons for the sibs and me); Wal-Mart run while we're in town (grab something cheap for lunch, and 50 lbs of apples for $0.30/lb - yayeah); Pick up three largeish boxes of meat from the locker on the way home (~30 minutes out of our way); Frantically unload car upon arriving home (don't bother removing coat or shoes); Drive younger brother to work (~30 minute round trip); Stop home to switch vehicles (1.5 minutes); Drive to town to play with Landon (hour and a halfish); Teach two piano lessons a couple blocks away (supposed to be an hour, always goes over); Run to Casey's and fill up the dangerously low tank on the Vue (grab supper inside - dessert pizza, Pringles, Arizona "tea" - convenience stores = bad); Drive to the grain elevator and eat a leisurely half-hour supper before commencing to spend 3 hours cleaning the offices (keep the music loud and forget about being kidnapped); Finish Pringles in the car, and arrive home at 11:00 p.m. Except for the detour to the meat locker, the cheap apples, and sometimes taking Keegan to work, that's pretty normal.

The point is - I was thinking the other day about some of the million kajillion things I love about this world and my life and my God, and how as long as I'm blogging anyway I should really make a habit of expounding on these innumerable blessings. And I chose Tuesday to try and kick-start this habit, because that's when I need to focus on what's good in life, instead of on how long it's been since I saw the inside of my house or took off my shoes. We'll see how many Tuesdays in a row I can keep this up. (My list is long enough to last the rest of my life; consistency in thinking and writing will be the challenge.)

So, today I love ...

... cold weather.

Is this true? In a weird way, it is.

I hate being cold. Some of the other things I plan on writing about in the near future are sweaters, blankets, boots, scarves, hot tea, soup, lattes, and fireplaces. Cold is isolating, hopeless, alone. Warmth is home.

But that's why I love the cold. I don't typically feel a lot of charity toward it when it's invading my immediate environment, but I love that it exists. Because there's just nothing like going out (for whatever useful or frivolous reason), getting thoroughly chilled, and then coming back in to get warm. Pink cheeks, cold and a little hard to the touch, softening and drinking in the heat; stiff fingers coming to life; the tension of survival easing into a warm, happy coma. Pull it into your heart and cherish it - did you understand before how good it was just to be warm?

It's the same reason I'm thankful for dirty jobs and the showers that follow; for aches, pains, and illnesses, and the new-found appreciation afterward for good health; for long periods of crazy-busyness so I can see the beauty of a quiet, normal life; for arduous journeys to come home from; for pain and then comfort; even - and especially - for death leading to life.

That got deep in a hurry.

Unfortunately, it's also gotten late in a hurry, and I must flee. It seems to be Wednesday now, thus indicating a failure on my part to even get out of the gate with this "habit" without falling behind. Man ... I'm going to have to get better at this.