"What is a week end?" the (Downton Abbey) Dowager Countess quipped. Ah, the weekend! What would I do without the much needed time to rest, renew, and have some recreation?
Let's face it, the week is full of rush and hurry, and at my house, that means anxiety. There is the scramble to get to school, the busy-ness of managing medical issues day to day, the struggle of making dinner while helping with homework, the stretch to have (more) homework completed before bed time. We are, after all, gearing up for the STAAR test, so that means more stress and more work, and therefore less rest for our kiddos.
So this weekend, I determined, would be a time to rest and unwind. To set aside Think Through Math and I station, and all the other testing preparation assignments, and just have a day of fun. Saturday morning we moved purposely slow, and then about noon I dug out the swim gear, packed up snacks and towels (and medical supplies) and loaded the car with two very excited boys. We stopped to pick up a friend, and some good old fashioned silliness bounced around as I drove the mini-van to our local Natatorium (indoor swimming pool). The best deal in town, I have to say. Two bucks a head for hours of fun.
While the boys took turns at the diving board, I swam too. For the first time in a couple years I got in and really practiced my rusty backstroke. This wasn't a one eye on the kids kind of move (like I usually do). The lifeguard had eyes trained on the boys, and I felt like I could, for a few moments, really release and let someone else do the watching. So, I leaned back into the water and stretched out, for the first time in ages. It felt good. Really good. Next I tried a side stroke (peeking at the boys from time to time) and finally, what my childhood swimming teacher called 'The Frog'. (This was rather fun, as I giggled at myself, and how it must look.) It was an altogether refreshing release.
When the kids were ready for a snack, we chatted and simply enjoyed each other's company. No rushing, no struggling with facts and figures. Just time together, laughing, connecting. We were getting 'all wrinkly', so we decided it would be fun to get cleaned up and go to a movie. I was time conscious, but I did some emotional work in order to set the tone of not being rushed or stressed. I breathed in, and out, and did what needed to be done calmly. Everyone worked together and took turns, and we left five minutes early. The movie was great! I splurged on treats (again something we don't do often) and enjoyed cinematic goodness and great visual effects.
Though it was time to start winding down, a certain son of mine was not ready to let the fun end. I worked to stay calm and just talk through it with him (and breathe... and stay calm). Thankfully the other two were ensconced in the back seat, enjoying more silliness. I headed to drop off our friend, and discovered my wallet was missing.
You know that feeling in the pit of your stomach?t It began to grow and grow, as I thought through where my wallet could be. Your whole life is in that wallet, a voice inside murmured. The dread was no longer confined to the pit of my stomach. I was engulfed in sheer panic.
The other mom prayed and reassured me (as she always does), giving me a hug before I rushed off, back to the theater, dialing the front desk with shaking fingers. They could not find it. I called my husband, beside myself. "I don't know what to do! Should I go look myself? I should, shouldn't I? I'm at the light by the theater, I should just go in and look." He agreed.
After a few questions, the boys had became very quiet.They were worried, too. The drama of the lost wallet had silenced the previous fun (and the grumbling, too) and all three of us were reaching, yearning, trying to grasp hope where there seemed to be none.
Then, the agonizing dash into the theatre, the frantic charge up the stairs, the apologetic looking under seats, to see only empty floor. But wait. Way down in the corner, between the wall plate and the panel with the chair screws, was that...? Could it be...? Something small... and flowery... and white?
It was! It really was! I hugged it to me, and the boys and I rejoiced! Praise Jesus! "Thank you Dear Lord!" I said out loud. The gracious family who let me rummage by where they were sitting were all smiles as they wished me a good evening. It would be. It totally would be!
"I prayed, Mommy," my previously sullen son said. "I asked God to help you find your wallet and to let everything be OK." And God, in his relentless mercy, helped me to find what I had been desperately looking for.
When I feared 'all was lost', it was not just about the wallet. I knew that the cards and driver's licence could be reacquired- but the money and the little keepsakes I carry with me, these would be lost forever. And there was the sensation that something precious had been taken. Something irreplaceable; my sense of security, of safety. That's what I feared, really. Losing what cannot be replaced. What a relief when I saw that glimpse of white, that glimmer of hope! Oh, the joy of finding something that had been lost!
Gratitude washed over me, and I breathed deeply of God's provision. It struck me that this was a picture of God's joy when a soul separated from him is rescued.
There are those who live their whole lives in the state I was plunged into when I feared my security was gone. Those whose lives are devastated by war, or famine, or natural disasters. And there are many who have a roof over their head, but no hope in their heart. Those who have been wounded by brokenness or abuse or religion, or even, God's own people. Those for whom every breath is marked by despair and oppression. They feel damaged beyond repair, and so very lost.
For years I was unable to look past my own brokenness and see their plight. But I am waking up to their existence, and asking what I am called to do. One life can seem so little in the face of world wide suffering. Yet I am realizing that if I carry the Light in me to the places he calls me to, God will take care of the rest.
My calling is, no doubt, different than yours. Yet we share this truth; we are each gifted, each created uniquely so that a beautiful diversity will touch those who need hope like water and bread. My prayer is that we will acquire the urgency I felt this weekend to help hurting people- for how much more is a soul worth than a wallet?
May our hearts be opened to the desperation, the imminent needs, may we ask what we can do to effect change. I pray that we will be moved, to go- to run, as I did- to reach out with hands and hearts overflowing with love and grace. That we will clasp these souls to His heart, crying out, Thank you Dear Lord, that you came to seek and save that which was lost. And then we will know what it really means to rejoice, for every life has worth in His eyes, and every soul was meant to be rescued.
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see.