Important Things

I’ve been thinking a lot about what’s really important in life and what I’m really living for.

Lots of things are important, lots of things are urgent…we must work, take care of the house, care for the children, get dinner cooked, finish the laundry, drive this one here and that one there.  We must walk the dog, pick up kids from preschool, clean the bathroom, do the homework, get to the doctor’s appointments, pick up the groceries.  At the end of the day, we fall into bed exhausted and I wonder sometimes aloud–

Did I do what was important today?  Did I do what I enjoy doing today?

Because doing what I want to do, what is enjoyable, is a whole other thing.  We want to watch a movie, check Facebook, play Draw Something or Words With Friends, we want to nap, eat Reese’s cups, visit with friends, linger over one more cup of coffee.  We want to paint our nails or color our hair or read a magazine.  We want to sit in the sun with eyes closed.  There are so many things we want to do that don’t necessarily fit in with the urgent.

The days fly by and all I’m doing is rushing around and trying to Get Through The Day.  

And I want more than that.  I want more than just getting through the day.

I say to John all the time, “It’s another marathon week.” because we have one jillion things planned, scheduled and that urgently needed to be attended to.

But what really matters most?

If you’ve been reading this blog at all, you know that my inner me is under major reconstruction.  God is really weeding some crap out of my heart and making me better.

This has been a painful and glorious process.

Since Paw has gone on to the Lord, my heart and my prayers have been fixed on the heritage she’s passed down to us.  The heritage of faith and family.  On Easter Sunday, my heart almost broke with love for my family, not just my immediate family but aunts, uncles, cousins.  I saw unique beauty in each one, I saw Paw in us all.  Memories and moments and quirks and strengths and weaknesses of  60 odd people coming together in the most beautiful tapestry that Paw began with her own two hands years and years ago.  This is Important.  This is Vital.  This family is full of love and life and laughter.  This family is a good, good gift.  And what better way to honor our Paw than to keep it close.  Deep inside, I hear a cry, “Do not take this good gift for granted.”

Here is the children singing their hearts out to the Lord in honor of Paw on Easter.

All the kids in attendance!

We watched “the Passion of the Christ” on Sunday and I keep seeing Jesus, beaten and bloodied and just made of love and mercy.  I want to burn the images into my eyes and on my heart and I don’t want to forget how I feel right now.  Because seeing that…remembering Him in that way…it makes all the worries that I worry over, all the stressors that I stress over, all the strivings that I strive for…it makes those things seem almost ridiculous.  And while I’m not saying that I should just stop washing the dishes and doing the laundry and only ever read the Bible and I’m not saying that I should never laugh at “Raising Hope” again…I am saying that all the things that make me crazy (or crazier) throughout the day are just almost nothing.

I’m saying that I must examine my life and get rid of the things that hinder love.

And that’s a tall order and it carries enormous implications.

But when I think of Jesus on the cross…when I think of Paw and her faithful, love filled life…I know it’s the next step.  He died for my sins and my pain.  He died for love.  And He didn’t just take too many Ambien and go to sleep…He suffered and struggled and was separated from His Father and descended into hell.  He was beaten and bloodied and bruised.  And my face was in His heart as He did this.  So was yours.

So…all this rushing around…all this stressing and worrying and panicking…all of this must go.

“Therefore, be imitators of God as dear children.  And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.”   Ephesians 5:1-2

Real Love

Leap Day Part 2

When I think about Paw, what I remember is a grandmother who would jump in the water at Aunt Missy’s with us…a grandmother who would pull the wheelbarrow full of children…a grandmother whose shoes were off the minute it was warm outside. I remember her voice as she sang praise at church, tambourine jingling and feet flying as she danced. I remember my awe at her worship. She worshipped unashamed, abandoned, alive.

Even when she got Parkinson’s…and I remember the time of the diagnosis well. She went with me to most of my obstetrician appointments when I was pregnant with Julia. It didn’t matter to her that I got pregnant at nineteen, before I was married. What mattered to her was that she loved me. She was good company at those appointments. The Parkinson’s diagnosis came in that season and I hadn’t even known she was sick. We were at Hardee’s with my Aunt Felicia (Paw’s sister) and my Uncle L.T. (Felicia’s husband) on our way to one of my appointments when she told us the news. She said it as though in passing…like it was part of conversation. With a shrug and a smile.

As the years went by, she got sicker. She had two brains surgeries and she had a surgery to put an electrical thingie in her body to help the tremors. She fought through Parkinson’s for as long as she could. She gave being well her all.

And through it all…she didn’t change. She wasn’t bitter, she wasn’t angry. Just a shrug and a smile. It is what it is, this is my lot in life and in heaven I’ll be able to run and dig in the dirt again and swim and have bare feet all the time if I want to.

When I went to see her yesterday…she was my same Paw but she was also different. She is frail and she is small. She wants to speak up but she can’t form the words. I see HER in those eyes and I see recognition but it comes and goes. I remember all that she has been and I take in what she is now.

She is fearfully and wonderfully made.

And it is almost time for her to run again, to dig in the dirt again, to be busy and to dance like David danced on the streets of gold.

I close my eyes and picture her dancing like she danced in the aisles at New Covenant church. I keep going back to that image, because that sums up my Paw.

I love words…but I can’t find any to describe my heart right now.

She loves well. She has loved her five children well. She has loved her thirteen grandchildren well. She has loved her thirty three great grandchildren well. But what has shaped her, what has made her Paw, what has made her that Proverbs 31 lady of faith is this…she has loved Jesus well.

Paw’s faith is legendary.

Her Jesus will say when He welcomes her to His side, “Well done, good and faithful one. Well done. Now, let’s dance.” And the two of the, arm in arm will dance on the streets of gold.