Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Mundane meaning…

First of all, I wanted to say thank you to the congregation for helping with my unique situation last Sunday. If you were elsewhere, here’s what happened. I’d planned- months ago- to have a guest preacher the Sunday following Christmas. Tabitha and I were going to her family’s farm in Mississippi, as we’ve done for years. Lo and behold, come early November, we became foster parents, and foster parents need court orders to take kids out-of-state. Wasn’t going to happen that soon! Sorry Deb and Johnny; we’ll make it another time!

Still, I didn’t cancel our guest minister (former PCCC intern and talented future minister, Hayden Kvamme). I simply told him, “Look, you focus on preaching. I’ll take the rest of the service.” It made my workweek lighter, and was a lovely, workable plan. Then, Tabitha’s grandmother died. The funeral was last Saturday, in Illinois. So for the first time in my life, I was solely responsible for a child from Friday night to Sunday afternoon. I was really scared!

I mean, could I handle all the playing, feeding, bathing, book reading…alone?! And at church, he’s spent the past month with Tabitha, out of the sanctuary, playing around, and is still getting used to new people in a new environment- with expectations he’s not sure about- and he doesn’t understand, though certainly notices, the not-so-subtle, sometimes annoyed glances and signals they’re trying send, because they’re still getting used to him (and to multiple kids at church again), and he’s a delight, but a handful, and didn’t I already say I was, if not preaching, nevertheless working? And…Ahhhh!

That was my anxious internal monologue last week. Again, Thank you; we survived!! Folk were understanding and quick to offer help, though all he did was watch toy videos with headphones on. Whatever works, amen?! Indeed, the entire weekend felt that way- whatever works, just make it through, check the big boxes of sleep, reading, food, but otherwise, let him basically set the agenda.

Which means I spent much of last weekend crawling on the ground, zooming toy cars back-and-forth. We took Fawkes the Dog for a walk, and that became a two-person/one-canine game of tag on a muddy baseball field. “Downtime” found us watching multiple three-minute YouTube videos, each showing someone playing with a different matchbox car track or toy rescue ship. Minute after minute, hour after hour, our time ticked by in such fashion.

And it was beautiful. It was also incredibly mundane, but surprisingly more profound for being so. After all, we didn’t really accomplish anything. The wooden workbench he got for Christmas still sits in its box, unassembled. We did some coloring, read books, but didn’t make progress on his subtraction skills. We played. We made things up, and swapped funny faces, and pretended to race with cheetahs. When it finished, and he was in bed, my imagination- and back- muscles were sore! Yet I still like I’d accomplished something amazing. He was happy. He knew he was cared for. He was learning he could be himself, and that’s enough to make his life a blast! If not for that endless succession of mundane moments together, I’m not sure the weekend would’ve been so meaningful.

Don’t we often describe God as our Divine Parent, who’s always with us? I usually remember that conviction when I’m stressed, needing help, praying, “God, bring me peace!” But what if I invited God into my mundane moments? Or just noticed God is there too? I typically associate deep spirituality with bible study or meditation, not playtime or potato peeling, but maybe should change. I mean, if my weekend of solo foster dadding was so jampacked with ordinary, incredible meaningfulness, then maybe our Divine Parent- so anxious for a closer relationship with us- would relish my normalness just as much, if not more. Even be glad to let me set the agenda, as long as we ticked off those big boxes of kindness, compassion and grace. Next time I’m watching the Broncos, then, perhaps I’ll pray, “Hey God, did you see that?!” I know S/He’s a fan, maybe not of Denver football, but certainly of you and me.

Grace and Peace,

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