Four o’clock in the morning.
I’m hugged up around my coffee mug, under my favorite blanket, pen with journal in hand.
I NEED these few minutes desperately.
Just moments ago. Down the hall. Before my alarm even sounded. I had begun listing.
And when I say “listing,” I mean I had begun making mental lists. Things I need to do, purchase, clean, and organize. Budget listing had begun. What to spend on each item on the list to achieve everything and retain surplus funds. Time listing had begun. How to do all the things and spend all the money in an order which provides total success, free time, and rest.
I made these lists repeatedly while the moments before the alarm sped by my bed. I rearranged each item and number over and again trying to make it work. Trying to solve the puzzle as if it were a Rubik’s cube and I played to beat the clock.
Did you know boats list?
When a boat lists that means it is leaning to one side or the other. Listing too far will cause the boat to take on water.
When you think about the way all my thoughts were evoking panic and causing me to wade down the hall to the coffee pot as if I were striving up steam against the current through knee-high water, this boat definition of list probably applies to me as well.
I say again. I desperately NEED these few minutes with the quiet, seeking God to take my thoughts captive, make them obedient, and resolve my mental Rubik’s cube dilemma.
After refilling my cup once, I’m ready to begin. With a sigh to release stress, control, and to center myself on just Jesus, I put pen to journal and write the words, “Lord, order my steps today. I’ve already got the crazy, and I don’t have the time or money to do any if this wrong. I need your…”
And that’s as far as I get because my not-quite-two-year-old granddaughter wakes up and toddles down the hall.
She wants my pen. I tell her no. I put my journal down.
She wants some milk. I get her milk. I pick up my journal.
She wants to watch a Christmas movie. She holds the DVD box up, and says, “dog.”
I tell her not dog. It’s a reindeer. She smiles, waves the DVD box and says, “DOG!”
I set my journal down and put in the “DOG!” movie. Refill my coffee and reach again for my journal.
Now, the kitten is awake and fighting for the spot on my lap where I hold my cup. So, I move her.
Now, the toddler is playing with jingle bells she captured from their perch on a shelf obviously not high enough to keep them safe.
Now, the kitten and the toddler are fighting over jingle bells, while the “DOG!” Movie plays but no one watches.
Now, the kitten steals a bell and climbs up my leg to reach the safety of my lap.
Now, the toddler suddenly decides my lap is the best place to be, if only to recover the stolen bell.
It’s all I can do to keep from spilling the coffee as it gets cold in my cup, and save the kitten from certain death, as the toddler finds footing on my left thigh.
Where is my journal? Under me? I just don’t know…
At some point and for just a moment now, the toddler decides to just sit in my lap. Now, she’s not jingling bells or wrestling kittens. Now, she just sits. Leans back against my chest. And sighs.
And I sigh too.
In moments, the chase will be on again.
For all of us really.
Wants and needs will shout to make themselves known. Jingle bells and all things Christmas will try to run us ragged. Stresses and duties of the day will attempt to run off with the thoughts, time, and money we try so hard to control and keep for ourselves. Expectations will mock us, as we move forward failing to meet so many of them in one way or another. In fact, some of those expectations will pout or tantrum in the corner, hoping to keep our focus all day.
All this because ‘tis the season.
All this because we’re so very human and too often beautiful means perfect.
And too often Christmas means try harder.
Now, the toddler asks for fuzzy socks. I put her fuzzy socks on her tiny feet. Now, we match. I taught her about the magic of fuzzy socks.
Now, we sit together for another still moment.
Just a breath between this moment and the rest of the race.
And I’m grateful.
At some point today, I will have to budget and rearrange lists. I will have to go to the store after work. A trip to the mall may even be unavoidable.
But while the “DOG!” movie plays in the background and the kitten sneaks off with more jingling bells,
we sit still
in fuzzy socks, and I’m grateful for this time in the chaos.
I asked the Lord to order my steps, and He showed me what was important.
Because He is a God who Loves and Sees and Listens.
Because He is Emmanuel.
God with Us.
He name is proof we are not alone.
And this season, is NOT about perfection or try harder.
This season is about Love. Rescue. Grace.
It’s about the NOW you have been given.
It’s about the Love you give, right NOW.