-The Book of Common Prayer, A Collect for Sundays
I’ve heard it said that we’re an “Easter People.” But on any given Sunday, is that true? The last time I have chanted He is Risen! was on Easter and then alone.
We tend to point to a cross when we need the empty grave.
Why are we so stuck on Friday? We recount the sin of that day, the hurt, the awful. Friday has its rightful day of the week, the day of mourning and grief.
But it’s Sunday! He took that to the grave and left it there.
We choose to gather on Sunday, the day the women sprinted back to the disciples and revealed that Christ had beat all that we feared. Their burial spices were useless because Jesus left an empty tomb. Life, as we know it, will never be the same.
Today, on Sunday, don’t live in Friday. Live Sunday. Resurrection. Every Sunday.
-Jesus, John 16:33
Mr. M entered that frustrating stage of toddlerhood where the language input is a vast playland, but the verbal output is excruciatingly minimal. “Ungh” and “eeeeehhhhhh!” apparently have two separate meanings but those meanings can evolve based on circumstance. Understanding early toddler language is worse than learning English as a second language. Using sign language as a bridge is helpful, but overall I feel as if I should be able to list “translator” on my resume following the job of raising non-verbal humans.
A while back, one of the children came home complaining that a boy at school had been kicking during meeting time. We talked about the appropriate course of action – asking politely to stop, getting the teacher to help. In this case, both of those avenues had been pursued. “Why would he hurt us?” they asked.
Well, I said, sometimes kids need something and they don’t know how to ask. Sometimes they don’t even know what they need, they just feel like someone needs to give them something, so they use whatever is available. Sometimes that means people hit or use unkind words, or don’t use words at all.
I wish these were isolated incidents. Yet life seems to be about learning our needs and how to express them in a way that actually fulfills them. How often do I crave connection and try to find it in the bag of Peanut M&Ms? Or seek approval through making loud and inconsiderate comments? What I’m asking for is love, but I never use those words.
What if we began to see all of the ways in which people simply don’t use the proper words? The rude person behind us in the checkout line. The irate driver in the lane behind us. The explosive father. The overly-involved mother of the playgroup. The disengaged husband. The drunk neighbor.*
We’re all seeking something and often it takes a lifetime to figure out both what it is and how to ask it of others. Our frustration grows as they don’t respond appropriately, giving us more milk instead of green beans, but we only have the sign for “more” and “more” of what remains a mystery.
Back in the day, my partner-in-crime, Kristy, would reach a point of stress and frustration and turn to me and say, “what I need for you to do for me is…” and she laid out exactly what was expected of me. Sometimes it was “5 minutes of quiet” or “carry this box to the other room.” Imagine if we all utilized this skill? Mommy, what I need for you to do for me is give me a hug. Dear, what I need for you to do for me is keep the kids for 2 hours so I can remember my personhood outside of their existence. Church friend, what I need for you to do for me is express you’ve forgiven me in a way that I can move on without always feeling I “owe” you.
Let us learn our words. Let us be patient with those who don’t know them yet. And let us teach others how to use them.
In honor of the eldest’s birthday, a little walk down memory lane back to when I only had one child and, apparently, a vendetta against proper capitalization. It seems that my earliest posts around motherhood didn’t have the same nostalgic flavor of today’s as there was no word when I delivered and no first birthday thoughts. Oh, how times and authors have changed. The original post was here.
yup. he took a tumble. and i was standing right there. i turned as he bopped the first step and got there almost in time before his head hit the floor.
it’s nothing i’d care to repeat viewing. i felt awful. he was mad, sad, hurt and just wanted to lay his head on my chest and cry. so we did for a little bit. then we went outside (no tomatoes to look at so we just went for a walk).
i had some time to process this. i had called KM to ask if i was a bad mom because i kinda felt like it. good moms stay closer right? good moms don’t let their kids fall down the stairs? maybe good moms always keep one hand on the kid’s back so they can react quicker and catch their kids.
i’m not a believer in the common thought that parents have a corner on God’s perspective. there are plenty of people who don’t have kids (or are not married, for that fact – another common one) that understand way more about God than i. but as i was asking myself if i were a bad mom i found myself circling that very common philosophical question “if God is good then why do bad things happen?”
as i thought “if i were a good mom, henry wouldn’t have fallen” i could see why people say “if he were a good God, i wouldn’t have experienced XYZ.” but by the end of the walk i could tell you that it’s just not true. and i’m not just trying to defend my parenting abilities.
after all i. was. right. there. i didn’t leave to go get the groceries. i wasn’t more concerned with my own agenda. he couldn’t say “why have you left me?!” because i didn’t. i was on the floor the moment he was. so the fact that something bad happened does not negate my mere existence.
and, most of all, i didn’t “let” it happen to him to “teach him a lesson.” i did teach henry how to go down the stairs and it involved me showing him to crawl backward -knee knee foot foot.
the poor guy fell down the stairs because it’s a part of the human experience. we can do things to try to prevent it, we can adjust, but we cannot completely avoid the falls. the only way i could do that is to eliminate the entire experience of stairs. and what a flat, boring existence that would be. (did i mention that H loves his stairs? i think he’s training for the olympics)
sometimes we just have to be thankful that, while falling down the stairs does happen, we do have someone to hold us, kiss the boo boo and take us on a walk on a b-e-a-utiful day to help the healing process begin.