My feet broil as they struggle to press and form against the fiery inferno of sand. I clamor for each breath, though the dry air does not satisfy my exhausted frame as I desperately hope. The sun, eternally present and stubbornly consistent, bakes me until the point of near collapse. But then I see it! Off in the distance.......I see the sparkling reflection of sunlight, teasing that there is relief, sustenance, life-altering change ahead......I’m almost there! I can make it!
It’s school! Yay, oh yay, oh a thousand yays!!!!!
But seriously.....it isn’t that I want to be away from my kids. It isn’t that at all (okay, well, a little alone time each day is a very sacred thing to me, so it wouldn’t matter who you are or how wonderfully pleasant you’d behave, I’d still value that solitude). It’s just that they decided weeks ago they were sick of the sight of each other and they were not going to honor my request that we live in peace and treat each other as gifts to be enjoyed. Instead, most days they have chosen to create an atmosphere of turmoil and chaos, treating each other as human piñatas. I’ve been running around like an under-caffeinated bouncer, trying to grab the sticks before someone is pounded. And that’s my job. We’ve had some very special moments this summer that are already banked in the treasured memory department of my heart, and I continually renew my daily commitment to do my part in creating environments where more of these special moments can thrive.
But only so much of it is up to me.
It’s sad to me to see how terribly my children really can treat each other, though I know it’s nothing to be surprised about. Just serves as a reminder in a greater sense of what we miss out on by insisting on focusing on (what we see as) the worst parts of each other and letting that ruin the atmosphere for ourselves and everyone else around us, instead of accepting that they’re part of the package. I’m glaringly guilty of this, and I’m troubled to think of God arranging so many environments in which we could be sharing in something truly edifying together but instead we can’t get past our gripes, petty or completely legitimate. Some personality types just don’t match up, I guess. Even Paul and Barnabas had a sharp dispute and needed time away from each other. I shouldn’t expect otherwise with my kids, as they are radically different people.
I hope my kids can be great friends and support systems for each other one day. However, there’s no way for me to force this to happen, and there’s no way for me to force it within my own relationships with people that I want something deeper and stronger with......or at least something different. So the answer, then, is to submit whatever bond is there to the glory of God’s plan and let Him use it and change it as He so chooses. I’m in the midst of that now with a few relationships – one in particular; while I’m sad that it doesn’t seem like it will ever be all that I envision it could be, I trust that whatever God wants of it will be better than anything I can conjure. Even if that means I don’t necessarily feel any personal enjoyment.
In the meantime, I will enjoy the few hours of solitude coming each day, and make the most of this time to grow closer to God in heart, mind, spirit, soul, and in deed, and in doing my part to create and sustain environments where the best of each person in my orbit is invited to come forth. And I guess that means I’ll also keep grabbing the sticks out my children’s hands.