After binge-cleaning and crashing with an episode of Glee late the night before, we woke to the sound of the twins hooting and hollering in their cribs and the anxious chatter of the to-do lists in our heads. Isaiah woke up grumpy and soggy, like a little polar bear fresh out of hibernation and the twins, my husband and I all stumbled down stairs, a whole parade of sleepy-headed grizzlies.
It was Sophia's birthday and we were scheduled to get pictures taken of our house for posting it for sale online and Solomon also needed a chaperon for his end-of-the-year field day. In other words, it was "go time" and my husband was taking the morning off from work so we could have all hands on deck.
Solomon wandered out, obviously dragging and stated that he might not go to school after all. But then the birthday girl came out and the sun shone in the windows, bright and the kids settled into reading with Daddy on the couch and it started to feel like our cobbled together plan for the day might just work.
It wasn't long, though, before we fell behind schedule because once you've started reading about the plagues in Egypt, you can't just stop in the middle and then the rushing began. I thawed out pancakes for Sophia and used some painter's tape as a ribbon for her morning present and John headed out with all four kids and 24 sparkly butterfly cupcakes for the morning round of drop-offs and I set to work.
When John returned we both set into cleaning with a fury while the twins tore through the house like locusts, methodically undoing all the work I'd already accomplished. Emptying the back pantry, they built pyramids out of bottles of juice, cans of coffee and diet coke. They clanged and banged their way through the kitchen, dragging out pots and pans until Levi pinched his finger in a cupboard door and dissolved into a puddle of screaming and tears.
As the tension mounted and time slipped through our fingers like sand, the clouds rolled in, literally, and what had started as a sunny morning turned heavy, dark and gray. We had delayed listing our home by several days because of the forecast, hoping for a sunny day to get the best pictures possible, and here we were, listing late on a cloudy day.
Despair seeped in and I told my husband we should just give up and leave the house as it was, but we still didn't know whether we needed to be home to let the photographer in, so we slugged it out, tag-teaming the twins and chaos.
There was just so much I couldn't control - the weather, the twins - so I started praying that the sun would come out, because I really wanted it to, but I also let go a little and the thought came to me, maybe there'll be a rainbow just as the photographer arrives. This was enough to cause a little seed of hope to take root and my heart and hands opened a little further as I found compassion for my tired self and for those two little boys who were wondering where I'd hidden all of their toys.
Then I started thinking, maybe the photographer will buy the house and we won't even have to go through showings, or maybe someone out there needs to see a house on a cloudy day with just a smattering of food on the kitchen counter, or a pink plastic calculator laying in the corner of an otherwise spotless living room. Somehow my heart turned the corner to surrender as I realized again that what I do not know and cannot control is not always a bad thing; there's always so much more to life than the very small and finite piece of the puzzle that I can see and shape.
By eleven, my husband left for work and I took the twins to pick up Solomon and they sky was still filled with smokey gray clouds, the worst we'd seen in weeks. After pick-up I drove back home to let the photographer in and as we sat waiting in the van I said, "Let's pray that the sun comes out," and we did.
Not five minutes later, just as the photographer pulled up, the sun came out and I shouted to Solomon, "Look," before leaping out of the van to unlock the front door. I was so relieved, ecstatic, but I still couldn't keep from saying, "You'd better go ahead and get that outside picture while the sun's out." The clouds were there still, rolling across the sky and I guess I still believed that such grace is fleeting, like the sun on a cloudy day.
If I gain anything from this whole process of house selling and buying, I hope it's a deeper sense of this grace that permeates life, this sun that shines endlessly, faithfully, whether we have the eyes to see it or not.
This post is linked with Hear it on Sunday, Use it on Monday and Playdates With God.