Sunday, April 3, 2016

What I Wanted and What Love Offered (Grace and the Salt and Vinegar Hang-Over) #SmallWonder


Wednesday morning I wanted to get 3000 words on the page, or at least 1500.  I wanted to practice yoga for twenty minutes, to enjoy the sunshine and silence of the Little House after a week of kids being home for spring break. 

But the night before I popped open a tall can of Diet Coke when I should have been winding down for bed.  In full disclosure, there was a bag of chips involved too, a late dinner of sorts and when John went to bed at 10, I didn’t.  Instead I searched the house, three, four times until I found the novel I put down earlier in the day.  I prowled the house hunting for it repeating the words, “This is so annoying,” over and over in my head like a chant.  Finding it, finally, where someone else had put it, I crawled into bed and turned on the reading lamp. 

At 10:20, I thought, “Just ten more minutes.”  

Then, at 10:30, “A few more pages.”

It wasn’t even a good book. 

At any moment last night, had I paused to listen closely to my soul, I would have realized (in fact I did realize) I was tired and sad and looking for comfort.  What I really needed was rest and compassion.  Snuggling with my husband would have been a good option.  Instead when he asked how my appointment was, I mumbled “fine.”  I opened the can and pressed a handful of The Worst Salt and Vinegar chips I've ever had into my mouth. 

When I next looked at the clock, it was 11:30. 

I finished the book.  

I finished the can of soda.  

(I did not, I repeat, Did Not, finish the bag of chips.)  

I slid down into bed, head jangling with caffeine, regret whirling and slid the alarm clock on for 6:00 am.

In the morning I crawled out of bed with the weight of a reading-diet-coke-hangover dragging behind me.  My eyes felt like hacky sacks.  The kids got out the door on auto-pilot, the twins made it to school, but driving home after drop-off exhaustion, frustration and regret followed me like a shadow. 

Doggedly, I headed to the little house, breakfast, water and the computer in hand.  I sat in my usual chair and warmed up with a few emails, then I opened a word document to let the writing begin.

My mind, my fingers, moved like molasses, heavy slow syrup slogging over the keys as I searched for words and thoughts that refused to come.  The dog, Coco, watched, her eyes half closed, from her chair across the room. 

I wanted 3000 words.  I wanted to practice yoga for twenty minutes. 

I desperately needed a nap. 

I had ruined that which I was looking forward to, my morning of writing and stretching, the feeling of forward momentum and accomplishment as I checked off my list of goals.  But it was what it was and I worked hard to not attach to the thoughts of judgment and condemnation that flew around my brain like a flock of scattered birds. 

Instead, I asked myself what Love would do, what I would tell my kids if, when, they find themselves in the same predicament. 

Love offered a nap. 

Love said, “It is what it is.”

“But this is my time to write!” I told Love, “I didn’t write yesterday and I have a meeting this afternoon, parent conferences tonight.” I pointed out to Love that there were no other options, I had, in essence, Ruined Everything.

Love said, pointedly, “What about grace?  Maybe there's enough grace in this world to make up for this one mistake.  But, for now, all you know is what you know.  You need a nap.”

I also heard the words of a counselor I met with four years ago, a counselor whose constant advice and need to fix things pushed me away.  “Love what is,” she had offered one day.  How I hated those words – they weren’t the right words for me at the time, but now, four years later, they’re the only words that make sense some days. 

What other option do we ever really have?  We can change "what is," of course, but change, if it's to be lasting and fruitful, must be rooted in love, not fear or hatred of self or others or even "what is." 

Love your tired, sleepy self.  Do what is needed in this moment and the next.

Is that not what I failed to do the night before?  Diet Coke, Salt and Vinegar and a novel are okay.  But they don’t really address what is.  (Unless “what is” is the sincere desire to stay up late, to enjoy the feeling of fire on your tongue, to savor and enjoy words put together on a page, then they’re Exactly what’s needed.)

I set the computer aside and laid down on the floor of the little house, my head on a pillow, blanket tucked up tight.  I slept.  Love said that was fine. 

*   *   *

We finally have a #SmallWonder button!  If you want to use it, simply copy the image, then add it to your post or sidebar with a link to www.afieldofwildflowers.blogspot.com.  


Welcome to the #SmallWonder link-up.  


What if we chose to deliberately look for small moments of wonder, the small sparks of presence, of delight or sorrow, of true humanity in which we meet God?  


That's my proposal - that we gather here each week to share one moment of Wonder from each of our days.  You're invited to link-up a brief post about a small moment of wonder.  Don't worry if your post is too long, too short, or not just right - you're welcome to come as you are.  


While you're here, please do take a look around and encourage at least one other blogger with a comment.   



  


25 comments:

  1. Kelly. This is perfect. What would love do? So loved hearing how you did exactly that with mercy and grace to yourself. Then I realized it was link up time...so i'll do that too.

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    1. One more thing...staying up with a book and reading way too late. I get it. It's oh so helpful when we ask "What would love do?" early enough to do what love would do.

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    2. Yes, practice to can us respond earlier, but I'm so glad there's still room for grace when we miss the boat!

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  2. This post is a perfect companion to my Sunday School class on Hebrews 12 yesterday. There's not a thing wrong with novels or chips or even high octane soda, but it became an encumbrance that weighted you down the next day.
    Reading your words, I realize that I struggle with taking grace when I've blown it. It's so easy to muscle through this sort of thing and then act like a dragon lady with the family later on. You were smart to listen to the voice of grace.

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    1. Oh, I get that, Michele, "muscling through" and taking it out on others later on, I'm thankful there are always new opportunities to turn it all around.

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  3. This post spoke to my soul. Been there a thousand times. Thank you for offering a perspective that will stay with me the next time, and the next, that I need to open myself to a little grace and forgiveness. I love the question reiterated by Carol in her comment: What would love do? Yes. Yes, indeed.

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  4. Wonderful post. Earlier this morning I read 2 Corinthians 5:16 (NLT), "So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view." Your post goes along so well with this. At times, we must stop evaluating ourselves as well, from that human point of view. We need to see ourselves (and others) from His point of view. So grateful for His love & grace in and over our lives.Have a great week!

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    1. I think God must be so happy when we start to see ourselves and others with the same love and compassion with which he sees us. Thanks, Joanne.

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  5. Kelly, I love that you thought about what "Love" would do! I've been in that type of predicament so many times and have always been kind to myself. I've just pushed on rather than stopping to do what my body needs. I'm so glad you took the time to sleep. I know it was the best thing! <3 Blessings!

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  6. You are so right, Kelly, and I am glad grace won! I would have been disappointed if the post had ended differently. We cannot function when we are tired. Yep, a book, chips, and a Coke can do that, but those will happen sometimes and there is grace for that as well. He didn't call us to be perfect and He knew we wouldn't hit all of our goals. He called us to be forgiven and accept His gifts of grace and rest. Happy to be at your Linkup today.

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    1. Thanks, Pam. Grace and rest - good gifts!

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  7. Kelly, gosh I get it! That weird addictive thing that happens when we ignore what's really going on! So well described! Love how you gave yourself a nap..or how grace brought you to that sweet, forgiving sleep!

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  8. WOW! Love this. I was up last night myself. Many nights end up like that - so many things running through my mind about tomorrow, today, next week - blogs to write, emails to delete, comments to make on blog posts and well I may go to bed at 10 but I lay there an hour and finally the thoughts win and I'm up until 1230 last night and drag up at 530 because I need to go sub. Thanks for sharing. I love this and what love would do.

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    1. Thanks Deborah - praying you find moments of rest!

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  9. "What I really needed was rest and compassion." Oh, isn't that often just the things we need? But yes, I do the diet coke and reading-too-late things too often myself. Listen to Love. Beautiful post, Kelly! (Sorry I'm late to the link-up. I keep having trouble with Safari showing it; I'm on Internet Explorer now to see the links.)

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    1. Thanks Lisa - thanks for being part of #SmallWonder.

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  10. I needed this today! Thank you Kelly. My body is tired, weary, I am coming down with a bad cold as we head in to Winter and yet I sit beating myself up with unfinished chores and maybe the need to pray more and get rid of the guilt that says I have to sleep because my body needs rest. Instead I'm pushing myself and why, what for. I want to lay this down right now because Love says go and rest you are loved. Not because I pray or do, because I am a child. THank you Kelly! Blessings ALiyah

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    1. Sometimes it helps me, Alijah to think of my resting as worship.

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  11. Oh yes... when Love says, "It is what it is." sometimes I love it - but sometimes, not so much! Great post! (I'm trying to remember to go to bed with my Honey instead of staying up to write or to read, as well!)

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    1. Yes, sometimes it's easier to accept than others.

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  12. If I had a dime for how many times I've done this. I too am learning to listen to grace and love...Jesus...in the midst of these moments. I'm so happy to hear you listened and responded to Love. :)

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    1. Yes, Amy, I think we'd all have a big 'ol pile of dimes!

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