Monday, January 30, 2017

Texting the Ridiculous

We all have them. Or we should.

Those friends to whom we can text something totally ridiculous out of the blue, right in the middle of our most chaotic moments, and know we are heard and understood.

For me, I know those friends are likely laughing at me or with me. They are writing something equally ridiculous right back. They are sending dumb pictures of stupid injuries or of a child drinking from a puddle in the street or of another failed meal prep. They are texting while they reheat their cup of coffee for the seventh time. Sometimes they are texting about how they just cried, too. Or about how they miss working outside the home. Or how, just for one minute, they'd love to pee without someone watching.

In it together.

Ideally, these friends would be right in the room and we could do this face-to-face. But that's not reality. Some of them live right around the corner, others across the country. Some I've known for decades and others for months.

But they are there. Here. In it.

I am not a techie person. But, in a way, during this season of being home, a choice I never thought I'd make and one with which I struggle daily, these texts have saved my life.

In the moments when I feel the most alone, the most likely to lose heart, I can say a prayer, press a few buttons and have a friend saying "God has got this, take a deep breath, laugh at yourself, order a pizza, tomorrow's a new day." I can take heart knowing that I am just one of so many mamas in the trenches.

And I cannot express how grateful I am.

Grateful that these are people in my life who get it. Grateful that they don't reply with cliches or tell me I'm complaining. (Unless they really SHOULD tell me I'm complaining and to suck it up for goodness sake. Because I need that sometimes, too.) Grateful for honest, simple interactions that ground me during a phase where my children's needs keep me isolated a lot of the day, especially during the winter with my cold-hating babies.

I know one day we probably won't text as often. And the texts won't include pictures of my infant attempting to drink from the toilet. Maybe we'll live closer and talk over a glass of wine while our kids are old enough to play without needing minute-to-minute intervention.

I don't know.

For now, I'm glad for the few, the crazy, the text-buddies. You know who you are. Love you.

Friday, January 20, 2017

The Harder Choice

I woke up this morning with a sinking feeling. It's here. The day many Americans have been dreading or fearing or attempting to ignore. The day many others have been waiting for with joyful anticipation. And the day many people truly don't know how to react to.

I wanted to post things. To say why I was angry. To say why I was sad. To weigh in on the cabinet choices. To, yet again, make clear that I did not, could not, vote for Trump. And that on this, the day of his inauguration, I was grieving.

But my distrust and dislike of him is no secret. So I held off.

I was up before the boys. In the dark, drinking coffee, listening to my heart thump rapidly and then begin to slow down in peace. And I was reminded.

I am first and foremost a Christian. A believer in Jesus. A follower of God-become-man who walked the earth during a time of tremendous oppression, division and racial strife. Who taught his followers to pray for their enemies, to show love to those who persecute them. And who also made it clear that talking the talk isn't enough. That justice will prevail. And that all people are made in the image of God. I'm not sure our now-current President understands those things. I truly hope he will come to.

So, before I chose to say anything, before I chose to do anything, I invited my son to pray with me. He balked at first.

Josh: "Why should we pray for him? He is so unkind, Mom. I'm worried about how he will treat people."
Me: "That is exactly WHY we need to pray for him. If we believe that God is good, that God is love, that God is powerful and loves ALL people...then we have to pray that a man that now has so much power, also has the ability to change and use that power for good."

In the end, my son didn't really have words and I don't believe in forcing my kids to pray. He asked me to do it. We prayed for Trump, we prayed for the Obamas. And I sent him on his way to school like I always do: "Find the good, be the good. I love you."

I spent the morning with friends drinking coffee and talking about life and dancing with Jayce. I didn't watch the inauguration live. I chose to watch it later, with my two little ones asleep.

And friends, I am not going to lie. It was hard to watch. It was painful to listen to all the nationalist rhetoric. It was frustrating to watch a billionaire with questionable business practices blame Washington for stealing all their wealth and sending all their jobs overseas. I, for one, am not teaching my children "Americans first." I am teaching them to love their neighbor as themselves. And as a Christian who loves Jesus and what he taught, I cringed when he said that God would protect America. Why? Why in the world are we so arrogant to believe we have the protection of God?

I do not know what the next four years hold. I prayed for Obama. I will pray for Trump. It doesn't mean I have to like him or sit idly by when I don't agree with him. It doesn't mean I have to support dangerous cabinet picks. I don't and I won't.

Praying for him today was the harder choice. It would have been much easier to mock him, much easier to be angry or to wallow in fear for what's coming for us and the world.

So, each morning I am going to have to ask God to help me make the harder choice. To pray first. Because I so badly want to act first. I so badly want to say exactly what I am thinking but if there is one thing I know right now it's that my emotions cannot be trusted. And, more than that, I know my kids are watching and listening. I don't want my legacy to them to be rash action and angry words. I want them to learn what it means to love God, pray first and then act boldly and justly and with mercy, whatever the situation.

So today and tomorrow and next week, I will pray for him.

For our divided nation.

For my friends who are hurting and afraid and angry.

For my friends who are rejoicing.

For much of the world that is fearful of what this all means on the global stage.

For all of us; humans created in the image of God. Not just Americans. All of us.

And I will continue to speak up in love. And to act. And to hope.

May God give me the grace to do so. And forgiveness when I fail.