Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Embracing the fire

I survived another day celebrating my birth.  It went more or less how I expected.  Moriah had her melt-down before I had mine.  Literally, the candle I placed on her part of the cake melted into a stream.  Then the sobbing began.  Andy tried to console her as I took pictures of the melted little smiley guy.    

All day the kids were asking when they could sing to me and eat the cake they had so lovingly made by themselves, from start to finish.  I finally partially consented.  I let them put the candles in the cake, early.  All 34 of them.  Well, only 30 to start with because Moriah didn't want anymore on the part of the cake that she had decorated.  She screamed as her siblings tried to poke them into her corner.  Caleb insisted through his restrained tears that the rest of the cake would crumble if the remaining few had to be put elsewhere.  I finally did manage to get permission for 2 more to be put in her corner.  I found spots for the other 2.  The cake did not crumble.

I have to wonder if part of Moriah knew what would happen.  The wax from the candles would melt, clinging to the icing.  Removal of the wax would then mean that part of the sweet goodness of icing attached to it would be removed as well.  Therefore, resulting in slightly less sweet topping for her to enjoy.  In the case of the melting smiley face it was quite a bit of icing that had to removed.  Maybe Moriah was trying to avoid the pain of losing something she viewed as good.  She had a perfectly frosted section of cake, untarnished by many holes and melted wax. 

How easy it is for me to resist giving over my stuff, myself, to be molded for a greater purpose.  How easy it is for me to want to hold on and naively pretend that this is as good as it gets.  To not see that I have become lukewarm in my faith...

Because you say, "I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing," and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.

Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.

Revelation 3:17-19

I want to know that I am loved, as painful as it is.  I have learned that my Master and keeper of my days is shaping me with His fire.  If I knew how these last few years would have played out in my life ahead of time I would have said "no thank you".  No thank you to the lessons learned by trial.  No thank you to being burned.  No thank you to the hot wax being poured onto my soul, stripping away what I thought was good in my life.  It hurts.  

My youngest did a smart thing by requesting the least amount of candles to be placed into her part of the cake.  She did a brave thing by consenting to have more. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Passage of time

Another year, another candle to blow out.  As is always the case around my birthday I start thinking about time.  This week I took the kids with me to sing happy birthday to a friend turning 71.  She was never married, has no children, though she still has many siblings left.  She started with 11, down a few now.  We got to talking about farms and tractors.  She remembers a time when horses were used to work the fields.  Change. 

This summer has been filled with many changes.  Most frustrating would be having our favorite restaurant changing owners.  It was a place that Andy and I started going to years ago, to celebrate our marriage.  Many memories in our almost yearly visits.  I remember going there when I was days away from giving birth to our first-born.  Special place.  Only once did we take the kids there, to celebrate Andy's parents anniversary.  Not fancy, yet special because of the many extra touches.  You could get a bottle of birch beer, read the menu off a chalkboard, wonder if the chairs at the next table over in the checkered pattern were more comfortable than yours, then proceed to tug on the flowers to check their authenticity.  Picked from a garden they were!  Change will be taking place with the new owners, I'm sure of it.


Just a few days ago I discovered another familiar comfort gone.  A favored entree taken off a menu.  Then I went in to pick up some broccoli salad at the neighborhood grocery store.  That too was gone, not being made anymore.  When my brother was visiting he commented on his changing skin.  What next?  I am still getting used to my digital camera.  The passage of time will ultimately affect change.  Not sure if it's good or bad, perhaps only decided by our perception of it.  With digital I can now take more, more, and more pictures.  I don't have to dread reaching the number 36 and realizing that I am out of film.  Now it's the batteries that I worry about... 

Recently I heard my sister-in-law joke about how before she was married she spent more time with her husband to be than after they got married!  Change.  There are a few benefits of passing time.  Diapers are no longer a part of my daily routine, nor trying to keep tiny hands away from every potential harm.  I never imagined how I could love my children as much past the "cute" toddler stage.  I'm finding that my love for them is growing even more as time lengthens their limbs. 
Ecclesiastes 11:5

Time also has a healing factor to it.  The pain doesn't sear as deep anymore when my memories of Jeff come up for air.  I knew my life would change dramatically because of that accident.  Almost 2 years have passed since that day.  The day that I almost let bitterness take over my life.  I knew at that moment that my husband would have to do more than his part to help keep the farm running.  Time, giving me a different perspective.  Time, allowing me to see the strength of my husband's character.  Time, slowing eroding away all traces of bitterness.

I'm not sure if I will be able to go to a space that held many a memory of times gone by with the walls painted a different color, chairs that match and a menu that doesn't carry anything that resembles the last sandwich that I ordered (which was ham, turkey and cheese with bacon and apple slices that came with a caramel dipping sauce).  Perhaps, just perhaps if I let myself, I may discover it to be just as special a place.  Perhaps I will also learn something about myself in the process.  A way to grow, to adapt- to not hold on so tightly to that which is no more.  Maybe I'll even better learn how to embrace all that the passage of time has to offer.  That which makes my heart laugh along with that which causes my arms to tremble.