Plane Coffee Mom

Chatting about Mission Aviation over coffee

Tag: change (Page 1 of 3)

The Street Corner

We recently took a trip to Seattle and Garry dropped me off at one of my favorite coffee shops. I ordered a drink and did some people watching. Beside me was a guy with a guitar and dreads laboring over a small notebook. I noticed how the barista acted like the bar was a shield between her and the customers. In the corner sat an older man working diligently on his computer between smoke breaks.  I did some writing. I enjoyed the experience, and Garry was due to pick me up soon. Due to the parking situation I decided to wait for him outside.

I stepped out of the welcoming coffee shop and on to the street corner. It was a handy place to stand because I could see traffic in so many directions. But it was cold, and in less than two minutes I began to feel awkward.

A younger guy who was high on something stumbled by. A well-dressed guy kept eying me  while acting like he was doing something on his phone. A scantily dressed woman walked by, swinging her hips and trying to catch the eye of the guy just down the street. Two guys sauntered by, holding hands and looking into one another’s eyes. I looked behind me and saw a small band of poorly dressed young adults apparently fighting over something they were examining from an old grocery bag. An older lady, shabbily dressed but with steps of purpose, walked by carrying her groceries.

Garry didn’t come.Both our phones were nearly dead, and for just a moment I imagined what it would be like if he never came back. Seattle with no money in a less-than-desirable neighborhood. Suddenly I knew that my few “good ideas” about downtown were sorely disconnected from reality. I imagined how hard it would be to actually get out of this neighborhood if you were born here. I imagined what kind of help you might need to get a better job, how much effort it would be to change your self-perceptions, and the long journey to better habits. The complexity of the conversation hit me hard.

Soon Garry came and we returned to our safe world. The mental photos and haunted feelings remain as a reminder to pray for so many who are caught and for those who reach out to them.

This House of Ours

I like our house, I really do. I can’t say I love it simply because I don’t get that attached to places. Yet it is where we live so much of our lives. The early morning tea and night snacks before we turn in. Meals around our table and chats while I’m cooking. I like it. I like the fact that we have a roof over our heads and that our space is heated.

Yet it’s struck me again this week that a house takes a lot of time. In reality, the rent I pay on this place is far more than the check I write out at the beginning of the month. It’s the small repairs Garry does and the cleaning that’s required. It’s the lawn mowing and shoveling, the sweeping and dusting and scrubbing. You see, this place doesn’t take care of itself: that is our job.

And there is a balance where the more time I spend on the house the more I like it. It’s far more comfortable to work in a clean space than a cluttered one. But that takes time. It costs energy. And sometimes I get tired of this house of ours that seems to rent me as much as I rent it. 

I realize that this is true not only of the house and yard, but of our bodies as well. These are places where the real us resides, and while the external is not as important as the internal, it does matter. Our bodies need food and rest, cleaning and exercise. And that takes time. Time that I must plan for or I begin to resent what it costs. I sometimes forget that being alive means I need this body, and I need it to function, so I better take care of it.

This reflection leads to another one, the fact that my spirit is also a place that needs care. It deals in the currencies of faith and rest, stress and worry. The real me must be cleaned and renewed by the Word. Without faith it grows weary and burdened. Without attention it begin to shrivel and focus inward.

And my pondering leads me full circle to the fact that these houses of ours are both a privilege and a responsibility.

Old while Young

I felt old as a teenager and ancient in my early twenties. My memories of pain-free days as a young mom are few and far between. Now in my forties, I feel younger than I did two decades ago. While it strikes me as strange sometimes, it shouldn’t surprise me. Until my early thirties I struggled with chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. Every day began with the same mantra, “I can do this. I can make it through another day.”

All that changed with a simple, faith-filled prayer late one night. There had been many simple, faith-filled prayers before that one, but that night God answered in a miraculous way. Things changed. I woke the next morning with energy and a new hope for the day. I’ve been sick, I’ve been discouraged, I’ve been weary since then, but neither the chronic fatigue nor the fibromyalgia has returned. It’s an undeserved blessing, one for which I am grateful every day.

I would hate to return to the fatigue of those years, and yet I would hate to live these years without those experiences. There are so many things I learned in that time that I need every day. God used sickness in a powerful way to dispel my independence and to teach me about prayer. I began to learn about empathy as I lay exhausted on the couch, trying to pay attention to my two-year-old. I had to say “no” more times than I can count, and yet it’s a skill that still comes hard to me. Sickness taught me to value the temple that our bodies are and to take care of myself and others in ways that have proved valuable.

Chronic illness was a school that taught me things I would have otherwise have had no interest in learning. It pushed me into places that I would not have chosen to go. It changed my perception of myself and of others. In some ways, I experienced age before my time and am now given the opportunity to live my real age.

What has caught my attention lately is how common this is. Maybe not the exact circumstances, but the reality that we experience things for a purpose. Today’s trials have every opportunity to be tomorrow’s joys. Today’s hardship is training for tomorrow’s joy, and for tomorrow’s challenges. What we do with today matters, not only for how well we’ll sleep tonight but also for how well equipped we will be for tomorrow and the days, weeks and months that follow.

Reflections on 25 Years Together

Maybe I wasn’t very smart when I got married– after all, I wasn’t even 20 years old. I have, however, been incredibly blessed. Honestly, I had no idea what I was getting into. Like everyone else in the world, I had no clue how life would turn out. In my case, things have turned out a million times better than I ever imagined!

We celebrated 25 years of marriage last month. This weekend we are blessed by a few days home alone together as both our sons are elsewhere. These opportunities to reflect have reminded me how blessed I am. They have made me fall in love all over again. I’ve been nearly giddy at the opportunity to spend time with Garry. I’ve been amazed at where our sons are, and how little we really had to do with it.

On the other hand, I’ve been humbled at the realization of how different life could be. Those times when I’ve been upset and I could have allowed the anger to grow. The times Garry has forgiven me when he had every right to hold a grudge. The times I’ve been disappointed and could have kept blaming him for how things were. The times I’ve failed my husband and he has chosen to love me anyway. The ways my parenting skills have fallen short and Garry’s have filled the gaps. The ways we have both failed and yet God’s grace has redeemed what we deserved to lose.

Beyond reflecting on success and failure, I’ve enjoyed pondering the journey we’ve taken thus far. The early years of marriage when we were just two adults, free to choose how to spend our time after work. Trips across the USA and Venezuela, by car and plane and bus. Endless dreaming and planning, hard work and relaxing. The joy at the arrival of our first son and the surprise at how he changed our lives. Finding that God was so much more than we’d imagined and that obedience was sometimes costly. The joy of another son being added to our family and surprise at how life changed yet again. New countries and new experiences. Traveling the world together and staying home with the boys while Garry travelled. New friends and growing friendships. Experiencing God in everyday life and finding a relationship with Him that continues to change and grow and surprise us. Chaos and adjustment. New wisdom and continued growth. Experiences beyond our wildest dreams and sometimes pain greater than we knew existed.

My perception of the world and its size has changed dramatically. My thoughts on other people have been shaken to the core and re-organized. My relationship with God has been turned upside down. My value on family and friends has grown. My circle of friends stretches across the globe.

And the more I think about it, the more I realize that Garry has been near the center of most of these changes. Knowing him, living with him, has changed me. He has chosen the higher way and the better option again and again. He has chosen to grow continually. He has chosen to take this journey with me, and I am one blessed woman who is anticipating the next 25 years with excitement and joy.

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