The day was long and I’m sure every parent anywhere ever can nod along with me knowing the feeling that comes as the day winds to a close. Our resources running on empty, our emotional give tanks dry.
I’m not sure about you but when I hit this point I stop seeing well. I wish I could simply put on my old lady reading glasses but that’s not it. When I’m tired, and dare I say just a tad cranky, I tend to focus on everything that isn’t all that important. Though believe me, it seems it at the time.
You know the days when you’re running helter-skelter every which direction you can barely tell which way is up? The days where you wake and wonder how on earth you can accomplish all that needs to happen but, God be with us, you manage to keep everyone alive and in the right place at (generally) the right time?
At the end of those days, as the sky darkens along with my resolve, I find my perspective taking a turn for the worse.
To be clear, I came home last night in a huff.
Did I have reason to huff? My evening, tired perspective said – sure did! My running on empty thoughts said – oh man, they’re going to hear it.
When I get in this place I tend to hover over my life and look down and in on it. From this vantage point I can only see all that’s going wrong. When I’m up above everyone else looking in, I see the whole tapestry of mess. I see every dish left on the counter and every pair of socks thrown, clearly disrespectfully, into a random corner.
When I’m in this place, when my perspective is above and over everyone else, I can only see the chaos, the turmoil, the faults and the mess.
After stomping around for awhile, all dishes clanking and vacuuming under feet so that maybe they’d get the point (they didn’t) I realized the fool I looked. Because getting all snitty and acting like the fact that I’m perturbed is something everyone should cater to – never accomplishes what I want it to.
Imagine for a second that Jesus just stayed in heaven looking down on humanity. What a head shaker that would be. If anyone would have reason to come down miffed it would be Him. But He didn’t.
He came to earth humbly. He walked among the mess, looked at the broken hearted and saw them. He took up residence in this place not fit for a king. His sandalled feet dusty from the roads just like the people whose lives were in shambles that He hung out with.
He didn’t show up all pretentious and haughty, pointing fingers and telling everyone what to do and how exactly to do it so that He felt respected in this, His own house.
No, He showed up and had tea. Chatted with ragamuffins at the well. Washed feet. Broke bread. BREAD! No Boursin cheese and expensive crackers. Normal, everyday, commonplace, bread.
After flitting about my proverbial kingdom for some time, tiara all lopsided, I whispered a prayer and changed my tone, half begrudgingly.
Instead of hovering over all, I laid down beside a little, rubbed his back and asked him to tell me all of the things about his day. It took exactly 3 minutes.
Instead of continuing my rant, I sat alongside some teens and asked them what the upcoming week held for them, chatted through all of their schedules, and got the benefit of a few funny stories amidst it all. It took 6.5 minutes.
Instead of coming in all high and mighty, I sat beside a kid, peered on as they watched their latest netflix binge and they lovingly removed one headphone to tell me what was happening. It took roughly 4 minutes.
In under 15 minutes things changed in our home and in my heart.
It seems to me that connection – normal, everyday moments change everything. When we come alongside people instead of above them, when we enter into their moments, their days, even their mediocrity, it brings us together in a way that ruling over them never could.
And it’s not just with our kids. When we see one another – all people – on level playing fields, when we drop all feelings of superiority or greatness, when we cancel out the fact that we think we deserve things and we just sit with people – it’s transformative. The mood shifts, the tones are adjusted, the whole air around us is modified into one of love instead of animosity.
When we sit side by side and we care about each other it strengthens the links that bind us, it tosses a rope to one another that we can each grab hold of, it weaves the tapestry of our lives into each others picture and ties it with a tight knot at the end. This can only happen when we choose connection. When we make seeing one another and hearing each others stories the priority over winning a game that doesn’t even exist.
How thankful I am that God sent His son to connect with us. How thankful I am for the example of how I need to connect with my children in the same way He connects with His. In love and humility. With words that speak I’m with you’s. With grace that abounds. Our imperfect love can still be a reflection of His perfect love no matter how flawed we are. Because flawed we are. As evidenced by the very fact that my tiara will show up again. And I’ll walk through these motions again. And I’ll remember grace – again.