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Little Boy has tasted transition in some big ways in the past two months – a baby brother born, two sets of grandparents coming to visit and leaving, his Papa going on longer-than-normal business trips, moving out of his only home to a temporary apartment, and then leaving Geneva for a new home in Sweden.

We did our best to prepare him for it with books about a new baby, talking about everything, letting him see rooms getting packed up, skyping with grandparents before they arrived and after they left, giving him his own suitcase that got filled up with toys (a brilliant idea suggested by a friend), and showing him pictures of our new house – the “lellow” house (yellow house).

There was no way to be certain about what he did and did not understand, but I know that ever since Baby came home there has been a new pain etched on his small, expressive face, a look that says, I am lost here, I don’t know my place anymore. 

It manifests itself often in behaviors, most of which are unpleasant for us – extra defiance, screaming, waking up at night, wanting to drink milk all the time. But it’s also made him more fearful and unwilling to try new things. We watch him every day trying to process what has happened since we moved to Stockholm.

Daily he tells us he is getting on an airplane to go away.

Daily he says to me, Papa coming back?, 

When we are out and coming home, he will say several times,

Lellow house. Here now. Lellow house. Here now. 

And it’s like he is telling himself, I live here now, this is my home. 

Walking to the Baltic Sea is part of our daily life here. The first part of it is a little open area where boats can just drive up, and I see moms and dads bringing their kids in the morning by boat so they can go to the little school that is two doors away from our house. A gravel path begins there and circles on the south end of our island. We walk this path daily, saying hello to the boats, the ducks and the occasional piece of construction equipment.

On our way home the other day he wanted to get out of the stroller at the opening part; I said yes, and he got off and started taking handfuls of rocks from the path and throwing them into the sea.

Plash! Plash! he says (splash, splash).

He’s inching closer and closer to the water, which doesn’t look terribly clean and clear if I’m being honest, and he’s got shoes that will get wet and soak his feet through, but I’m making choices to let go, let go, let go. Let him go and get his feet wet in water that looks a bit suspicious, everything will be fine.

He starts eyeing bigger rocks that are right where the water laps up to the path, squats down, reaches in for the big rock, gets it, stands up and throws it back in.

Big plash! he says, delighted.

Big splash for the big rock! I say back, enjoying his joy.

But there are only two of those rocks, and of course he wants the big plash again. So he squats back down and reaches forward to get one of the rocks he threw in.

The rock is just out of his reach, and I can see the frustration on his little face.

Can’t do it, can’t do it, he mutters, and yes he’s only talking about a rock, but I’m hearing something else.

I’m hearing my mantras for the past few years, I can’t drive in Europe, I can’t be alone for a week with two kids, I can’t be outside in cold weather and rain, I can’t handle tantrums, I can’t figure out Swedish cell phone plans, I can’t, I can’t, I can’t. 

 A parent’s words quickly become a child’s mantra, and a parent’s insecurities easily become a child’s fears. 

So I’m looking at my little boy who is so gown up in his dark green cords and blue and coral striped rugby shirt and little Adiddas runners saying Can’t do it, can’t do it, and something in me rises up, and I say to him, Yes, you can do it. You can do it, kiddo, lean forward, you can reach it. You can do it. 

I keep encouraging him, willing him to believe that this is possibly even though I am secretly afraid it will not all work out in the end. He leans forward, strains forward, reaches one hand back – he needs me to hold it keeping him steady, and I do – his hand hits the water, his feet are still planted, shoes and pant hem soaking wet, just a bit more, his fingers find the rock, grab it and pull it out.

DID IT! he says, the jubilation in his face, the pride in his eyes, it’s all I can do to keep myself from crying.

We have a little party on this street corner in front of the reeds and the boats and the water, I proclaim to the world Josiah did it! You did it! I am so proud of you!

Yes, he says, Did it, and looks down at the piece of black rock in his hand, pride keeps shining in his eyes, and I am thinking about all the ways this transition has been hard on him, on all of us, I’m thinking about all the ways we have not said Can’t do it, but have lived, Can’t do it, this is too hard. 

I look at the rock, his eyes, and I know this is a golden moment. This rock is a memorial stone – for him, for our family – and I turn to him and say, Kiddo, this is the rock that says, ‘You did it, YOU DID IT.’ 

He is delighted of course, reveling in his newfound success, and yes, he walked a little bit taller, his face a little bit happier. And me? The rock is crying out to me, too and is telling me what my new story could be: Did it.

We keep the rock, we bring it home, it sits in the kitchen, and for the whole day when he struggled to walk up the stairs alone, I told him, What did the rock say? And he replies, DID IT! and tentatively takes one step at a time, when he feels afraid in the sandbox because he is alone, I ask him, What did the rock say? And I see the flicker of memory cross his face and he says, Did it!.  

Yes, it says ‘did it!’ I tell him because you can do it, you can do more than what you think you can do. You can do it. 

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The Rock That Says ‘You Did It’ has a new, permanent place in a square of the bookshelf that divides the kid play area from the dining room, and it will not be going anywhere. It’s at Little Boy’s level, but we can easily see it. All of us need this reminder that the challenges that are daily in front of us need not overwhelm us – lean forward a bit more, keep feet planted on the ground, hold on to whomever may be around, and when you think you can’t give anymore, keep on giving.

We all need a rock that says, ‘You did it!”

That which is out of reach will be in your hand soon.

A little, brown, Sri Lankan girl just shy of two, she’s walking through the Seoul international airport in a red dress. Her mother has a four-month-old baby girl in one arm, a carry on in the other; her father has a guitar in one hand and another carry on in the other. My parents tell me that there were no hands left for me to hold as we walked in that airrport together, having left Sri Lanka en route for the United States.

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Fast forward 25 years, and the same girl is standing in the arrivals area of the Geneva airport wearing a grey coat that is not warm enough for a European winter and pulling a large red suitcase behind her. She’s looking for someone who might have had a vision the night before of a traveller arriving on February 4 who needed accommodation. No one there has a sign with her name on it, so she goes to the tourist information desk instead, then turns left, goes to the toilet, fills her pink Nalgene water bottle and enters the train station area to sit down for several hours to read, write and wait to figure out what comes next.

Four-and-a-half years later, I stand in a flowing skirt and a nursing top, feeling like a kangaroo with a joey in my ruby Moby on a hot day. I’m in the Geneva arrivals area again, trying to remember the sights, sounds and feelings in my heart because today I am here to say goodbye, to part ways with the past four years.

What do you do when your whole life was marked by plane tickets? The earliest trips were the paper ones, bound together on the left side like books with several pages, flights from Sri Lanka to the U.S., the U.S. To the Philippines, and so many other trips. I only know endings and beginnings because I had them every four years of my life on average, and in the past decade, I’ve never lived anywhere longer than three years. There has always been the next thing and the next thing and the next thing, and yes whenever it got tough in any place with any person – because that always happened – I could just fix my eyes on the next place, the next incarnation of my life in a new corner of the world, waiting for me after the immigrations and customs line.

If I could just get through this difficult series of exams or dysfunctional friendship or stressful event, then I’ll be in Fayetteville, at JBU, in Australia, in Geneva, and then I won’t have to deal with it anymore, if I had a lifestyle, that was it. Get through whatever difficult thing is happening because there is always an exit strategy. Every four years there was an airplane waiting to take me somewhere else.

My life pattern does not seem to be changing.

We found out several months ago that Husband’s work is taking us to Stockholm, Sweden for a few years after the past three years in Geneva, and again I found myself facing the same old feelings, Just get through the next several months, pretend nothing is happening, you’ll wake up in Stockholm and you can get on with it then.

I have regularly felt the need to just close my eyes and wish the time away for the next thing, the new thing, but for the last weeks, I forced my eyes open, forced my heart open and forced myself to engage with what Geneva meant to me, what happened in my life here and what I am losing by leaving it.

So I go back to the airport, back to the very beginning for it is a very good place to start, and I will my heart to return to where it was on that February morning. Retracing steps brings back memories, revelations also pour in.

The arrivals area of the airport has been renovated, the train station is completely changed, and the youth hostel where I spent almost two weeks evolved from the grungy building with old walls and a strange smell to modern lines, black and white professional reception area and where are the desks with computers where I wrote email after email to friends and family?

If we’re stuck in the past, in a memory, a moment, it becomes our ultimate end to keep recreating it, forever frustrated when our efforts turn up nothing. The world keeps moving regardless of where we are or what schedule we are on. It keeps changing, evolving, and moving forward.

I trace the numbers of the keypad of the electronic ticket machine, remembering my anxiety at the thought of figuring out a public transport system. What do I take into the city? Which ticket do I need to buy? How am I going to get all of my luggage on board? This time I know, I use these machines regularly, I know the different zones of transport in Geneva, but I’m pushing a heavy stroller and momentarily am flooded with the same anxiety, How will I get this on the train? Will I accidentally injure my baby? And as it did four-and-a-half years ago, it drove me to one of my favourite prayers, God, I need your help.

I can talk to him about anything, anything, anything, there is no such thing as too small or too big. All things that concern me, concern him. Just keep talking. Just keep talking.

My bench in the mall-train-station area of the airport. It’s hard, silver, cold, three seats facing the escalators to the trains, three seats facing shops. I sit there, open my Bible, my journal and the memories rain around me. The cleaner who walks by, the people who were sitting next to me, the whole time wondering, Why am I here? Why am I here? What will I do? What will I do? And the aching doubts, Can I really believe that everything will work out the end? What will be required of me here? I remember reading and re-reading these words, my lifeline:

Count it all joy my brothers and sisters when you face trials of any kind, for the testing of your faith produces steadfastness, and let steadfastness have its full effect making you perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

And I remember his words to my spirit, You can do this, you can weather this storm, come on Devi, you can stand while things swirl around you. You can do this.

I don’t remember crying then, but I’m holding back tears now after three years of transition, change, grief, babies, lack of sleep, lack of time, the absence of family and familiarity. There have been trials, there have been reasons to stop believing in the goodness of God, but I sit in those silver chairs again, and in my spirit rises the truth that cannot be silenced by the lies that come in difficulty.

He is good. He is faithful. He does what he says he will do. He gave me the strength I needed to weather every single storm. And so I say Thank You. Always thank you. In everything, in every difficulty, there was always a reason to be thankful. 

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Standing in front of number 25 Quai de Mont Blanc, the building that started it all, the doors I was never supposed to enter. I should have gone with the women from my hostel room for an evening out, but I’m lying in my hostel bed waking up from an afternoon nap, and groggily asking God in my spirit, What do you want me to do tonight? The answer that comes back is not the one I want to hear, Go to YAGs, so I walk the short walk between my hostel and the apartment in the cold wind and dark night and enter a room full of warm people, gorgeous furniture, high ceilings. The tall, German man sitting in front of the fireplace was the icing on the cake. He prays at the end, and I think, That guy is praying what’s in my heart. 

It’s hot now, more than four years later, plus I have a baby strapped to me and it’s almost noon, but I stand in front of that door and I build an altar in my heart to the kindness of the One who led me by the hand to this place. I had no idea where I was going, why I was going, but I was always safe in the good hands of God.

I say Thank You, and I open my hands and let go.

I let go of this glorious, beautiful, miraculous story with all its people, places, apartments and things, and I allow myself to believe that there are greater things to come, for me, for us, for our family. I release it, and I turn my face toward what lies ahead.

If our hands are full of the past – however wonderful (or awful) it may be – we cannot receive the future.

I retrace, relive, remember, celebrate and release these life-changing years in Geneva, and with each step I take, I feel the excitement and anticipation building in me for the time to come.

Stockholm, I am ready for you. I am ready to live a new story. I am ready to write a new song.

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She asks for the keys and says the inspection is done.

Je laisse les clés ice, maintenant? I ask, trying to hide the disappointment in my voice. I try to buy myself some time, we’re on the contract for one more month, I thought I could keep the keys for the rest of the week, come back another time, one last time.

Mais, oui, she says, c’est fini pour vous, I don’t need anything else from you, the apartment is fine, we’re all done, I don’t need to waste anymore of your time.

Hot tears burn against my eyelids, my voice shakes a bit, I look down and mutter, Merci beaucoup, at this annoying woman in stillettos who walks back into our apartment, the door I will never enter again.

And just like that it is gone, three years of life disappears, and I walk into an elevator – the one I used as a full-length mirror when I first moved in because we didn’t have one – push R and walk away.

How do you say goodbye to – I don’t even know what to call it – a life? Experiences? Memories? The past? Relationships? Because I don’t have words for what the patch of 80 square meters of light brown, parquet flooring holds in my heart.

I walked into it on a winter day in February to have lunch with a group of strangers I was never supposed to see again. There was bolognese, the Corrs, a bookshelf and a man with warm green eyes and broad shoulders.

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The door opens again, and newlyweds walked in to a mattress on the floor and an inconceivable number of files and papers piled in the bachelor bedroom furniture. We dined on the balcony watching peach sunsets, learned how to talk to each other. Light filtered through the blinds on weekend mornings, we brunched on smoked salmon, eggs and avocado and there were Husband’s mochas with hardly any coffee and lots of chocolate. Arguments about styles and decoration were frequent, I never understood why we had to keep over a decade’s worth of paperwork and taxes, and he never understood why a tree branch needed to hang from the ceiling.

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 There was so much we did not understand about each other, about everything, our laughter bounced off the walls, and the pillows soaked up tears.

We created two children in this apartment, two little boys with button noses, big eyes and wide smiles. The neigbors downstairs heard the stamping of our feet as we laboured through each contraction having no idea that Small One was just hours away from entering the world. I sat in the bathtub a few weeks ago thinking it was only pre-labor contractions not realizing at the end of the day I would be holding another son in my arms.

I stood in empty rooms today alone, walking through each one, giving my heart the freedom to ache over what I am giving up, for ten minutes letting my hands hold on just a little bit tighter, allowing the memories to paint each wall and fill up each room again.

I’m pregnant and watching Husband burst into the door, with the gigantic smile on his red face, he is bursting with pride and holding a second hand 40 CHF car seat for our first son. He tells me its the first time he really felt like a father.

Months later it is May, and he carries the car seat and sets it down on the floor of the office cum guest room cum baby room. I remember the exact spot. Small One’s hat is falling over his face. I wake up the next morning at 5am to nurse him on the red couch in this room. The sunrise casts pink light on the Jura.

I learn. I learn so much, where do I even begin? How to listen to Husband when we fought about swaddling and how much crying was ok, how to find time for myself, for him and for a baby who only seemed to need time. How to love my son because I didn’t have the first idea. How to soothe and rock and cuddle and shush and hold and pray and pray and pray. How many nights did I fall asleep praying for sleep?

We lived a full life. So many friendships born over pots of stew and curries, so many cups of tea and coffee, glasses of wine and juice. How many pots of pasta did I make for post-church lunches and how many muffins baked for group morning brunches? There are the babies-now-children who grew up before my eyes. Small One’s newborn buddies, and their mothers who were my lifeline in those first question-filled newborn days. They lay on the carpet, then crawled everywhere, now run through it from one end to the other and speak in English, French and German.

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It all happened here, inside this two-bedroom, living and dining room, kitchen and bathroom and toilet, inside this beautiful building close to the heart of Geneva.

The packers came last week, three jovial men who tried to joke around with Small One and who let me keep our newborn sleeping in the bedroom while they started on the living areas. Books went into boxes, toys and office supplies went – Small One’s words – bye-bye in the morning.

What do you do when an irreplaceable time disappears before your eyes in a sea of brown paper and bubble wrap?

All I want to do is stand in front of the bookshelf and stare into Husband’s eyes, willing this moment to never leave my heart. Grey is all through his thick hair now, wrinkles around our eyes, extra flab around my belly.

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I watch Small One running from room to room, telling everyone about boxes and boats and wonder, Was it just two years ago that he couldn’t even lift his head? Was it just last year that he stood on shaky legs and put one foot in front of the other on this floor? When did he start eating with a spoon? How are there sentences in two languages coming out of his mouth when all he could manage last year was ‘yum yum’?

I want to freeze the snapshots of our lives in this place that forced my heart open and expanded my life in ways I did not choose.

Being alone is normally my preferred state of being, but all of that changed when Husband loved me, chose me and I loved him back, when God gave us a child not of our choosing, not of our plan, when I came to a city that was not on the agenda for my time in Europe, when I moved to an apartment that was not my own.

I did not choose love, love chose me.

Wandering each empty room this morning before the woman with the stilettos arrived, I watch the reel of our life play in my heart, hold on tightly to each part, then open my hands and let go.

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 I’ve lost count of the number of times in the past month that I found myself fighting back tears and holding hot words in my throat than longed for angry release. The combination of pregnancy hormones, difficult life circumstances, the unknown future, general exhaustion and the Demands of Caring for a Toddler is undoing me one little moment at a time.

Small One is hungry, and I’ve just started thinking about dinner. He needs something to do, but my mind is on the laundry or ironing. We’re out and suddenly nap time is upon us, and he’s throwing a fit.

Parenting has been my crucible this winter. I called Husband with shaking hands one day to tell him, You have got to pray for me right now because I don’t think I can make it through this day, because it’s how I feel, barely making it. I get to the end of each day, and thank God for my miracles – I didn’t lose control, I didn’t lose my temper. It’s been the kind of month when I’ve thought less about doing the right thing and more about keeping myself from doing the Very Wrong Things.

We all have these times in our lives of desperation. I remember sitting in my university dorm room, anxiety washing over me with two hours to go before the deadline of a research paper for History of Spain. I had been awake all night and almost written nothing. Every semester was full of anxiety, worry, desires, frustration, pushing myself and feeling like I was failing, failing, failing.

I wish I knew then what I know now – doing less is doing more, breathe, speak life over yourself, look for what you’re doing well and don’t nitpick at what you’re doing badly, there is a season for everything, embrace limitations, receive the daily graces of every moment. 

What does this look like while I live in a state of unraveling?

Doing less  –  spending less time with people who are draining, discouraging and emptying my schedule of events and activities that leave me depleted of time and energy, spending more time at home, taking naps and resting while Small One is napping instead of doing chores.

Breathe  – taking deep breaths when I feel stress rising, finding a healthy release for anger and frustration through brutally honest prayers, journaling and open conversations with Husband and people whom I can trust.

Speak life  –  literally, standing at the kitchen counter while Small One whines and flails about on the floor saying to myself, I can do all things, all things, ALL THINGS through Christ who gives me strength, I am equipped and prepared to deal with every situation that comes my way, having honest conversations with my 22-month-old son, Mommy is having a tough day today, so I need your co-operation more than ever, I need you to listen to me, I need you to talk to me and tell me what you want, I need you to know that I love you very much, but you will not be getting everything that you want today, and I’m sorry about that, but it’s how life is at the moment, but you are loved, you are safe, you are secure. 

Look for good  –  looking for what I’ve done daily that is worth celebrating, there is no such thing as too small or insignificant: Small One devoured the peas and pasta for dinner – great job, Mommy, got through the day with no Mommy tantrums – great job Mommy, you meal planned for the whole of March and April including detailed grocery lists and kept track of all the spending for the month – great job, Devi, you bought several pieces of clothing that look great on you – well done.

Seasons, limitations  –  every season of our life involves two realities: the season will end at some point, the season involves ways in which I will be limited, instead of spending my time fighting against my limitations, I will live peacefully within them. I can’t carry Small One up and down the big slides in the park more than five times, but I can take him on bus rides all over the city because he absolutely adores buses. Focus on the bus, not on the slide. I haven’t planned activities for him in March, but I planned all of our meals, focus on the meals. Think about activities in a month when you don’t have another big project on your mind.

Receive the graces   –  thankfulness, gratitude, oh the simple act of picking up a pen and writing down the words, Thankful for 264. sunshine, 265. getting on a new bus so I didn’t have to lift the stroller, 266. crunchy asparagus, 267. his adoration of strawberries, and on and on and on. So many moments, so many gifts, so many ways in which my mind can dwell on what is good, what is noble, what is excellent, what is true . So many ways I can receive goodness, excellence and truth in my life.

One day I will look back on this time in my life, and it will be over. I will not hear the sound of a small voice whining, I will not be going to play dates or changing diapers, but there will be new challenges, different events that push me to breaking point, and the same truths will still remain – do less, breath, speak life, embrace your limitations, live in your season, receive the graces.

And so in these truths, in these realities will I live, and when dinner time comes, I will make this pasta dish – as I did last night, holding back tears while I chopped courgettes and asparagus, thanking God for surviving another day, and thanking God for leftover Easter lamb, feta and lemon that was in the fridge.

  • Spring Pasta    this is one of those “take what’s in the fridge and pantry and cook” dishes. I chopped an onion, while it sauteed in olive oil, I chopped two courgettes and several spears of asparagus, then threw it into the pan to sautee as well. Water for spaghetti boiled away. I stirred the veggies every now and then and when it was cooked to my liking, which is a bit on the raw side, the dish is essentially done.
  • To serve  again, I used what was on hand. We had left over lamb from Easter dinner and feta cheese from an Easter salad, so I chopped both up, and tossed it with the spaghetti and veggies. There was no real sauce, but we squeezed lemon juice on top and sprinkled on sea salt and pepper. It was light, delicious and I’m still eating it today.

 

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Hot cross buns were on the menu for Easter Sunday brunch – I was ridiculously excited. It was going to be the start of a new family tradition and baking bread is quickly becoming one of my “things.” Then life started happening – there was a lot of cooking to do this past weekend, we had some fun family outings, there were rounds of Settlers of Catan games played late into the night, and you know, I’m now approaching the realm of Extremely Pregnant and am tired by 5pm.

So I started thinking.

Husband would not like the buns, Small One doesn’t know any better, and most disturbing of all: I don’t like hot cross buns. 

Growing up our family had zero Easter traditions other than going to church, so it’s not like this was a family memory I was trying to pass on to my new family. No, no, I was just planning on spending a good chunk of time mixing flour, kneading dough and waiting for it to rise for buns no one was really going to love on a weekend when there were plenty of other fun things to do.

I skipped the hot cross buns. No one cared. We brunched on scrambled eggs, smoked salmon, mushrooms, goats cheese and apple juice with mint and strawberries and all were satisfied.

A few days later though and I am still thinking about my hot cross bun fixation

I read blogs and every now and then visited Pinterest and saw – what seemed like – hoards of families mounting their easter traditions, filling their children’s days with themed activities, and what follows next is the cramping feeling inside that I’m not doing enough. 

We like to look for the Big Moments. You know what I’m talking about – the moments that require careful planning, anticipation, the ones we leave and pat ourselves on the back, I did a good job with that. 

When I was a teenager, I looked to milestones like high school graduation or prom, as a university student, it was the first time I saw my byline printed in the newspaper, then came the thrill of my first paycheck, my first driver’s license, first car. Then I got married and had a child, and the moments seem to rush together now. Three Christmases, three Easters, birthdays, anniversaries. Moments.

And in some way or another all of these moments come with the similar feelings – It could have been _______, it should have been _______, I wish I had _______

I didn’t even realize I was thinking about this until last week when a friend wrote this blog post, and it triggered a mammoth comment that now I’m “thinking” through here.

For our last Christmas meal together, I roasted a leg of lamb per our holiday tradition, but the weeks leading up to it, my plans seem to go awry and I could hardly manage anything else. Few table deocrations. No real sides except for mashed sweet potatoes. We had a small present for Small One, but I hadn’t bought Husband anything, not even a Christmas card. We did other things, yes, we marked Christmas in our hearts as we waited through Advent, and it was meaningful, but I do love those moments around the table of feasting together as a family without stress or overwhelm surrounding us. I love providing anchoring traditions for Husband and our children that are found in our love and the things that make us, well, “us.”

My point is I felt like a failure on the personal front. There are few things in life that I find more annoying than the guilt and shame associated with failure because even though I am still young – sort of young – I have lived enough to know that these two things induce life paralysis. Guilt and shame prevent us from moving forward but keep us firmly chained to our past.

So I knew heading into Lent that I was suspect to the same round of “I could have… I should have….”

Here’s what happened.

I read some verses and sat in bed weeping over them, designed several word pictures, Husband printed them, and then I was going to hunt for rocks in an effort to decorate our mantle, entry table and sideboard with rocks, a visual reminder of our cornerstone and that we are living stones built and held together in Jesus. I was going to give Small One rocks to play with while telling him some basic facets of the story of Jesus’ life and death and resurrection.

The art went in frames, and then it was finished.

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There were no real Lenten activities for any of us. I managed to have an egg painting afternoon for Small One and some friends, but we spent most of the month just getting through our days, dealing with whining and tantrums, chopping vegetables, standing over the stove, playing with water (Small One, not me), taking the “Bus bus bus” because its fun, sitting on the floor and crying (me, not Small One although sometimes it was both of us), being easily annoyed (again, that’s me, not Small One), feeling way to tired to get up in the morning, praying for a dearly-loved grandmother, thinking about death again, maintaining a spreadsheet of our expenses for the month, listening to music, watching construction machinery digging up earth, taking magnesium pills at night, passing a glucose test, grocery shopping.

Living was my Lent. 

And with every day that passed without anything “official” or “traditional” the voice of my past whispered, You are not doing enough, and the voice from the cross and the empty tomb raged back, Do not disrespect my grace with your traditions. You lose sight of my grace when all you see are your good works.  

Lent Lesson 2013 learned.

Traditions can anchor us and anchor children in beliefs and ways that are important and relevant, so we do not discard them. But a tradition’s meaning comes from what we celebrate, not from the tradition.

What we do as sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, wives, husbands and parents around Christmas, Easter, birthdays and anniversaries are good and important, but we can’t lose sight of the daily living. Will we appreciate each other, spend time together, buy flowers, write meaningful words and express love on a day that is not a birthday or anniversary? Will we remind ourselves of the cross, the empty tomb and new life every day? Will we remind our children?

What does it matter if we do everything “perfectly” for one week and let the whole year slip away?  Living requires a steady, even, well-paced faithfulness in all things; we need to move away from Big Moments and move toward Daily Faithfulness.