The Legacy of a Window

Sometimes I’m embarrassed for my children to be seen playing on my iPod Touch or iPad. It seems that’s all children do these days and I don’t like to contribute to the impression. Sure there are educational apps, but I won’t get started on that.

I like to limit the time spent, but since summer hit, it has crept upward.

car-001

As soon as we get in the car, someone asks to play one of my devices. I’ve gotten in the habit of allowing it. What’s the big deal? They didn’t play much at home so I just let them.

We recently waited outside my husband’s office for him to come collect a delivery. I had shakily decided that morning we were taking a break from games in the car. They could learn to sit and look out the window because I believe boredom has a place.

So as we sat my oldest, who loves animals and nature said,

“Wow! Look at all those birds!”

On the roof in front of us, birds were swarming like a bunch of roaches. It was an amazing sight we all enjoyed.

Tokyo Tower

This moment helped me to stand more firm on the decision I had made. I pointed out that if they had been playing games while we waited, they would have missed such a sight.

A window stood between them and the world outside of the car; another kind of window sometimes sits in their lap. One is quick to produce marvels at the touch of a finger; the other demands a waiting gaze; attention.

I realized it’s not about contributing or not to what everyone else is doing; it’s about habit.

I’ve decided I’m willing to greatly reduce a hindrance that can shape a mind slowly but surely away from a curious, thoughtful life and into one that has a quick, easy solution whenever boredom knocks.

Habits like that never changed the world, I’m pretty sure.

 

The Sound of Summer

It’s that time again; the cicadas are using their “lungs.”  While reading bedtime stories tonight, Emily pointed to the window every time she heard one.  She doesn’t know what she did for me last year when she heard them, but hasn’t forgotten to notice them.

May I invite you back to our experience with the Cicadas?  How we praised with the bugs?  Be sure to listen to the audio at the end, at least a few minutes please!  Turn the volume up to hear the heartbeat at the beginning.  Listen while you read and then listen again.  If it resonates with your soul, you will love it!

Written July 5, 2012:

These summer evenings I’m often bent behind green in the garden, digging around for produce. Usually a little girl follows. She’ll play on the swings or ride the dog until she notices where I’ve drifted.  She enters the garden gate with questions . . .

“Mommy can I help you?”

“Can I step right here?”

“Is this a weed?”

“Can I pull it?”

Then exclamations, “Look at all these green tomatoes!”

“And the watermelon has lots of flowers!”

I feel like one of the plants soaking up joy like water in that garden we planted together.

I’ve noticed a new accompaniment to our gardening. The cicadas are out, making their sound. The other night, while Emily pulled one last weed she asked, “What’s that called again, making that loud buzzing noise?”

“That’s semi,” I answered (Cicada in Japanese is pronounced “seh-mee”).

“Oh yeah! They fly around and around and make the noise when they’re flying!” she explained as she traced a path with her finger in the air .

Actually,” I said, “they don’t fly around that much. When they make their sound they’re just holding onto the trees.”

“. . . Why?” She asks, as usual.

“Well, that’s just their job,” I answered . . . “What’s your job?”

By then we were walking hand in hand back to the house.  She didn’t hear me ask, but my own question stayed with me.

I pondered the shortness of a cicada’s life, at least above ground. They live as nymphs under ground for 2 up to 17 years. Afterward, they burrow through the ground to hang out and dry. Upwards they go, clinging to a tree with a job to mark time, the season of summer with their recognizable, would you call it,”song”?

What a hidden existence. Underground for most of life and not easy to spot for their short life above ground, were it not for their noise.

As I asked my little girl, “What’s your job?,” I thought of it’s simplicity and complexity. Her job and mine is to praise our Maker. She is doing her job simply . . . sees the world with wonder, giggles at bubbles flying around, wanting me to watch every new move she makes, dancing like a princess with a sparkler in her hand last night on the 4th, she is happy to be. I think about how difficult I make my job of praising to be, worrying whether I’m doing it right or well.

The sound of the cicada’s tympanum tells me that somehow my existence is doing part of my job, by simply being made, breath in my lungs.

I look down at her bouncing beside me. I have no skill of knitting cells in my own womb. Her heart began beating as unnoticeable and automatically as my heart is beating now, like the underground life of the cicadas’ around us. I hear their creaking and watch her skipping . . . and without effort, I praise Him.

Take a breath and know that He is pleased with it.

Please consider clicking the song below. “Every Breath” by Gungor, a very sweet sound.

When You Can’t Pray

We went out for a late night bite after the girls were in bed and left the restaurant with neither of us talking and me crying. The ride home was thick with silence.

He went to bed and I couldn’t. I brought my bible and some fiction with me to the couch, but couldn’t read. My mind was spinning and couldn’t fit any more words into the mix.

I tried to pray, but the argument just repeated in my mind. Thoughts were melted together and fast like I didn’t know what language I spoke. I stared at the air and groaned inside.

Then I remembered the Holy Spirit prays for us when we don’t know how to pray . . . with groanings, no less. Perfect. I asked Him to take them over.

In minutes, I witnessed the calming of the storm, waves becoming like glass. I was silent in words and heart. Didn’t know what to make of our argument, but I was ok.  I didn’t intend to sleep on the couch that night, but didn’t know another thing until morning.

calm

The next day I marveled at the love available to me, but ached for this earthly love to be put back together. We talked and uncovered a misunderstanding. We were colliding not out of stubbornness, just misunderstanding.

Even when it’s unintentional, we are both unable to love like we should.

There is much good in fighting things through and coming back together, but what a privilege to go to sleep not put together, not angry, but in a sea of calm; remembering the Maker of your soul is there and knows how to love it perfectly.

Without the waves I forget Who calms the storm and I’m thankful for the conflict to bring me back to the Love that is for us both.

Weighty

When Excitement Fades

Excitement never just stays around.  It lasts a couple days and in its place comes discouragement, depression.  I feel the battle for constancy in my emotions.

I have ideals I’m trying to reach . . . goals to meet vision for the coming years.  Maybe not defined goals yet, but ideals for sure.

How effortlessly I lose sight of my Constant, leaning on my lack of knowledge.
And I sink down.  I feel the vanity and the trying feels heavy.

Thistles

How to educate, prepare, engage with, and hear my children . . . The time is short.  There’s a lump in my throat, weight in my chest.  Seems so much easier to rest my eyes, go back to bed.

Trying is hard.

On my own I would be lost in a sea of doubt and unredeemed failures.  On my own, I wouldn’t be trying, unwilling for the adventure, no lifeline to keep me afloat.

But I think the more I try, the more I’m unable to forget the Constant pulling me back with unfading love, amazing grace . . .

Claire and caterpillar

. . . and that can make for an exciting ride.