Excruciating = this morning’s excursion. You ever have a plan and have that faint feeling that it’s probably a bad idea, but your agenda is so loud it drowns out the warning, and it isn’t until you are past the point of no return that you realize, yep- bad idea? And then your efforts all boil down to one word. Like excruciating.
To recount each offense against my psyche this morning would be to fill your next half hour with depressing minutia leaving you despairing that you’ll never get that brief time of your life back, so I think just the “highlights” will suffice.
McDonalds and Walmart with 4 young kids. Now I know that there are moms who have gone through the fire with many more or less children than 4, but humor me. A 30 minute drive sprinkled with whining, crying, and occasional screaming just loud enough to overshadow the “positive” and “encouraging” message of KLOVE over the radio.
Eventually we see the McDonalds drive-thru line, which is just long enough that I feel compelled to drag all four children into the brisk air and into the equally busy restaurant where my kids apparently lose their hearing and sense of spatial awareness because I cannot simply tell them to move out of other people’s way, but I must physically move them (p.s. I am sick with a bug that’s stuck around for a week already), and in the process of getting the food with which ¾ of the kids are none-too-impressed, the oldest knocks my Diet Coke down to the ground and brightest spot of this whole trip is dripping from the counter and soaking her pants and the McDonalds employee looks at me with such heartfelt pity I don’t know if I want to laugh or cry.
And then a woman, a more experienced mother (of, say, 25 years) takes my tray and asks me if I’d like her to put my children in the booth. I nod in my stupor, look to the two new soda cups that have materialized out of nowhere, and despondently begin my refill. I want to cry. so. bad. But I don’t. I walk to the table, thank the lady and employee who is mopping my mess, and feed my spirited children. The sympathetic employee offers to take my trash (maybe thinking he’s pulling me back from the precipice of a mental breakdown) and we head to Walmart. The atrocities that await us there are numerous, but not so monumental as to warrant a retelling.
On the way home from what is undoubtedly one of the worst outings of my mothering life, the radio gets static-y and I flip adeptly to the other KLOVE station out of Omaha. It is only then that I really hear the song, But I hold on to this hope, and the promise that He brings. There will be a place with no more suffering. There will be a day with no more tears, no more pain, and no more fears. There will be a day when the burdens of this place will be no more and we see Jesus face to face. (“There Will Be A Day,” by Jeremy Camp)
In the big scheme of my life, I won’t remember those little calamities that drove me to walk away from the children in my cart today to recollect myself. I won’t remember the unkind words “good” Christian parents don’t think, let alone say. I do think I’ll remember the kindness of those around me, not simply as the examples of the “goodness of mankind,” but as witnesses to God’s constancy and provision. Through these angels of mercy He reminded me that He was still there for me. Even when my own agenda pushes me into a “bad idea” and I can’t go back and I can’t go around, but I must go through my trial, He gives me what I need and who I need. And then He points me to that day ahead where I will finally get to rest. Where everything won’t be so hard. Where I can be with my Savior at last.
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:6-7