Can I take about five minutes of your time, back up my entire dump truck of junk, and dump it on you?
I was hoping you’d say that.
Right this minute, there are nine children in this house.
One of them is only six weeks old, bless his little heart, and he has acid reflux. He is only mine 47 hours a week, but y’all, all those little thoughts about me wanting another little chunk of love are gone. Forever. Never coming back.
Another one is my 15 month old niece. She’s teething and has the full on booger thing happening this week. And Jesus help me, she has tears. Alligator tears. All day. And no napping.
The other seven kids are pretty easy. Except that they run in and out all day and I now have seven houseflies in the house. They also talk. And whine. And eat all the livelong day.
Then there are four other kids outside. They are not mine and I am not responsible for them, but y’all they are still at mi casa. Tearing up my miniscule patch of grass and dragging out all the toys and broken down pieces of everything under the sun and they LEAVE THEIR SNACK TRASH IN MY YARD.
Help me Jesus.
It is also hot as Hades out there and the cups of water requests are doing me in. They’re doing me in y’all. Actually, I’m done. Like all the way.
This is the state of my world today. And yesterday and probably tomorrow. I’m praying not tomorrow.
And then there’s the whole other world outside of my street and I can’t escape the feeling that I’m supposed to do something that I’m not yet doing.
Sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know and sometimes the not knowing is nice.
Ignorance is bliss. Especially when you learn or see or hear things that you wish you hadn’t.
Because once you know, you can’t not know. You know?
It seems to me that for the last two weeks, the world has been on standby waiting for the other shoe to drop or for Jesus to come back and save us from ourselves.
This world is a vile place and we humans do vile and unspeakable things to one another. And sometimes the righting what is wrong in this world feels too big and too hard and too costly. And to be honest, we feel small and insignificant, like our tiny offerings of peace on earth and good will towards men won’t be enough.
So we hide out and hole up and delve into mindless television or poorly written novels. We eat cartons of ice cream and watch the news waiting for someone to do something. We waste time scrolling social media and reading what folks are saying about the state of the world that we can’t touch and we climb into bed exhausted with all the knowing of the things we wished we didn’t.
On Tuesday, when the last of the babies had left my nest for the night, I made a quick run to the grocery store. I don’t normally make runs to the store mid-week, but we were out of all the have to haves, so I went.
When I gathered myself into the car and pulled out of the drive, I realized that the half-dozen kids still kicking up dust in my front yard would probably be there when I got back.
Unloading groceries in front of children who have little to no food in their pantries is always awkward, but it happens nearly every week. And after two years of navigating all shades of awkward here, I still don’t know how to handle the unloading the car deal.
I was gone for less than an hour and when I returned, the crowd in the yard had grown by three. And as always, I felt my throat tighten with insecurity and the deep rooted feeling that this is all wrong.
I sighed as the kids clamored around the sacks of groceries and I tried to shew them off, not wanting them to see what I’d been able to buy. But the kids were relentless and the smallest one, the one with the curly lashes and big eyes, wouldn’t take no for an answer.
“Let me at ’em,” he’d said. “I can carry all of them.”
I handed him the tub of ice cream and the bag of sugar and then watched him drag them across the dirt and into the house. The other kids grabbed a sack and just like Little Man, they carried them into the house.
I followed in behind them to put the groceries away and after a few minutes alone, I realized that Little Man was standing in the office watching me work.
“What’s up?” I asked him.
“When you gonna give me some of that ice cream I drug up in here?” he asked. He was grinning.
I smiled and sent him outside with the others and then set about scooping fifteen cones of ice cream.
And I relished in the idea that fifteen ice cream cones would bring a smidgen of order to the chaos in my little world.
My house has been quiet now for an hour, the time it’s taken me to tap out this sloppy post, and honestly, I don’t even know where I’m trying to go with all these words. I hadn’t thought I’d write this week in light of the whole world falling to pieces, but the writing helps me process all the levels of crazy going on around me.
And I thought maybe my crazy making here could help you, too.
Here’s what I know, in a list form because the baby is beginning to stir and I have no time to wrap this up with a bow:
1.) The whole world is falling to pieces. It truly is.
2.) God is not asking us to put it all back together, just like it was before the Fall.
3.) God is asking us, His little image bearers, to live in this world in such a way that when the broken down, the hurt, the angry, the forgotten, the mistreated, the unloved, come face to face with us, they want the Jesus who dwells within us.
4.) Because Jesus is the only HOPE we have and He has already overcome the world.
5.) Go live small, right where you are because your place and your people need the HOPE living in you.
And nap time is over…pray I don’t cry?
I love y’all. I really do.