Today I wandered the isles of Grocery Outlet, our local selling-almost-past-selling-date store that sports random organic/not-organic/hodgepodge food stuffs, seasonal GO-branded bobble heads, blaring catchy commercial jingles on overhead speakers, and sporting plenty of space (and gracious workers) for my littles (not so little since last I wrote) to roam. The speakers warbled a familiar tune, one from my youth: “Country roads, take me home, to the place that I belong …” Yes, my parents listened to John Denver. Yes, I saw John Denver in concert at a very, very young age. Yes, today I whistled along to the tune just as my father would have. Some habits are hard (or near impossible) to “un-learn”: they’re so engrained that they seemingly become part of one’s personhood.
This site has been fairly dormant for a while now. I’ve been busy birthing and tending to Littles: three darling persons who are a combination of DNA from me and my husband, and yet more than that. My littlest – a girl – can make a face (happy or cranky) so mirroring my mother that I have to do a double-check as to whether I’m responding as a mother or a daughter. And people I encounter in public give offerings – “Oh, he looks more and more like you with each passing day!” followed a few moments later with someone exclaiming, “THAT’S your kid?!! How is he related to you?!!” Generally comments center around the theme of energy (they have a lot), spunk (they have a lot), opinions (likewise), and rest (yeah: not so present).
Today while wandering the store isles, not knowing where my children were but sensing I could find them near the Easter decorations or discounted toys, I realized I’m formed by elements I would never have expected or desired. John Denver songs: really? And the following Beatles songs I know not from my folks but from watching Help with my high school friends. And yet: those melodies are home to me. Local stores (not truly “local” in a sustainable sense, but rather on my morning driving route) and their employees are community. And my Quaker upbringing?! …
Selfishly, lazily, I ache to know certainty – something that is solid. I thought that was my “religious” upbringing. But it’s not. This past weekend I bought my first Bible. Yes, I have a lot of versions of the Bible, but I’ve never bought my own. My work requires a certain translation that I can find on an obscure website; but I “randomly” came across a pretty, slim, cheap copy at a beach outlet mall bookstore. What should I read first in this sacred book? I thought about the first time that scripture came alive to me – reading the book of James at a junior high camp. Yeah: that should’ve sent off some warning bells about the kind of life I might be sent down (trials – tribulations – endurance: not my strong points), and yet: sigh. I whistled along as I read the oh-so-familiar words that seemed new in an odd sort of way.
Previously this website centered around my Quaker upbringing. But as of late I listen to Bethel Church podcasts and whistle along to the songs on the Jesus Culture Pandora channel. I attend local charismatic conferences and listen to some neo-Calvinist sermons. And I find life and hope and joy when a Grocery Outlet worker asks me how my day is going and if my daughter (not even three) would like a greeter job at the store (because she’s just that gregarious, hanging onto the shopping cart and smiling as though she’s in a parade, greeting her public).
Before I thought I knew what I was doing; now I certainly know that I don’t. And yet – the words still want to break forth. Just as my three children are breaking forth from their rooms, very certain that Quiet Time is over. “Mom, it’s three three zero. Quiet Time is over. And we’re cleaning up as fast as we can.” Yes, yes, you are. And so are my words.
So let it be said, so let it be done. (Ten Commandments junkie to the end – some things never change.)