Worship Fully – sang a few songs at Bible Study during worship time, but also whispered with my friend (face to face conversation is severely lacking in my life: I steal it where I can)
Spend Less – short trip to the grocery store (probably not necessary, but more of a time killer); less time online; more time Christmas-ing the house with the kids
Give More – unplugged the headphones and conversed with adults; stopped talking and listened to others (some); let the kids help me decorate the house (this is giving for a perfectionist such as myself)
Love All – crabby times happened with the small tykes; found myself having more grace for strangers than for those closest to me – hmmm
Today was Pajama Day at my son’s school. I’m not sure what Pajama Day entails other than wearing the comfy slumber wear out of the house, in the car, and in the classroom where tykes normally don “outdoor clothes”. While this was a fine event last year, this year my son would have none of it. He stormed around the house, making very declarative statements: “I’m NOT going to school!”
I knew what was going on: he was having a hard time adjusting to something new. A few weeks ago he was invited to a birthday party, and while he was excited initially, suddenly he had a change of heart. Instead of poo-pooing it, I let him talk; instead of dismissing him, I looked him in the face, just like I ask of him: “If you want to talk to me, don’t holler from the other room – talk to my face.” Finally he said, “There will be too many kids there, and we’ll get wild, and it will be too exciting, and I’ll get nervous.”
Oh, son, I’m so there with you. And I was so happy that he recognized that about himself! So I repeated it back to him and said it was fine if he didn’t want to go. Then we talked through some scenarios, and he latched onto one, feeling that the excitement would be manageable.
So this morning I tried the same: looking him in the face, listening, repeating back. Except he didn’t come to a place where wearing pjs was okay, so he went to school with his regular clothes, knowing that his friends would ask questions. I felt nervous dropping him off when he curled up at the first questions arose, and I felt similar when I picked him up, but he was okay. The teacher said it sparked some good discussion in class, and I felt his choice was respected: might not be fun, but it was his choice and not my desire.
While he was not wearing pajamas at school, I was at Bible Study, worshiping with wonderful women, making faces at my darling daughter who’s decided to respond to interactions in the world. I’ve been having a hard time getting into the specific study element this semester: my perfectionism kicks in, and I want to do all or nothing. But I am reading the chapters of Luke for the week: this week was all about the Lost (chapters 15-16). When the facilitator asked if we had any thoughts, I almost dove into my typical babblings, rambling on, verbally processing stuff that doesn’t make much sense and probably leaves the group wondering if I know how to form coherent thoughts (the answer is: seldom).
But today, I felt the Holy Clap Over the Mouth, and I listened. People shared their anxiety over feeling secure, opening their lives to strangers, engaging the poor, protecting our children while letting them experience some of the darkness present in this world, speaking freedom to a friend whose time on earth is coming to an end when others aren’t ready to share in speaking that release. How does the story of Lazarus and the rich man relate to us? Someone mentioned cutting back on the food bill: how just because we have access to abundance doesn’t mean we should partake of it.
I don’t have answers. But it felt like a loving thing to simply shut up and listen: not just listen, but look each person in the face.