Shit Meet Fan

December 12, 2008

Oh wait, I’m sorry, you two have already become well acquainted in calendar year 2008. But hey, look upon this as an opportunity to deepen your relationship, to spend some quality time together, to learn each other’s measure a bit more.

I could rewind and post some of last year’s writings to remind you of some of your earlier meetings when you two created quite a well, you know, a shitstorm?

Short version: A 3:30 am Thursday morning phone call from my mom — my dad’s in the hospital in A-fib again, which basically means that his heart is out of regular rhythm, and underscores the immediate need for the double valve replacement surgery about which I wrote last year. But life, being life, and my father being my father — the surgery didn’t happen last year. And so it is upon us again. The doctor wants my dad to stay in the hospital while all the experts work on getting his heart back in sinus rhythm (first by trying to chemically fix the A-fib with medicine and if that doesn’t work, by essentially shocking his heart with the little paddles), stay in the hospital until the surgeon returns from vacation on Monday, and have the surgery as soon as the schedule permits. My dad debates whether to follow this advice or to wait until the New Year, both because of the holidays and his business, which is ridiculously busy during these last weeks of the year.

Tim has had some interviews, some good ones, but nothing yet on the job front.

Somewhere in this time frame, the washing machine croaked and my computer is dying a slow and agonizing death, where every day it loses just a little bit more of what it should do (like scrolling with the touch pad feature or recharging with the power cord or you know, having the space bar workconsistentlyyouseewhatImean).

And I’m tired. I hadn’t been able to fall asleep Wednesday night, so when my mom called, I had only been sleeping for an hour. I’m not trying to whine, really. But ick.

I was praying yesterday, as I’ve been praying of late, for strength, for hope, for more of Jesus. And I started to think about Christmas and money and stress and how maybe we should have told the kids that they couldn’t get much this year due to finances. But Tim and I opted to buy them the items they really want (I-pods for the boys and a portable DVD player for Abby), as well as some other smaller-priced stuff for the sake of having packages to open. And yesterday I thought about how people might judge us for that — I mean we’re in seriously crummy financial straits and spending must be careful, so I can picture people muttering to themselves, “God, why would they buy that stuff for the kids? What’s wrong with them?”

While we can all argue that kids today, mine included or especially, are spoiled — it’s more than that. I find such joy in giving my kids what they really want. I want to see their faces, I want to feel their happiness. As a parent, it’s my heart toward my children to love, love, love blessing them in all sorts of ways, large and small.

After I left the hospital yesterday, I was begging God about a lot of things: health for my dad of course, as well as my mom, for me to feel more strength and less exhaustion post surgery, and especially for Tim’s job situation. Honestly, it wasn’t an eloquent prayer — more like, “Dude, really? My dad in the hospital now? Oh God, I can’t do it right now. I really can’t.” And I felt like he told me to listen, which frankly, I didn’t feel much like doing. I was still back at “Dude, really? Really?” But I shut up for a moment and I felt like God brought to mind this issue of gift giving. “Oh great,” I thought to myself. “God’s going to remind me of how much I really suck by confirming that we never should have spent that money on the kids.” (Luckily, of course, God can’t, you know, read my mind or anything, so He had no idea whatsoever that my attitude might have been a tad lacking.) But instead He brought to mind the truth that every good and perfect gift comes from Him, and that the Bible says that if we, as flawed and sinful humans, can give our kids good gifts, how much better can He do so, what with the Holy Spirit and all.

And okay, I confess that my first thought was, “Well, that’s nice God. Whatevs. But what are you going to do about all of these circumstances that hurt so damn much?” But then He said to me, “Why are you so afraid that I don’t desire to bless you? That I don’t want to see your joy when I give you whatever it is you want?” And wow, it’s a good question. Why do I live my life in such fear? Kids, by and large unless we’ve really screwed up repeatedly, don’t fear their parents. They live in (a sometimes even selfish) expectation that we will bless them. Not just that we’ll get them what they want for Christmas, but that of course, we’ll make their lunches; of course, we’ll listen to their problems; of course, we will love and take care of them. And we’re supposed to approach God like children. I think this is kind of big (at least to me): I am supposed to live in expectation not of perfection and ease and everything I want exactly when I want it — but in expectation of His blessing. I am supposed to live in the knowledge that He does give good gifts solely because He wants to. Suffering is part of this life, but wouldn’t it be mitigated, wouldn’t it be transformed even, if I could stop being so afraid and start being expectant of His goodness?

Man, I don’t have this figured out yet. I don’t really know, despite being a Christian for a number of years, how really to approach Him like a child. I’m still pretty wrapped up in worrying about the aforementioned shit and fan and who’s going to have to clean up all that mess…but God’s onto something here (imagine that) in my life. Something big that could change my whole approach to Him.

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3 Responses to “Shit Meet Fan”

  1. Tay-Lo said

    I have an old washing machine in my garage.

    And don’t think I’ve forgotten about that old invite to come hang out at your place. I shall redeem this with food and/or drink in hand. Requests?

    –Andy Taylor

  2. Beth said

    Thank you for the offer Andy — my parents actually gave us one for Christmas (early thank goodness or we would have had to go naked and believe me, NO ONE wants that).

    Any food and/or drink, so long as it comes with your company, sounds perfectly lovely. Call me or Tim and let’s make real arrangements for sometime super soon.

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