- a church member just found out he has an inoperable aneurysm and has maybe 6 months to live;
- a close friend is dealing with breast cancer and all of its ugly sides, separation from young children included;
- close friends had to say goodbye to their son/foster child of 27 months.
All of these things irritate me and weigh on me. I can do nothing for any of them, apart from praying, which I have been doing on an almost constant basis. I want to shake the doctor, shake the surgeon, shake the judge. I want to scream, "It's not fair!" and stomp my feet on their behalf.
Lamentations says differently.
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. "The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "therefore I will hope in him" (Lamentations 3:22-24 ESV)."The LORD is my portion..." What does that mean? How do I hope in him?
I haven't really figured it out. And so I continue to mull it over and re-read it and study it and pray it.
The other thing I've been thinking about has been how to impart love to my children when it seems the normal drudgeries of life take all my attention. Or when "I've had the sort of day that would make St. Francis of Assisi kick babies" (Douglas Adams). I don't want my kids to feel like the kitchen sink was caressed more than they were, or that the washing machine received more praise.
I'm not going to lie: it's difficult to have eight children and find ways to let each of them know how they are uniquely special to you. They are, there's no doubt. But slowing down enough to look them in the eyes and truly interact -- even if it's just to really listen to what their dream was last night or what they are going to spend their fake money on -- is important. So I've been trying to be more "in the moment" with each of them. More book reading, more joint efforts at chores, more hugs and giggles and tender words.
Capture the moments. "The days drag on, but the years fly by."