The thing about refreshing and renewing is that you always come back to ordinary life eventually. This weekend I had the opportunity to get away to Omaha to a Women of Faith conference. The theme this year is Infinite Grace. Grace. The concept that I wrestle with over and over again. The idea that I most long to understand, to grasp, to hold on to. The power that I want unbound in my life. What an incredibly appropriate theme for the weekend.
I laughed and cried my way through the weekend. I did my best to try to copy Nicole C. Mullen when she tried to teach our midwestern crowd some dance moves. Yeah, not very successfully. As one of my friends said, “There’s years of solid farm blood in this room, farmers learn how to root themselves to the land in the midwest, and you aren’t going to get them to dance like that.” Or at least, I think she said something like that, I was too busy trying to remember which was my right hand and which was my left and which I was supposed to be pumping in the air at the moment. But the idea was there.
Speaker after speaker spoke straight to my heart, straight to things I needed to hear. I may cover some of those things in future entries. It was wonderful, and we topped it off with a wonderful dinner before heading home. At home I chattered away to my husband about all the fun I had. And then I crashed and went to bed.
Sunday morning I woke up, still riding a tide of happy feelings. I started to putter around in the kitchen, putting away the dishes from the dishwasher load that I had run before I left home on Friday. And there on the counter amidst the dirty dishes from Saturday I saw IT. The note taken from a phone call. “School called, J has detention Tuesday.”
Thud. Good feelings gone. Worries and anxiety crowding in. Detention? J? He’s only in kindergarten! This can’t be right, it isn’t fair. I know he’s had some behavior issues at school this month, but detention? And the title of one of the speaker’s books flashed through my head “Love Me, Never Leave Me”. Oh no! Abandonment! What if my child feels abandoned when he has to serve detention? More worries. More anxiety. Lord? I can’t deal with this! This is real life again! Can’t I go back to the conference where it was nice and safe, and I felt good? I didn’t have to deal with anything there!
No. There is no going back. Like a rest stop along the interstate it was a break. A chance to stretch the parts that need stretching, a chance to get rid of what’s making us uncomfortable, a chance to get some nourishment. But to get to where we’re going we have to get back in the car and we have to keep on driving. We have to drive on through a lot of ordinary spaces.
And that’s what this is, an ordinary space. But Lord? It seems so HUGE! It’s just an ordinary space. Don’t make it bigger than it needs to be. But Lord? I don’t know how to deal with this! What if I handle it wrong? What if? What if? What if?
And the close to one of Nicole Johnson’s skits comes to mind:
“You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.” (Isaiah 26:3 New International Version)
I guess even in the ordinary spaces we can still carry some of what we learned at the rest stop.