A dark and broken place

There’s a McDonalds I come to on Tuesday nights. I spend $1.08 and get a drink, sometimes tea, sometimes Coke. Sometimes I just get water. Once I ordered nothing at all. I sit here for 75 minutes while the girls are nearby attending choir. There is free wifi here and lots of fodder for the people are broken file. Last week I watched four teenagers eat burgers while two of them pawed each other the entire time and I wondered if they had parents or if their parents cared or if I would one day be foster parenting their not-yet-baby. Tonight there is a couple nearby. She’s crying. He’s yelling. Their toddler baby is wandering close by and their kindergarten age boy is climbing on the play place. I hear DUI and I hear you don’t care and I hear pain. A lot of pain.

On Sunday night Maddie and I stopped at another McDonalds on the turnpike. The options between Oklahoma City and Tulsa are pretty limited when you need gasoline and are hungry. We went in and as we were finishing up we saw a 40-something cowboy come in with a 10-something boy. The man hugged the boy. He hugged him again and again. And the boy was crying. And the boy walked across the restaurant towards the other door where his mother was waiting for him. And he held out his hand to his dad and waved one more time. And the dad held back tears and waved back and then turned around and walked out the door he came in.

And I broke down in tears right there in the McDonalds. Much like I’m about to do right now. Because there is so much that is dark and broken in this world I can hardly breathe.

I went to Owasso this weekend to file some will and trust parents at the county courthouse for my parents. It was the final step in what turned into six month process of me trying to help them get their legal lives in order. I mediated some tension between my dad and the hospice nurse who came out for the first time. Having hospice step into the story was not an easy move for my parents. It is a necessary one, but necessary does not equal easy.  And I watched my mom. And it was hard.

And I’ve been so quiet about the boys lately because they have grown right into my heart and their story is my story and when their story takes a turn next month it’s going to rip a hole right through me.

And there is so much that is dark and broken in this world I can barely breathe.

I can’t pray. I can’t talk. I can’t think. I can only cry.

And I have to hope that God hears my tears and translates them into the prayer I mean them to be.

Because there is just so much that is dark and broken in this world I can hardly breathe.

Happy Birthday, Mom

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My mom turned 67 today and we celebrated by invading her space with 8 additional people and being present with her for the evening. I’m thankful to be able to celebrate with her today.

I made French Mousse for her birthday because she really can’t handle breads and cakes anymore. I’m here to tell you, the birthday mousse was a happy thing that may become a more permanent rotation on the birthday menu around here. It was pretty fantastic if I do say so and my ability to follow a recipe is still intact. *grin*

In other news, I went to Walmart earlier today for the ingredients, only I’d forgotten to search for them before I went. So I googled on my phone “French Mouse Recipe” by accident. And, y’all, that’s a completely different type of food and not one I was willing to experiment with today.

So, Mom, your real birthday present today was that I caught my spelling mistake and found the right recipe.

I love you, Mom.

Happy Birthday

 

Immanuel, God With Us

Craig passed out Bible reading plans to all of us at dinner tonight and suggested our family make a solid attempt at reading through it at the same pace. I know I’ve been needing to do this again, but there was just something about the gentle appeal in his eyes as he passed it out that bore right through me and made me want to to step up and try again.

The funny moment at the table came when he told the boys he had one for them too. They cheered because, well, everyone else was getting a piece of yellow paper from Daddy and it was awesome that they were too! So A5 got his and he glanced at it and then up at me and he looked a little worried as he whispered, “But I can’t even read yet! Maybe I need glasses!”

We giggled and assured him it would be okay.

So later I started reading. Genesis 1. Matthew 1. Ezra 1. Acts 1.

And I didn’t really expect to hear much from God in these first chapters of four books, two of which I’d read a bazillion times, one a handful of times, and one maybe once.

So I was just buzzing my way through Matthew 1 when I got to verse 23, where I read, “And they shall call his name Immanuel (which means, God with us). And I stopped and started crying. Because for the longest time I’ve been living only as though God was near us, but not necessarily with us.

Being with us has implications, don’t you know? Implications that he does indeed see into our lives, speak into our lives, care about our lives.

After a year that hasn’t been particularly AWESOME, I sometimes wonder. And tonight it was as though he just pulled up a chair next to me and looked me in the heart and let me know he was.

Honestly? I’m not all that pumped about 2014 either. There are definite things I’m excited about, but definite things I’m dreading as well. And I wonder how many things I have to check off my self-righteous to-do list before I’ll really believe God cares.

Tonight was a tip toe back in the direction of maybe believing again that I don’t really have to do anything. He is with us because He is.

Immanuel. God With Us.

God with me.

Right now.