It’s certainly that day. It’s not that day I’m on the mountain. It’s not even that day I’m on a hill. I am deep in the valley and it does not feel good.
First thing this morning I discovered that LeBonheur Children’s Hospital, a Methodist affiliated hospital in Memphis that we love and support, lost a registered nurse, a respiratory therapist, and a pilot in a helicopter crash outside of Somerville. It was heartbreaking and is, as I’ve since discovered that the pilot had a wife and two children and the women were both married, each with three children. It’s heartbreaking. It’s terrible. It’s the kind of thing that makes me want to completely internalize the situation and put my arms around my son and squeeze him as if he was those children who’d just lost their mommy or daddy. Then there’s my child who won’t let me put my arms around him if I tried!
It’s that day. I’m 26 hours into solo-momdom — it’s every week. Craig heads to class in Memphis and doesn’t come back for 36 hours. This time it is more like 39 hours because he needed to meet with someone in Jackson to fulfill an assignment for class. It’s 3 extra hours and boy can I feel it.
Cooper’s in a place where he doesn’t want to eat just anything. He doesn’t begin to want to change his diaper and he puts up a BIG fight every time. He doesn’t want to ride in the car without watching Elmo on the iPad. So, of course, today he’s being super-picky about eating, he kicked me HARD in the stomach while I was trying to change THE worst diaper resulting in a bad word from me, poop everywhere, and a laugh from him and all this happened while the new pup that can’t seem to “get it” was leaving a friendly deposit on the living room floor–a deposit he couldn’t seem to leave outside 10 minutes earlier because he was too busy chasing someone down the street. Oh and the iPad battery ran dry coming home from the store and we won’t even mention that terrible trip.
Today is that day. I spoke to a woman on the phone earlier whom I could not visit yesterday at the hospital because yesterday was a bit of that day too–that day when I cannot seem to get ahead or effectively duplicate myself because the technology isn’t there yet–that day where my husband, who I know doesn’t WANT to be gone, will probably “get it” even though it’s not his fault, I’ll cry, and I’ll feel like a failure.
It’s usually reserved for funerals but Psalm 23 fits today. “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.” Pause. This isn’t the part. It’s more, “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,” and now, “I will fear no evil for thou art with me.”
It surprises me sometimes. I do NOT want to be in this valley or any valley of life. Why on earth would God be here too? Well, because despite the bad word and poop, despite the LONG to-do list or feelings of inefficiency, that God sees the good. It’s still here. I’m disheveled and tired and blogging from my phone and though I feel just rotten and overwhelmed, God sees good.
All throughout history, God picked the craziest bunch. Sarah laughed. Abraham lied. Jonah ran. Jacob tricked. Rahab, well, let’s just say she had a questionable profession. Even Jesus asked God to change the plan. I fit right into that list — even on this day — even though I’m walking through the valley.
There’s hope in this. My only conversation partner today has a 20 word vocabulary and then there’s God. God doesn’t much mind the bad word, the poop, or the tears. God even encourages me to let up on myself and though God’s in the valley with me, God doesn’t necessarily want me to be there and God’s grace is a sufficient stepping stone up.
Take a step. I am.