I’ve been having a rough go of it lately. There’s just a lot going on and I don’t seem to be able to successfully tackle much of it. For every one step forward, I find myself three steps (at least!) behind. My (mostly self-induced) to-do list is unbearable and I just want to hibernate. This weather doesn’t help. There’s a reason we live in Atlanta, right?
Thirty minutes ago, I walked outside to take Halloween decorations to the basement for storage until next year. Just. check. one. thing. off. the. list. On my way down the steps, I glanced further out into the yard and discovered that the babysitter had allowed my son to leave his shoes outside over the weekend and there they had remained during the past three rainy days. Where were they? Next to the uncovered sandbox, which was now filled with four inches of mucky rainwater, leaves, and pine straw. I gruffly walked over to clean up the mess, fully prepared to do so and then promptly stomp back inside to write about how life really had thrown lemons at me. This was evidence. Rotten lemons, at that!
Except, about 25 or so buckets of cold, stale, rainwater later, I found myself in a completely different place. This mundane, uncomfortable, and presumably time-wasting task had revealed something to me that was becoming more clear with each and every scoop.
I am so blessed, I thought. My baby is so exhausting. But also? He is the happiest, sweetest little boy ever. And? He’s sleeping peacefully inside while I scoop this water. And? He’s for the most part healthy and developing well. My older son has some challenges that have been coming more to a head recently. But? He has more zest for life than nearly anyone I’ve ever met. And? He’s got the best teachers ever. And, by a miraculous twist of luck, fate, or God’s grace, he’s in an environment that suits him so well for most of the day. I can be sure he’s learning, and growing, and even loved there. Even more-so, I have a safe, dry home over my head.
You see, instead of a silly, plastic sandbox filled with a few toys, I am so aware that I could be digging through a flooded home searching for salvageable belongings. Instead of returning inside to a peaceful home with soft music playing and a white noise machine whirring from my toddler’s room, I could be mourning the loss of life of a loved one. God spoke gently, but strongly, to me today through that yucky sandbox. “Be grateful,” I heard, ever so firmly, but kindly. “Even this task, this time, is a gift. I am with you and you have so very much.”