Swinging the world by the tail, bouncing
Sometimes in the thinking of life you find some solace. Not necessarily because you satisfy yourselves but rather you may just realize and come to rest on those things that are ‘actuals’; the things that matter now – and always will.
The yard needed to be mowed. Badly. After refusing to grow grass since early spring, in a weird twist of timing the yard was demanding to be mowed – and the last thing I wanted or needed to do was mow the yard.
I usually don’t mind mowing the yard and it allows time to think but on that night I didn’t really want to think. It really was a perfect storm of emotions that were swirling in my mind that night; our oldest child being married, ongoing vehicle issues, the priceless wonder of seeing a nephew adopted from foster care, our own foster frustrations, and the daily reality of being a human, spouse, and parent.
Oh, and it was 8:40PM before I could start. And then came the praying, the thinking, and the praying.
The first reminder that came that night is that our hopes and dreams for our kids are always bound up in who they are. Whether or not they are a kind person, a compassionate person, or a giving person is the sum total of what matters. Everything else is fluff. This can be helpful when we begin to give consideration to where our kids may or may not live, and the pursuits of their lives. We’ve always known this, but the finality of a wedding helps drive this point home.
The second reminder and reality that came that night is that we should never forget that more is caught than taught. Both of my boys are old enough and certainly capable of mowing our yard. They also have been working full-time jobs and have other things that occupy their time. As I attempted to not miss any spots in the growing darkness I thought about how much easier it would have been to ‘tell’ one of the boys to cut the grass. However, if there is anything Christy and I have learned it is that our kids learn so much more from what they observe in us, than they do from the instructions they receive. And sometimes life insists that we mow our grass when we can’t hardly see.
The third reality came from what I was blessed to observe that morning. When Christy and I started our foster journey a little over three years ago we found out that my youngest sister and her husband had started their own journey at almost the exact same time. This past month, they adopted one of their former placements. The reality is this; let your heart be broken over what matters. Every day and twice on Sunday. As our very large and very extended family joined in that zoom call to watch and listen to the proceedings I realized that the joy and happiness would not be happening had my sister and brother in law not freely given up their hearts to love and potentially be crushed. Always be willing to have your heart be broken for that which always matters.
It was dark, and almost 9:30. I had started the task feeling frustrated and discouraged and yet as I pushed the mower back across the yard the last few times I was encouraged. I knew that in the morning I would see some patches that I missed but I felt the joy of completing a necessary task and the strength and hope that comes from knowing the presence of God. And then Allison Kraus and Robert Pratt came across Pandora with this iconic lyric:
Somebody said they saw me
Swinging the world by the tail
Bouncing over a white cloud
Killing the blues
My 45 minutes of mowing had come to an end but those three realities were resonating within my spirit in a way that they had not been when I had started. Truly, for just a few minutes I had been swinging the world by the tail. If you’re so inclined, click the movie below for more Alison Krauss’ as she joins Andrea Bocelli in singing Amazing Grace.