Tuesday, October 25, 2011

In Shades of Grace

Don't you wish it weren't so difficult to live life as a child? For there to be no need to make such an effort to see as they see, to do as they do because it still comes unconsciously? naturally?

I envy my three, their lives uncluttered with duties, calendars, and concerns.

A bucket of sidewalk chalk and any semi-smooth surface becomes an impromptu canvas for creating abstract art. A flower petal headband becomes a "pointy" waistband, good for becoming who you are not.Especially when I am crunched for time, when there is work to be done, it is more difficult for me to stretch my mind beyond the literal, the physical here and now.

During last week's trip, I was scurrying around the hotel room, hurriedly shoving PJs in the suitcase so it could be repacked in the van, dressing children one piece of clothing at a time, and painting on just enough make-up so as not to scare the gas station attendant. To make it to Johnathan's by supper time, we had to move. Now.

The children? "Hurry" was not in their vocabulary. The three of them crowded behind the room darkening curtain, looking out from their second story perch...at cows. A field of cows. Important stuff.

With me out of sight, they were suddenly in a world of their own, holding a somber conference about cows and hay.

And me? I am the one who interrupts their world, who drags them back from the majestic mountains of imagination to the unending plains of reality where running isn't allowed, all toys must be picked up because someone might get hurt (like mommy), and nap time is still required.

As I write this, the boys are laying a single line of track over my head from their bedroom door all the way across the foyer to my bedroom. Sounds of wooden track clanking together and murmured exchange of plans as to where to put this curve or that bridge drift downstairs.

I tiptoe up the first few steps, just enough to see over the ledge to the world I am not invited to be part of.

Amelia quietly sits, driving the train up and down a hill. The boys set up trees, a stop sign, and sword-wielding knights within "crashing" distance of the track.

I descend the steps, unwilling to interrupt this shadowy gray world of play where dragons still exist and must be seriously pursued and slayed with Nerf sword and shield, where carnivorous dinosaurs peacefully coexist with Strawberry Shortcake girls, where a paper girl's lunch time prayer over plastic corn and carrots is as important as giving thanks for real food...where it's difficult to tell fact from fiction.

Their world is wonderful, but it isn't easy to navigate, what with its rules being different from the one where I live, where black isn't always black and white isn't always white.

Wyatt's loud "smack" heavenward in church? Upon seeing my stern face, he leaned in and whispered too loudly, "I was blowing a kiss to God." That strong push Emerson just gave his brother? NO, he didn't push Wyatt--he pushed the monster.

Black is not so black.

But maybe motherhood is bending my definitions, too. This mother who always tells the truth? Just last week, I told Wyatt the green flakes in his soup were parsley, consciously choosing to leave out the part about some of the green actually being broccoli. White isn't so white for me either, it seems.

It's not just the children who have turned my two-toned world into one full of color variances. Time in God's Word has done the same. Just last Thursday during prayer walking, I presented my pastor with my most recent head scratcher from the book of Ezra. The Scripture just didn't jive with what I had learned this past summer in my study about God and how He regards covenants. Conveniently, none of the commentaries attacked that passage either.

Shades of gray.

Before children, before seriously beginning to examine the mysteries of God's Word and not just brush over what I didn't understand or add up, life used to be so black and white with everything being clear cut, good or evil, wrong or right.

The more I learn from my children, the more I study His Word, the more I learn how unclear so much really is, how I must choose to live not in the black in white, but in shades of grace...

Grace for my children. Grace for others. Grace for myself.