Oh where to start, where to start. I’ve got a story for you. It’s a story about anger, and grace and truth and shame and miracles, yes, miracles. Let’s go microcosm to macrocosm. Are you ready?
Last night our oldest Max was in a funk. You can almost count on it by about 7:30PM. Last night was no exception. He really needs one-on-one time with his mom and dad. Poor guy. He just doesn’t get enough of it. So last night we made a special deal with him that we would put his younger brother and sister to bed and he could stay up with us a bit to watch The Voice. While we were upstairs getting the littles ready, Max came upstairs sobbing. He broke his glasses. He dropped them on the floor and stepped on them. He was hysterical. Inconsolable. Brandon went down to try to find the pieces and put them back together. No luck. It was a mess. We found all the pieces except for one– a lens. It had vanished into thin air.
We found his old frames, but the prescription wasn’t strong enough. He said he couldn’t see. I found a pair of my old glasses. They were too strong. He couldn’t see. I found a pair of Brandon’s old glasses. They worked pretty good, but the frames were waaaay too big. They wouldn’t stay on his face. Sad boy. Tired boy. Frustrated boy. I finally got him to sleep. First thing this morning he comes into my room sobbing. Still upset about his glasses. About not being able to see at school. About not being able to find the mysterious missing lens. I felt helpless as a parent, because I couldn’t fix the problem right then and there. I wanted to end his suffering. I understood how important it was for him to be able to SEE! I didn’t know what to do, so I held him and I prayed. “Dear God, please bring Max peace. Even though we can’t fix this problem right now, even though we can’t get a new pair of glasses before school starts, please bless Max’s eyes so that he can see. Please help us find a solution God. Please bring us peace and wisdom.” And then I told him, “Don’t worry Max, God can do amazing, impossible things. Just wait.” I sent him to get dressed.
Side note: money money money money money money money. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$. MONEY. $$$. MONEY. $$$$$. MONEY. Don’t have enough, never will, bills always mounting, get ahead a little fall back behind, fear of never enough, fear of failure, fear of financial disaster, fear of poverty, fear of not having enough, not being enough. wanting. wanting more. wanting nicer. bigger. better. Want to be debt free. Want to travel. Want to make great family memories. Want to wear beautiful clothes. Eat amazing food. Want to have a beautiful home, a great yard. Want to drive a nice reliable car. Want what I want when I want it.
I called my husband and tried to talk through options: We could go to a one hour glasses place and buy him a brand new pair of glasses and get them right away ($300? $400?). We could see if the one-hour glasses place would put new lenses in his old frames ($100? $200?). We can call the optical store where we bought his glasses and order a new pair. We have the protection program on them. It will only cost $25, but it will take a week or two for the glasses to come in. Brandon doesn’t know what to do either. He says “If we could only find that lens.” I say “I”m sure it’s under the refrigerator, are you sure you looked EVERYWHERE?” He says “Yes, but you could look again.” And I say “Brandon, I am a pretty tiny woman, there is no way I can move that refrigerator by myself.” So we decide on an alternate plan. We hang up. I tell the plan to Max. He’s ok for a minute, and then he starts crying again. He doesn’t want to go to school. I tell him not to worry, we will figure something out today. I send him upstairs for socks. I take a look at the refrigerator, and I say to myself. “I might not be a big person, but I am strong.” And I wrestle that dang refrigerator out of it’s little nook. I climb up on the counter and hang my head behind the refrigerator, and what do I see there glinting in the light, surrounding by a disgusting and slightly concerning amount of dirt and dust? THE LENS. Hallelujah. Hallelujah. Hallelujah.
I call for Max. I tell him to hold my legs so that I don’t fall on my face. I’m laying on my belly on the counter, reaching down and back behind this refrigerator. And I grab the lens. I sit up. I show him. He starts bawling. BAWLING. SHAKING. CRYING. “Thank you thank you thank mom thank you mom thank you mom thank you.” I clean the lens and go to work trying to figure out how to get it back in his glasses. I find the superglue. I get to work. And as he sits there, I tell him. “You see Max, you see? God answers prayers. God may not always answer in the way that you think, or in the exact moment that you want, but God answers prayers.” He looks at me and smiles and starts crying again, and tells me last night in bed he cried and prayed that God would help us find the lens. You can see it on his face. The shock and amazement that his prayer was answered. We revel in the miracle. We revel in the blessing. And then I say to him “You know Max, for all the times that you have thrown those glasses when you are angry, consider the blessing of this moment. Think about that the next time you feel angry and want to throw them.” And he starts crying again and he says “Mom, I lied. I did throw my glasses last night. I didn’t just step on them. I lied. I’m so sorry.” And I hug him close and my heart breaks for him, for the burden of the lie, and for the relief his heart must feel in telling the truth, for the grace in this beautiful moment, for the clarifying feeling of redemption.
I hold his sweet little face in mine, and I look him in the eyes, and I tell him “Max, I want you to remember this moment. I want you to remember how awful it feels to hold a lie in your heart, and how good it feels to tell the truth. I want you to remember this moment as you get older. The lies you might be tempted to tell me are going to get bigger. I want you to remember how good it feels to tell the truth, and I promise you that no matter what, I will always do my best to be understanding and compassionate when you come to me with the truth.” And we hug. And we realize there’s still time to make it to school on time. And we throw on boots and hats and rush out the door and pull up to the school, and as he runs to the door I roll down my window and say “Max, this is going to be the best day of your life, I just know it!” And he waves and runs into the school.
And as I drive away from the school, and the beautiful light of morning is shining through the frost on my windows, and the sky is so blue, and I feel the wonder of grace, of answered prayers, I am hit with a realization. “What if I prayed? What if I prayed, like I did with Max, about my worries? About the $15,000 in medical bills I have no idea how we are going to ever pay off? About the beautiful new bed we just bought (after our dog ruined our old one)? And all the expensive things that need to be fixed?” After I get home I call Brandon. He wants to hear the whole story. I tell it to him, and I tell him to remember, no matter what is happening in your day, when your heart feels heavy like Max’s, when you are in the middle of a problem that you don’t know how to solve, when you feel trapped, stuck, frustrated, PRAY. pray. It works. This morning is proof. Miracles happen. They do. And we hang up. And I’m making myself tea. And I’m looking out the window in my kitchen and it hits me. I have a beautiful, healthy daughter. (We didn’t have maternity coverage when I got pregnant, so we’ve got a pretty big loan from the hospital on her for a few years until she’s paid for!) I wouldn’t trade my beautiful, healthy daughter for ANYTHING. IN. THE. WORLD. She has completed my life, and filled my heart in a way that only she can. She has brought healing to my life that only she could. I don’t care how long it takes, how many yoga classes I might have to teach, to pay for the blessing of her birth. And her arm. Her beautiful healed arm. She broke it last summer. And we had amazing medical care from kind, caring people. Her arm healed perfectly. I wouldn’t trade her beautifully perfectly healed arm for anything in the world. (sigh) Those medical bills don’t worry me so much all of the sudden. And I feel the grace, and the answer to my prayer. Dear God, how do we do this? How do we stay above water? How do we keep it all together? Look at your burdens, and see the blessings. That is a miracle in and of itself.
My son saw the power of prayer this morning. He witnessed it. I saw it in his eyes. I saw his heart open and radiant. And that moment changed and healed me. Miracles happen, and one miracle tends to create a chain reaction. I hope that this story creates a miracle in your day, in your life. No matter who or what or how you believe. That’s your journey. But I want you to know that I believe in the mystery, in the unexplainable, in the power of something greater. My mantra lately has been “All is coming. All is coming. All is coming. Let it come. Let it come. Let it come.” It’s a tiring life thinking we have to make it all, do it all, by the mere force of our human will. There are easier ways. Letting go, having faith, is hard at first. Trusting. Opening our hands so that we are not gripping, so that our palms are outstretched, waiting for the miracle. May your find a miracle today.
And don’t forget to pray. Check out this song by the amazing Sara Groves if you want a little inspiration. It was playing in the background as I wrote this post: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFp6kfEIFS4
Om. Amen. Hallelujah.