Monday, January 31, 2011

Transformational Motherhood

I am not whining. Really. This is just a sliver of truth that God helped me see this weekend. I wish sometimes I could pick how lessons are learned. I would have chosen a different path but that's just me and obviously NOT the way things need to be learned around here.
It all started a week ago when Mark called me out to the garage to point at the dryer. It was running - the clothes were spinning around inside it as they should. The problem was that they had been spinning in there for a good 45 minutes and when Mark opened the door the clothes were cold and still very wet.
My dryer is broken. Really? I mean, I literally looked upwards towards heaven and said, "Really, God? My dryer? Right now?" Mark and I are not in position to spend any money to fix the dryer right now. Then I thought about how everything belongs to God and in my momentary lapse of acceptance and understanding I actually said, "What I mean, God, is YOUR dryer is broken." (Not unlike a petulant, spoiled child).
Well, we live in southern California and, as the Midwest and eastward are preparing for yet another cold winter blast of ice, snow and sub-zero temperatures, we are enjoying 70-something degree weather. A few minutes later, as I walked out into the back yard and felt the warmth on my face, I almost could hear the Lord responding, "No, Cyndi. my 'dryer' is working just great.
So there were Mark and I, draping all our laundry across stuff in the back yard, hoping it would dry before the winter sun set. I was pretty cranky about the whole thing, to be honest. When nothing really dried fully and we brought it all in and then had to drape it all over my living room and bathrooms, I got even more cranky. Lots of "sighs" and "Why me's" flitting across my lips. I believe I might have said, more than once, "I HATE this".
Then on this past Friday, I had a couple of extra hours in the late afternoon and I thought I would sneak off to see a movie I really, really wanted to see, The King's Speech. It was by all accounts my kind of movie. Great acting (I love Geoffrey Rush and Colin Firth), historically juicy, and what I used tell my boys about a movie I knew they wouldn't like, an English 'talkie'" movie - In other words, no car chases. Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, A Room With a View, Babe - you know, English talkie movies where nothing much actually happens but you are enthralled nonetheless (if you happen to be me). [OK, Babe takes place in Australia and is about a pig who thinks he's a sheepdog but it kind of fits the criteria. I mostly wanted to see if you were paying attention.]
Anyway, I was so looking forward to this respite in the theater. Then Isaac called from college.
He was coming home, could he bring his laundry? Of course! He arrived with a terrible cold, a paper to write that had to be submitted on-line by 5:00pm and 2 weeks worth of dirty clothes. Before all you perfect mothers jump up and down yelling at me about "enabling", Yes, Isaac is absolutely capable of doing his own laundry. That is not the point of this story.
While he sniffled and cough and sneezed his way through writing his paper, I CHOSE to help him with his laundry.
So there I was, draping his clothes all over the backyard and I was actually humming and smiling. Weird!
I was not at the movie and I knew that I wasn't going to make it to the movie that day. I was hanging socks and Levis and boxers over a temporary clothesline and I was humming. Just five days earlier I had been doing the same activity with my own laundry and I was so cranky that the dog hid under the couch. Now, I was happily humming as I battled with the rickety clothes hanging apparatus, trying to eek out maximum sun exposure.
I was actually startled when that awareness seeped into my brain. The very thing that had made so cranky a few days before was now an opportunity to show love to my child. Trust me, it wasn't at all like Isaac was thinking, "Wow, my mom really must love me - she's out there humming while she drapes my boxers over my workout bench".
It was just this tiny moment when I glimpsed behind the curtain of transformational love. I made the choice to stay home and help Isaac and I was happy. No movie, no matter how many Oscar nominations it received, could fill me with joy like the unexpected opportunity to spend time with an adult child who didn't have to come home but wanted to come home. That movie never stood a chance. It's how God wired us moms. And who better than God understands transformational love? He turned me from a hag to a hummer.
PS: I got to see The King's Speech on Saturday afternoon and it was wonderful. If you are all done with your laundry (or that of a loved one), go see it.


Ellen said...

Right on, mama! Such true insight . . . thanks for sharing, Cyndi. Being a mom keeps transforming me as well (happily), no matter how old my children are (:

MaryBarnett said...

You go, Mom Girl! Proud of your mind shift, I need that lately!

Remember, my dryer is only steps away, relatively speaking! What's mine is yours! <3