Sunday, June 29, 2008

waves: highs and lows

Last week we were at the beach, frolicking in the waves, sun and sand.  It was blissful.

This week is not blissful.  

The news of the death of two children in our church community, our pastor's possible exposure to bloodborne pathogens while saving lives during a roadway accident in Haiti, our friend's son, 2, continues declining with a mysterious undiagnosed illness, closing our business, and my mother's further mental and physical downfall and being admitted into a full-care nursing home.

At the top of the world one moment, and crashing down into suffering the next.  (Fitting that the sermon series starting next week is about suffering.)

Last week juxtaposed with this week reminds me of our last day at the beach.  

The surf was up, dude!  And, the surfers were out, so fun to watch.  Even my daughter, 6, caught a few on her boogie board.  While son, 5, built castles to destroy on shore, Hubby was out in the thick of it as King Triton, body surfing, boogie boarding, and definitely in his element.  We rocked and rolled in the awesome translucent azure crests.  

Then princess got blasted by a big one and choked down some of the briny deep.  Screech!  The fun came to a crashing halt, and mom and child hurried to the umbrella for some dry towels and water.  As quickly as the fun had begun, it was turned off with a light switch.

Life is like that, and I'm figuring out where God fits into all this.  Smiling contentedly while lounging in a chair sipping diet coke with lemon at the beach club one minute, and fighting tears and screams the next with another bout of bad news.  

And, through good times and bad, God is always there, always comforting, always holding us.  The Casting Crowns song, "Love Them Like Jesus" gives me some direction.  Here's an excerpt.  My journey continues and I will keep you posted...

You’re holding her hand, you’re straining for words
You’re trying to make sense of it all
They’re desperate for hope, darkness clouding their view
They’re looking to you

Just love them like Jesus, carry them to Him
His yoke is easy, His burden is light
You don’t need the answers to all of life’s questions
Just know that He loves them and stay by their side
Love them like Jesus

Saturday, June 28, 2008

trophies in the trash

We're cleaning out our personal effects from the office so the new sub-leaser can move in.  

School pictures of our kids, shots of recruits on promotion days, snaps of us with various "important" people are still framed and stuffed into boxes littered with aspirin, tape, CDs, staples, tissues and batteries.  We're deciding how many of the twenty (TWENTY!?!?) three-ring binders to keep, what items to donate, and how to get the plants and the two pieces of furniture I want now in only one trip.

I'm scanning the piles of the past five years of our lives and I feel like we're emptying out grandpa's house.  "I want to keep this dish, oh, these are Tim's, that belongs to Jim, sure throw that old thing away, remember when we..."  There's a bittersweet quality to leaving a business, like leaving a house where you can't take everything with you.  

Trophies that we once held in pride now sit in a dumpster.  Susie's sweater smells like something the cat dragged in, yet can I really throw it away?  I don't even know where she moved.  When our sub-leaser moves out, should we sell the furniture on Craig's List or eBay?  Our current supply of coffee filters will last two full years!  Woo hoo!

So much of our business is irrevocably tied to this city, these people, our friends.  We never did business with strangers, even if we didn't know you at first.  We never did anything wrong.  We did our best every day, gave 110%, remained ethical and always truthful.  We always taught, believing that the best clients were ones who could make informed decisions.  We always thought that if we did what was right and just for our clients, that it would be enough.

It wasn't.

We learned a great deal.  We made some good friends.  We better understand our strengths and weaknesses, so Hubby can head back into the corporate world with broader skills, and I can find a job doing what I love.

And yet today was a necessary oddity: tossing trophies into the trash.  Okay, I kept a few good ones. 

Like when my grandfather died and my dad sat at the kitchen table going through his billfold.  "One man's life reduced to the contents of a wallet," dad had said and pulled out each item to examine.  That was another bittersweet moment in time, the memory of watching my father mourn his papa by caressing the pictures, driver's license, and business and member's cards, as if he could still touch his father.  Connecting to him through the things he left behind.  

And, today another mourning.  The life of our business reduced to the contents of a dumpster and a few precious boxes brought home.  When it's all said and done, you only have the memories.  The things wear out or break, and sometimes you just have to throw some stuff away, because do you really want your third grade spelling bee trophy sitting on the mantlepiece when you're thirty?

It's time to move on.  It's time for new challenges, and more hours with the family.  It's time for us to give up the "when...then" thinking that accompanies every great adventure.  We must give up those dreams and hopes, but also I'll gladly give up those fears and rejections.

They say it's much harder on men, being laid off or closing a business.  So much of their ego is tied into work.  Please pray for Hubby as we move through these difficult weeks.  He's going to need the support.  Thanks.   

Please also vote for our sub-leaser, BJ Lawson: (US Congress, NC 4th District).

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Gulping Air

Random thoughts as I gulp air between a family visit and our family vacation...

White bathing suits look good only on elementary school girls.

Transformers come in four difficulty levels, 1 is easy and 4 is hardest, and we always end up with 3's.

No matter how hard you plan something, it will turn out differently than you imagined.

Sugar, children and sitting quietly don't mix.

My husband's margaritas will puncture a hole in your brain.

If my sister is the special edition Christmas Bob Mackie Barbie you don't take out of the box, I'm the four years old one whose hair is mussed and clothes have come on and off so often they're soft and easy.

My daughter is the snuggliest girl on the planet.

My five-year-old son acts like a frat boy.

The beach is a perfect place to have a vacation.  See you all next week!!! 

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Kung Fu Panda

Gotta love the way kids' movies are made these days.  Good stories, enough jokes to keep the parents entertained, and excellent messages.  Man, what a fun thing to do for a living, make these awesome creations.  Another life, perhaps...

It was so hot yesterday that it was hot inside with the AC on.  So, what to do?  Go to the movies.  (I brought a sweater.)  The kids have been counting down the days until June 6th, when Kung Fu Panda opened.  We caved, gratefully, for all concerned.  A sold out show, perfect seats 'cause we got there early, and a huge tub of popcorn--oh, and sweaters, too, for me and the girly-girl.  What fun!

Jack Black is a riot.  That guy expels funny from every pore.  I think the parents were laughing more than the kids in the theater.  And, when leaving the chill of indoors and hitting the heat of the blacktop, to hear my little kitten state emphatically the tag line and meaning of the film, well, let's just say it was a perfect moment.  I won't spoil it by talking about it here--though it IS worthy of a post.

Our kids are so lucky these days to have such awesome entertainment and life lessons all rolled into a star-studded cg cartoon.  Sure beats the Smurfs.  Shiver.