28 April 2014

as if this were the last time

Ellie woke up at 6:20 this morning.

I nursed her, then slipped her back into the crib, hoping to have at least half an hour more to myself. No luck. We soon landed on the couch, Ellie jabbering happily as she looked out the window. I was cranky. Not only had she woken me up before my alarm, which usually goes off at 6:30, but her chirpy wiggly presence also made it impossible to have my devotions. (If I tried she'd either shriek so loud I couldn't concentrate, or try to rip the pages out of the Bible.) It was not a good start to the day.

But what if this is the last time I get to do this?

Sometimes I am trying to grade papers or do heavy-duty research, and I'm just getting into a groove when Ellie decides that now would be a good time for me to read her a book. She comes over and pulls on me, wails despairingly, drips tears everywhere. I really don't want to close the computer. This is an important project, Ellie! Why can't you read the book by yourself? I don't think it is necessary for me to get down on the floor. I could ignore her crying and soldier on with my work. She'll get over it.

But what if this is the last time I get to do this?

Psalm 16 says, "The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance." Currently, my boundary lines include a crucial responsibility to my child. Responsibility that trumps all the others. I was challenged, this morning, to believe God's word: that these are pleasant lines, and that His gift to me is beautiful, even when it seems inconvenient.

And Ellie is not an inconvenience! She is part of my inheritance today, a precious body and soul who may be the only baby we ever welcome into our family. It took a long time for me to get pregnant. I have no idea if I'll be able to conceive again, so I usually consider her, and my experiences with her (from early wake-up calls to reading The Very Busy Spider for the millionth time), as one time events. I try to treasure them accordingly. I cannot count on having more babies, and say to myself "Oh well... even if I ignore her now, I'll make it up with her younger siblings." Of course, that would be an awful thing to say even if I knew that we would have ten more kids, but still!

Remembering that I cannot take Ellie for granted helps me to push aside my own desires and happily take her up on my lap once again.

I ended up praying and reciting Scripture to myself as I cuddled my little girl on the couch. God used that-- of course-- to completely change my attitude towards her. Older moms never tire of telling me that time zooms by, that she'll be graduating from high school before I know it. Well, it's true. I'm not going to spend these short years lamenting Ellie's failure to adhere to my schedule, or her propensity to interrupt my other work. She is my most important work, and I love her more than sleep or tidy research or a quiet cup of coffee.
The years of our life are seventy,
or even by reason of strength eighty;
yet their span is but toil and trouble;
they are soon gone, and we fly away . . .
So teach us to number our days
that we may get a heart of wisdom . . .
Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love,
that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
(Psalm 90)

1 comment:

  1. Living in the present and seeing the blessings day by day.

    I have always found that Clive Staples Lewis could put such things into thoughtful words.

    “The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding
    all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one's 'own,' or 'real'
    life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one's real life -- the life God is sending one day by day.”