Sometimes life is hard. Hard for a minute...For a few days...For months or even years...Whatever kind of trial we face, we ALL face difficult times, and in the midst of the hard, it's even harder to see the good that is coming from it. As James tells us, we should count it as joy when we face trials because it's producing good in us that we will later see (my paraphrase). Ah, so much easier to look back on a trial and see the good, to see the purpose, to see what we were being taught although we couldn't see it at the time.
Last week I faced one of those short-lived, 5 day long trials. Last week I had the stomach flu. Having the stomach flu sucks. Having the stomach flu at 35 weeks pregnant really sucks.
But as the flu came to an end and I reflected over the week, I realized I had gained a fresh perspective, and that's always good. What is this perspective, you ask?
I'm calling it my 'couch perspective'. Basically I did nothing for a few days except lay on the couch and watch my husband do everything for me...things I do every weekday while he is at work. I watched my kids instead of doing things for them. I watched Brad do all the work, almost as if I were watching myself during a normal day of the week, dealing with the good, the bad and the ugly. And my eyes were opened...
You see, often times I am so caught up in the doing...the getting everyone up and dressed, teeth brushed, bellies fed, dishes done, diaper bag packed, getting places semi--on-time, lunches made, the ordeal of getting everyone down for a nap, cleaning up messes...that I lose sight of the little people I am doing things for. I get focused on the tasks at hand, and forget the faces and souls. This makes me irritable and easily frustrated. When I forget the people behind what I'm doing, the people become obstacles to what I'm doing. It doesn't even make sense. As I sat and watched everything going on around me, without being busy myself, I saw the girls differently. I saw a joy and enthusiasm for life so beautiful and innocent and pure that it can only belong to a little child. I saw that even in their naughtiest moments, it was rarely intentional naughtiness. It was like they were so excited and so enthralled in whatever they were focused on, that they literally lacked the ability to be obedient in that moment. Instead of seeing them as disobedient, I saw them as so incredibly happy about little things...sitting inside a cabinet pretending, um, whatever it is that they pretend in there (I'm not always privy to this kind of info); peeling stickers off a page in their coloring book that they just discovered; twirling in tutus; 'washing' their dishes in the bathroom sink. The small things are so important to them. Yes, obedience is important, I'm not saying it's not. But I saw that I could handle a lot of things a lot differently, if only I stepped back from my 'job' of doing doing doing, and saw things from a little person's perspective. I just might have more grace and patience. I might experience some of their uninhibited joy over the mundane. And I might not care so much if we take our sweet time getting in the car. Who really cares if we're two more minutes late anyway? (Okay, I might, but I'm working on it!)
I want to slow down and continually see things the way I saw them when I was sick. Two, soon to be three, little girls in love with life. Little girls who want to share their love for small things with one of their favorite people in the world: their mommy. I need to be more and do less. More leisurely time spent walking downtown after running my errands, letting them linger at the candy store for twenty minutes just to pick out two pieces of candy. Less "Hurry up, it's time to go!"