This morning I woke up at five o’clock to work on a project. The house was still and dark. When the morning light came in, I could see Helen’s work all over the place. Andrew was late getting home last night from the hospital, and so I let her go into each room and play with her things to stay awake, which means she takes everything out of the basket or cabinet and scatters it all around.
My mother-in-law loaned me a rainbow vacuum cleaner and yesterday I cleaned the floors in every room. But last night when I went to bed, there were toys and socks (she loves to throw socks) everywhere. I remembered all the dirt I emptied from the water tank of the vacuum, and reminded myself that it was in truth cleaner than it had been, despite how it looked.
Today is my thirtieth birthday. When I look back at the last couple of years, my spiritual progress looks as unproven as my housekeeping. My journal is sparser than ever, my reading is minimal, my thoughts are scattered and confused, my reflections are basic, my prayers are simple and brief. It is really hard to say if I’ve grown in the fruits of the Spirit or not. But I do know for certain that I have been on the receiving end of the Spirit. I have had so much love from Him these years, patience and faithfulness. I have had these things mostly in the love of my husband and our baby girl.
Something my husband says to me is “we’ll figure it out”. I guess this is a pretty common thing for a man to say, and perhaps in a critical sense, it could be arrogant self-reliance, but I think when a man says it to his worrying wife, it’s different. Maybe Andrew is just trying to tell me to be quiet and go to sleep, but what I hear from him is “there is time”. I’m reminded of the promise he’s made to me. I’m reminded that God has mercifully given us time, and will give us more time. As long as we live, he’ll be giving us time.
The preacher said last Sunday that grace was one-way love. I remembered that last night when Helen screamed from her room, just once. That’s not normal. We looked at the monitor and saw her laying still and it seemed like she was asleep. My heart was racing from waking up to her scream, but my body felt so heavy. Andrew had been working in the ER for 12 hours but he got up and in a minute I could see him on the monitor, leaning over her. Her eyes opened and closed again. She knew he was there. He smoothed her hair and felt all over her arms and legs to make sure she wasn’t hurt. He checked her crib for bugs (we have a lot of bugs). He rubbed her cheek with the back of his hand, and smoothed her hair again and again, until he was sure she was asleep.
That image rose with me this morning. Helen doesn’t give her Daddy much love these days. She often ignores his request for kisses and she loves to run away from him. What’s more, she makes big messes and blow wet raspberries and she makes the whole house stinky with her diapers. But if you spoke to him for two minutes he would tell you about her progress and all the things she is learning. He would tell you how pretty she is.
It is wonderful to know that there are good fathers in the world, and good husbands. It is wonderful to wake up to a man like this. He has been the Father’s love begotten for me and our children. I know life is always uncertain and we are not promised a long marriage, but I know as long as I have time I’ll be giving it to him, and he’ll be giving his to me.
These are simple reflections, but as I said, that’s all I have these days. And yet it’s always good to remember that the best things in life are in our hands and before our faces.