Frazzled and frantic.
We all have those times, don’t we?
If I could just pull it together… just keep moving.
That’s it, isn’t it? The real goal. Keep walking and just. don’t. faint.
Never mind this false illusion of control and perfection… even when we pretend that is not what we are doing.
It really is, you know. Pretend. False control, false perfection… or something like it. Pretend.
The real goal. Keep walking… with Him… toward Him. And just don’t… faint.
He looked at me with those sky blue babies that stole my heart over a decade ago.
You are really good at being a mom.
This red-head spinning around.
Are you kidding?
Like a child offered a prize… the best prize of all. It couldn’t be a true statement. Must be a jab… a joke.
Me. Running frantic fixing 6 different meals for 6 different palates. Just trying to get out the door. On. Time.
No, I’m serious mom.
I was listening to the precious ramblings of my 6-year-old, his little brother. Little blue-eyed boy was telling me something so very important. I was responding in the uh-huh-uh-huh-yea-wow-really-oh-boy-that’s-great mode. My oldest boy. He noticed. I scrambled and scratched food together… trying to scramble and scratch and keep it all together.
You do everything without complaining.
You are doing all this and listening to him.
And you do it without complaining.
My eyes brimming, as he continued,
He smiled and laughed easily at his own joke. They don’t help without a good deal of cattle prodding. Most of them, anyway. We all need a good bit of cattle prodding along the way, don’t we?
That’s probably the nicest thing that anyone has ever said to me.
I squeezed this boy grown to my chin. Where do these years go? The hours, they sometimes skid and swerve… but, the years. They race and speed… until all we see is smoke and dust. Gone.
It’s not true, you know. I don’t do everything without complaining. In fact, I have made many of my nearest and dearest friends through rants of complaints and crankiness.
I complain. Sometimes to myself, sometimes to my friends, my husband, my children… and to God. I am working on it. This work in seeing all things in the light of grace and gratitude. It takes practice.
For a moment, my boy noticed something in my attempts. He noticed and he told me just what I needed to push on in this quest. That positive reinforcement thing. Amazing. No amount of guilt and self-defeat, no amount of you-should-stop-complaining could bring what he brought me with those words.
You do everything without complaining.
No, I don’t. But nothing will make me try harder than those very words. Pretend. Pretend that I am that very person. The non-complainer.
We start that as kids. We pretend to be like our moms or our dads. We pretend to be famous or funny. We pretend to be skilled or savvy.
We pretend to be princesses or princes. Kings or Queens. We pretend we are doctors or dare-devils. We pretend to save the weak… we pretend to save the world.
Maybe that’s where it all really starts. Sometimes this pretending really takes us somewhere. It can take us to dreaded pits. I can take us to dazzling pinnacles.
There is something about pretending that begins to sink into our bones. It sinks and slides and settles into our very souls.
Maybe, it’s really about what we pretend. What… who… do we really want to be?
Complainers… or gratitude givers?
Wound-wielders… or soul-soothers?
Misery mongers… or joy seekers?
Sometimes it takes a little, and maybe a little more… pretending. We could just call it practice.
We don’t have to pretend to be princesses or princes. We have already reached royal status. We are already children of the King.
We don’t have to pretend to be doctors or healers. Just one kind word can soothe a gaping wound.
We don’t have to pretend to be dare-devils. We have every reason to be brave. Bold. We have the power of truth and love… and legions of angel armies on our side.
We don’t have to pretend to save the world. That has already been done.
Just one thing.
The only pretend that matters. The one act of dress-up that changes everything… and needs more practice than we have time.
Pretend to be like Him. We are not. We will not. We won’t even come close. But, that’s the one that matters.
The more we pretend to be like Him, the more He sinks into our souls. The closer we get to anything that really matters.
I have been talking as if it were we who did everything. In reality, of course, it is God who does everything. We, at most, allow it to be done to us. In a sense you might even say it is God who does the pretending. The Three-Personal God, so to speak, sees before Him in fact a self-centred, greedy, grumbling, rebellious human animal. But He says ‘Let us pretend that this is not a mere creature, but our Son. It is like Christ in so far as it is a Man, for He became Man. Let us pretend that it is also like Him in Spirit. Let us treat it as if it were what in fact it is not. Let us pretend in order to make the pretence into a reality.’ God looks at you as if you were a little Christ: Christ stands beside you to turn you into one. I daresay this idea of a divine make-believe sounds rather strange at first. But, is it so strange really? Is not that how the higher thing always raises the lower? A mother teaches her baby to talk by talking to it as if it understood long before it really does.
I do complain. I try not to complain. But, I do.
For a moment, my son caught me. A moment. A moment in which the game of dress-up, this life-long challenge of pretend… actually took hold.
The pretend became a reality and an eleven-year-old boy took notice.
And lifted his own young armor for this life journey. Bold, brave… joy seeking.
1 John 3:2
Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.