Updated: Sep 12, 2019
Mom, you should put this picture on your blog. Jimmy tells me this every so often about his silly-faced pictures. Today’s your day, Jimmy. I’m writing about crazy.
You Make Me Crazy. It’s the name of this month’s message series at church. The ideals and ordeals of family life. And that about sums it up.
Tuesday night was one of those. Ideal and ordeal both. Felipe stayed home from soccer practice to finish a painting for his Capstone Project. He greeted me with a smile as soon as we returned, eager to show off his work. Mountains, pines, and water – an ideal combination as far as I’m concerned, and the boy is truly gifted. We need to visit the place in your picture — I told him as I praised his hard work. Then leaving the workshop I noticed his feet. Bare and covered in paint. Oil-based and sure enough, black footprints led from concrete straight across carpet. That same carpet we’d professionally cleaned the week before. And three days later our house still smells like the paint thinner and stain remover it took to work out that particular ordeal.
Last week it was bunnies. Eight little babies in a nest dug up by our hole-digging puppy. And boys to the rescue with a box and a shovel and everyone’s Snap-story got noticed that night. Mom, can we keep them? And there’s just no good answer to that question. (Later with boys and puppy asleep Kyle moved the little family to a safer location across the yard with wry hopes Mamma Rabbit would follow. On the upside I think it’s safe to say our neighbors’ flowers may be just a tad bit safer this summer.)
Looking around at the chaos and wondering again how long it will take God to kill all of my idols. Thinking how my friend, Cheryl, down the street must be so much holier than me. Two girls raised and out of the nest, remodeling a home I’ve always thought perfect. And there she is rebuilding while I’m still tearing down, bit by idolatrous bit.
My lawn was an idol. I’m pretty sure that’s true. Every morning from late spring into fall, sitting out there on my porch, savoring the green. Taking breaks from my bible to re-set sprinklers. Enjoying the view of my freshly-mowed lawn. But one winter of a puppy pottying in that convenient spot just down the porch steps, and this spring my poor grass looks afflicted. (That’s not to mention the dog-sized holes and the half-eaten Hostas – my puppy consuming more greens than the rabbits.)
Clean windows? (No longer an idol.)
And let’s not even talk about those two white living room chairs I unwisely purchased a couple of years back. The first new furniture I could really call mine.
Summer is coming in just a few weeks. And even the season I once thought ideal seems an ordeal when I think about the weeks on end of boys and their friends with endless hours to invest in destroying this home.
Earlier the same day as our paint ordeal Kyle and I were out walking Maple. We walked past our friends’ remodel and talked about the projects we might like to do. An update here, replacement there. But our list was short. Surprisingly so. And I said it to Kyle while we took our walk – Who knew 20 years ago when we built this house how boy-proof it would actually turn out to be?
A miracle really. I’ve been thinking it often. How God led us to construct this home all those years ago, and how it’s turned out to be nearly indestructible all these years later. Some dings and dents, no doubt. But full of boys and teens and puppy – and still standing. Beautiful. The exact word used by a co-worker a few weeks ago who stopped by for a meeting. And this friend is a home-decorating genius, and she says my house is timeless and lovely.
A miracle. All of it. I’m amazed and I’m grateful. Boys and puppy and wet paint and bunnies — and the miraculous killing of soul-numbing idols. All of it good, and all of it crazy. The ideal ordeal — this family and home.