Monday, July 25, 2016

My Cup Runneth Over: With Barkdust and Backwash

It is impossible for me to have a cup of anything to drink without my youngest son wanting a drink as well.  In fact, we have designated an Irwin Tools travel coffee mug as “Jude’s coffee mug.”  I cannot finish more than two sips of coffee without Jude saying “Coff, me?”  Seriously.

 Then it comes to the time we spend playing outside.   My boys start requesting to go outside to play around 9 am.  Naturally, we try and drink a lot of water.  And no matter what cool kid water bottles or special cups they ask for, it is inevitable that they will want my water cup. 

I have taken to specifically putting lemon juice in my water in hopes that it would deter them.  Nevertheless, Jude still takes his mud-laden hands and drinks.  Then, as he presses his mouth to the glass, the little pieces of dirt from the rock he was just chewing on fall into my water.  As he finishes taking a drink, a good quarter of what was in his mouth casually makes its way back into what was once a delicious glass of lemon water. 

But let’s survey the scene, shall we?

I am sitting in a camp chair that Noah and I received from my older brother Josh and his wife Natalie as an engagement gift.  Those chairs are nine years and four states strong.  I come from a family of people who are great at giving good gifts.  My cup runneth over.
That camp chair is in the shade of the garage of the house we live in.  Our house is the guest house on the property of another home owned by an amazing family from our church.  When Jon and Colette bought the house five years ago they took us to dinner and told us that when they saw this guest house they thought specifically of Noah and I.  We wouldn’t be able to live on the Eastside of Seattle if it weren’t for them, meaning we would have to leave the church we are called to.  My cup runneth over.
Speaking of home, our house shares a six acre lawn with the Aguirre family.  They love our kids and us.  We share meals and their boys have both been in our youth group from the beginning.  Our kids sit and dig in the lawn and when Miss Colette comes out they stand up to run and give her a hug.  (Except for Jude, who right now runs away from everyone.)  Our kids don’t know what it is to live in a cramped apartment with loud neighbors and a hard time getting outside.  They know that adventure waits outside their doors and that they have friends who want to play with them.  My cup runneth over.
While I sit in that camp chair I am reading Jen Hatmaker’s newest book For the Love.  That book was recommended to me by two amazing friends I have made in the last year.  Amy and Nikki truly make my life lovely and I couldn’t imagine my days without them.  Also, the book is fantastic and I love it.  My cup runneth over.

Next to me in the cup holder is a glass of once pristine lemon water, which now has flecks of mud and rock and bark dust in it.  It is still cleaner than the water that hundreds of millions of people fight to drink every day.  Not only do I have clean water to drink, my children have clean water to play in!  They can chase each other with it and make it into mud.  They can fill a pool with it and swim around without fear of disease or thirst.  My cup runneth over.
And then there they are.  My two remarkable boys, Soren and Jude.  They are prayers that were answered.  They are light and joy in our lives.  They are trial and perseverance.  They are patience just waiting to be discovered.  They are perfect and they are growing up too fast.  My cup runneth over.

I get to raise those boys with my husband, who loves me and them with reckless abandon.  He works extraordinarily hard because he believes in God’s church and what it means in communities and families and the world.  His hands play instruments and build projects and do manual labor and at the same time they lift little boys who are giddy to see him at the end of the day.  My cup runneth over.

I have been thinking a lot about perspective and gratitude lately.  Trying my best to remember the lenses I use to view the world and making sure each of them has as little distortion as possible.  When all I want is to sit and read my book in peace and my son spits barkdust in my water, my lens tends to be frustration and exhaustion.  But, on those good days when I try and don’t fail right away (which is most days), that lens is comedy and the truth that there is more water to be had and I’m glad he’s no longer thirsty.

Friends, our lives are running over with goodness and grace, and many of us have way worse things in our cups than just barkdust and toddler spit.  But if all we ever see is the error, we never see the water for what it is; necessary, life-giving and also just delicious. 

May you share your cup with whomever needs it.  May you spend purposeful time filling it back up.  May you laugh at what is left behind and continue to be filled up until it runs clean again.  May you find joy in throwing the water over your head and splashing around, appreciating the refreshing coolness of it.  
May we all have the courage to trust the cup will be full the next day.  May we have the courage to get silly and splash around in it at the end of the day.  And as you dance in the waves of grace, may your feet be washed from the dust of that day’s journey.   After all is said and done, may we save just enough to kneel before someone else and wash their feet as well.

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