“You know we’ve been here almost a year, ” I said to my neighbor yesterday as he was heroically helping me vacuum up the glass table top that the kids had shattered on the front porch. I had shown up on his porch asking for a shop vac with two children on top of me. I’m a pitiful scene these days and the community is often forced to intervene. It’s a blessing.
“Wow,” he said. “It’s like an anniversary.”
“Yes, it’s our houseversary.” I said straight-faced. Because I believe it.
We’re coming up on a year of moving and like all great love stories, I’m reliving the beginnings, the moments when I knew. The time I spent waiting for Travis to know. The incessant talking about the house, except to anyone I suspected of getting to it first (all is fair in love and real estate.)
And the pleading.
I wondered how many times I could be seen sitting in front of the house in my car, on my bike, holding a child, mumbling before someone called the police.
I was praying. Actually I was pleading and bargaining and begging. It always takes a theological turn downward, these scenarios of intense want. I’m making promises to God, as if I have something to offer. As if I’ve ever been good for it anyways.
Fast forward a year. The azaleas are blooming again. We’ve added a swingset, a sandbox, a fire pit to the backyard. We’re down two of posts in the stair bannisters, casualties of snow day gymnastics. Rooms have been painted, and dented, holes patched, baby gates installed, baby gates mastered, baby gates ripped down. We brought a new baby home, moved another baby out of a crib into a bed. Done countless nighttime routines, endless meals, endured magnificent noise.
Life took over and living here became ordinary but, extraordinarily, I’m still thankful.
For me, it’s a new spiritual practice, different than being “always thankful”. I define Still Thankful as having the same awe of a gift as the first day I received it. Still Thankful involves things that once I didn’t have, then I did have, and choosing not to forget the miracle – or the longing in between.
I think of when Olivia got her Anna doll two Christmases ago and for three days was over.the.moon. She danced with that doll all day long. And then moved on, as five year olds do, to another toy, occasionally playing with Anna when she digs for her in the closet.
Well I’m still dancing with the doll over here.
I still pull into my driveway and think “I can’t believe we live here.”
This is new for me.
How often am I tripping over my answered prayers only to focus on the day’s most clear and present anxiety? I forget so quickly the longing, the theological bargaining, the “if only…then” statements, the very drama of desire and subsequent gratitude. Worse, I forget that all I have needed, He has provided. And then He’s done it again. And again.
This May should be a bit less eventful than last year. Super exciting weddings and graduations, but no packing up a house of seven years in one Saturday morning. That miracle has happened. I hope to remember it always.
What are you still thankful for this season?