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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

where did I put that gluten?



I haven’t baked bread in much too long. It’s interesting really that almost all of the bakers seemed to simultaneously go on hiatus without any kind of discussion. I did mean to post a few times, at least to say that maybe bread would make an appearance again once the school year began. Then school actually descended upon me with the force of the stay puft marshmallow man during a stint in a full-body cast.

I am most certainly not a morning person (unless you count the part of the morning that occurs before actually making it to bed). Historically, my writing is much more abundant in the hours after dark and before dawn. That seems to be the only time that I am able to channel the incessant brain chatter into a conscious stream. I am, lately, having to s-t-r-e-t-c-h which is not such an easy task when your elasticity has lost its boing.

Oh the woes of the downtrodden (a.k.a. the desolation)!

Fear is often my greatest weakness. There have been so many times that I have printed off Bible verses pertaining to fear just to carry with me in the still hours of the night. My imagination, in this regard, is not an asset.

My oldest son will soon be seventeen. In some ways, he is so sure of himself – so mature and strong-willed. But, that in itself can bring about the Fear. I fear that he will hurt others unintentionally; that he will grow into an insensitive man, but I also fear that he will be hurt (and he will). I fear that the hurt will come in part because I haven’t prepared him fully enough for the evil of the world. I fear that he will not reach his fullest potential because of mistakes I may have made along the way. I fear that I will blink, and he will be grown and gone – never to be the heartbeat away that he has been for his entire life.

My second son has traveled off into the world of public school. The Fear delights in this development. No longer does the majority of input come from within his safe and loving home. He is not a friend-maker. People like him easily, but he rarely allows anyone access to the workings within. I know from experience the kind of pain that is the fruit of that tree. I also fear my weaknesses have handicapped his ability to reach the highest peaks. Consistency is not my strong suit, and I am quite sure there are times I have fallen down on the job. I know I haven’t done enough to ensure that this still water which runs deep has an outlet for the emotion he so infrequently expresses aloud.

My freckled boy has inherited from his mother a certain enigmatic air. The Fear walks close to him for many hours of every day. Is it nurture as opposed to nature? Am I silly to feel mama-guilt even though much of it is the latter? Will he delve the deeps or overcome? Will he try to accomplish both?

The prince of melodrama calls Fear to my side by the searing intensity of his emotions and the trusting nature that leads him to preach to the masses on whatever he is told by one unreliable friend. It is a subtle Fear – that he will easily be led down a crooked path, or, contrariwise, that hurt will awaken the power of the grudge in him (a power that runs strongly through some of the family lines).

My curly-headed imp embraces the Fear – emulates it. Sudden bursts of joyful energy or pain-induced rage send him streaking through the air like a comet bent on planetary contact. The Fear chases me down as I picture the explosive conclusion. Will he ever be understood? Will emotion send him off on a dangerous journey?

The girl – I see so much of myself in her, and it scares me. Her body-language is already so well attuned to getting what she wants, yet so often, what she wants is most certainly not what she should have. Her eyes delve deep. Fear – it curls around my joints as I pray that she will never pull away from mother or father in righteous (or not so righteous) indignation. I Fear she will always look at what she doesn’t have when compared with others – never seeing the bounty stacked high upon her plate. I learned, but the battle was long and hard. Will she have to fight such battles too?

Personally, there is the fear that all of the swirling emotion that runs in my deepest vessels will spill out – untempered – and overwhelm me.

But Joy of Joys (the consolations)!

My oldest son holds fast to faith. Though he knows his inexperience in many of the ways of the world open him up to a special kind of pain, he declares himself glad for his vulnerability. Though mistakes have been made along the way, he has never doubted my love for him (or God’s). He will not be perfect, but he starts his journey with many strengths.

My second son is being afforded the opportunity to shine. A studier by nature, he now has a broad realm to test his strengths (quietly, internally, perhaps, until he is sure of his steps). He has the strength of will to stand by his convictions and the humor to reach beyond the harder days.

My freckly one is blessed with deep empathy and compassion. Though he may sometimes choose the rockier path, he remains on the path. He seeks (and usually finds) means with which to express the excess emotion. His faithful heart holds fast to known love.

The blue-eyed prince holds tightly to righteousness. Though his path is bound to be filled with drama, he will hold fast – resolved to take his bows after each performance. And although he may take direction grudgingly, he takes it. He cares about doing the right thing.

The curly one has too much fire to be consumed by a mere planet. He shows remarkable agility at avoiding personal harm. And besides, he has a praying mother.

The girl? She will never be shallow. She will love deeply and be loved deeply. She holds fast to her prayers of growing big and strong (and driving a car, and having a big-big-big-big bed, and wanting everyone else to be big and strong, and, and, and…).

Me?

There was a time when I had only three children, but those children were all quite young. In those days, I came very close to losing my sanity on more than one occasion. There was never a downtime. The first was a night-owl, the second a morning person, the third could swing both ways. Sleeplessness (which was not self-imposed) was the rule more than the exception. Even having the audacity to go to the bathroom was a dangerous gamble. Mustard and chocolate syrup finger paintings (with a refrigerator shelf canvas) were some of the least dangerous concerns. Every breath held the anticipation of the next catastrophe. The Fear preyed on my inability to see beyond those early years.

God sends relief in strangely wrapped packages sometimes.

Caleb died. Suddenly, having my every breath consumed with concern over my three sons was not a worry but a joy. If every moment was spent concerned with them, surely, I had proof every second that they were there with me. I could breathe them in and revel in the sweeter taste of love when administered by chocolate fingers. The blessing.

Now, older children grace the house. Though three young ones also reside with us (and they are just as resourceful), I don’t have to take them to the store when all I need is a gallon of milk. I can go to the bathroom and blame someone else for their inattention if craziness ensues. I can laugh a little more easily at the creative efforts. I can actually forget what it felt like to be so starkly on my own.

I can lean firmly on God and know, from experience, that a little raw emotion isn’t going to scare Him away - that He is already encouraging me to spill it out on Him. And about that stretching? My God has very long arms.

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6 Comments:

  • Oh goodness, T! I need to type this fast before Blogger goes down for a scheduled outage: 7 1/2 minutes to go!

    Wow, you came back with a power punch. I want to cry after reading this. Cry because of the fear that I know, cry because of the guilt I feel, cry because of the joy I experience.

    What a beautiful testimony. (I'm ferklempt!)

    I barely published my SWB post. I went to the SWB blog to fiddle around and update the links when your comment came through. What a connection--the twinship lives! (And I'd love dearly to be your neighbor... truly.)

    By Blogger Mary-LUE, at 1:54 AM  

  • This was really wonderful, T! Thank you for sharing such an open portrait of a loving mother's heart.

    When I read, "And besides, he has a praying mother." I laughed. And then I stopped when it hit me that you had just made the most significant statement of the whole post. The most important gift we can give to our children is our prayers and a love of the one to whom we pray.

    Good for you! And thank you for the reminder.

    By Anonymous oddmix, at 12:57 PM  

  • encore...

    By Anonymous me2, at 1:46 PM  

  • Stunning return Ms. baker. Patience could so easily identify with your freckly one, and Persistence with curly one. Awesome insight into everything.

    Julie
    Using My Words

    By Blogger Julie Pippert, at 3:06 PM  

  • Glad you are baking again my friend.

    By Blogger discombobulated, at 3:35 PM  

  • Wow.

    BIG wow.

    By Blogger Mel, at 9:18 PM  

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