27 Sep 2011

It’s the moments no one knows about that matter

Boys clamor for more ice cream and the baby wants milk.

The day winds down slow and rough and my head aches between the whining of one and the frustration of another. I can’t find his favorite bear; I hear rudeness leak out of every syllable his brother speaks.

This is the hard love.

The biting down on a tongue that wants to whip and lash out at them. The deliberate quiet voice, which is not my default. The refusing to rush into their over tired, frenetic pace.

The baby grabs two handfuls of hair, pulls us nose to nose and laughs crazy until she starts to cry.

I wade through the familiar evening routine of surviving bedtime and wrap thoughts of Sara around me. They make me strong.

At the end of all things we will bring only what we have given away with us.

Whether we rented or owned a home won’t matter. Neither will the kind of car we drove. No one will ask what our fall wardrobe was like or if we ever mastered the art of styling our own hair.

But what we lavished on others – that will matter.

Stories of the truck loads of care, concern, love, friendship, and encouragement that Sara gave away during her life are surfacing all over the Internet. Suddenly the woman who was neither wife nor mother has hundreds coming forward to testify to how their lives were shaped by her.

I pick up the blue light saber and a single stranded sock.

I offer the black lab stuffed toy in lieu of the missing brown bear.

I bend down to the son who made me want to wipe that smirk off his face with rough words and whisper instead, “I choose to love you, Jackson.”

I think of Sara who loved so well and so hard in corners of lives that no one ever knew about until now.

And I walk down the dark hallway to rock the baby.

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Comments

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  1. 1

    What a sweet lovely post! and a great reminder to choose JOY!

  2. 2

    I think God’s trying to tell me something… everything I’ve read so far this morning resounds with this theme of giving, loving sacrificially. I’m filled with fear that I’m not enough, that I don’t have enough love to give to 2 children. (I’m due in a month with our second boy.) But He’s convincing me that His love will be more than enough. Thank you for your encouragement, for yet another reminder that I’m not alone in this journey of hard love. <3

  3. 3

    Ahhh, beautiful. The hard love teaches us so much, doesn’t it?

  4. 4

    A beautiful post. Those of us who only “knew” Sara from her words were deeply and magically touched by her life; I can only imagine how much more meaningful and deep and profound her loss is for those of you who actually knew her, wrote with her, loved her. And how much more you were touched by her legacy. Even in this post, though, you not only reflect her wisdom, love, legacy, but your own, and you are sharing it with us. Thank you.

  5. 5

    “But what we lavished on others – that will matter.” Thanks for the beautiful reminder about what really matters. I pray I can live life like Sara – what an amazing heart. And you too, Lisa-Jo, you have a huge heart that loves well. It is evident in the words you write.

  6. 6

    Through a few tears on my cheeks – all I can say is that I absolutely needed to hear this today. Thank you…

  7. 7

    Oh Lisa-Jo, you did it again! A woman I didn’t know or even know about until a couple days ago is teaching me so much. Only what we lavish on others really matters. So sweet and so powerful. Thank you!

  8. 8

    Oh, wow. Needed this. Sort of feeling like the person in the ‘corner’ today (a bit like I’m just ‘housekeeping’ while my family is out taking the world by storm) ;)

    This post was just what I needed to hear. Thank you…

  9. 9

    Learning to choose love, choose to find the grace and give thanks instead of my default… and I’m so thankful for people like Sara, like you, who walk this walk with me. So encouraged.

  10. 10

    The deliberate quiet voice isn’t my default either. Thank you for these words, for this reminder today Lisa.

  11. 11

    Priorities. People matter not things. Thank you for such beautiful post!

  12. 12

    What a lovely post today; thanks for sharing our sweet spirit with your writings.
    Keep on enjoying the moments!

  13. 13

    I was only a lurker over at Gitzen Girl, but Sara was precious to me…the way she continually showed faith and hope and joy and love in circumstances that would have crippled me. Truly, life is too short to spend it in anger or frustration, or fear.

    I cut my hair yesterday, like really drastically cut it, after being afraid to change for so many years. I congratulated myself on taking a risk. But it didn’t turn out as expected, and I’ve been mourning it a little today. So that line – “whether we learned to style our hair” – was perfect for me. Silly me — this is *nothing* compared to living love and joy every day.

    Thanks for the reminder.

  14. 14

    “we will bring only what we have given away. . ”
    This made my eyes tear up.
    Amen.
    Beautiful post.
    I’m going to go give away tons of time to my sons.
    Each numbered day needs to matter.
    And it matters when we give it away.
    Great reminder.
    Thank you.

  15. 15

    Oh, thank you, thank you for these beautiful and perfect words on a crazy – lovely day.
    LuvNHugz – SupportNPrayerz
    DV-NMV

  16. 16

    And oh, how you lavish on us gals. Your words always bless tired hearts of all mamas, all women.

    Sara left some legacy, didn’t she? Death can’t stop her reach.

    Love you, LJ. You are a jewel!

  17. 17

    Oh how I needed to read this post. Lately I’ve lost track of what really matters most in life. Thanks for a gentle reminder and great post.

  18. 18

    –At the end of all things we will bring only what we have given away with us —
    Lisa-Jo, you stopped me cold with these words. I read blogs and take what you, Leila, Ann, Elizabeth, and so many others freely give away. I come to be fed and my soul is soothed by your words. It occurs to me that I, like Sara was, am confined to my home. Sara didn’t choose her confinement, however I seem to have chosen mine. Sara’s world grew larger than her Iowa condo. I allowed mine to grow smaller as I carefully eliminated obligations and people from my life due to family needs. Thank you. This truly is the perfect time for me to open my heart and my home once again. God bless.

  19. 19

    What a warm way to end my day… thank you. How often life tempts one to run – to react and how beautiful it is to make the conscience choice not to. Again… thank you.

  20. 20

    To Amanda,

    That is how I felt before my 2nd child was born — and she only made everything more wonderful. My first LOVED her as did we all. Love multiples, it never divides.
    Blessing to you,

  21. 21

    Tangible love in the face of those daily frustrations, irritations, and disappointments; at times, so hard to give.

  22. 22

    Lisa-Jo,
    I loved this. Such breathtaking truth here. I can feel this post through and through… these moments where what really matters is acutely in focus… these moments where we learn to choose love, and joy, above the clutter and chaos that is always threatening to undo us…

  23. 23

    My heart needed this this week. I’ve been working to choose love, to choose joy and in that choosing remember that He first chose me. Resonating in the hallways of my mind today, with thankfulness for the echoing reminder.

  24. 24

    The little things that seem to go unnoticed are always noticed by the One who sees it all…
    The choice to love, the choice to yield to self control… the little things He sees them all.
    Thank you for sharing your heart in this beautiful post.

    And…
    Sara touched us all in such a quietly powerful way. She will be missed here but we will share perfect joy with her on the other side of eternity.

  25. 25

    Oh my.
    I’m actually coming over to your blog as opposed to reading in my e-mail like usual.

    How many many many times I should have said “I choose love” to my seven-year-old today I do not care to count.

    Thank you for your good words, your encouragement and your real real realness.

    (That third baby really reminds you what you’re made of – or not – doesn’t she? I mean, at two littles I thought I was still a pretty have-it-all-together mom. It really wasn’t until three that I started to see reality a little more clearly!)

    • 26
      thegypsymama says:

      Ah yes, three has cracked any remaining notion I may have clung onto through two that I had this motherhood thing figured out :)

  26. 27

    This. Just this. Haven’t been able to get it out of my head, heart. Which is right where it needs to stay. I love how you write it, sister — just like digging a well for all the thirsty. Your water goes a long ways, friend…

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