There are days it’s easy to feel like an orphan. Or lost in a grown up’s life.
My family live an ocean away and my daughter stood and screamed for a good ten minutes without her drawers while seated on her potty yesterday. Screamed good and red in the face and nothing could make it better.
Sometimes we’re all stuck in our uncomfortable, awkward stories and grown ups aren’t supposed to just scream out all the frustration at the top of their lungs.
I go down on my knees beside her little chubby legs. They’re curving over the edge of her green froggy potty stool and she is glaring snot and tears into my face. I reach for her and she swats at me and doesn’t want what I know she wants.
I gently take her hands and pull her up. Her tender self all frustration and sweat and nakedness melting into me. I cup her with my arms and my words and slowly stroke those damp curls back from her cheeks. I rock her and we’re both listening to the music and watching each other in the mirror and there is comfort in frustration and fury shared.
I hold all she is and none of it repulses, angers, isolates me.
I hold her and I am holding myself.
All these aching parts; grown ups wear their bruises on the inside.
I rock her as she wails and slowly she dissolves into me and her head burrows into my neck and I can feel her tears salty sweet against my skin. Daughter of mine, self made over again, I love you.
And this is an act of the divine – to enter the life and story of another. To set ourselves aside for a moment and say, “I remember you. I see you.”
Mothers do this thing. This amazing stepping into the shoes and skin and stories of tiny humans.
In the midst of the dishes and the car pooling and baseball games and picking up the milk and doing the laundry. In the midst of doing the laundry mothers make time. They stop and go and stop and go a thousand thousand times a day and this is the holy tabernacle of remembering.
Always making time to remember someone else in the midst of the hurly burly of their days. And nights. And days again. Mothers remember that there is always more to the story than themselves.
So I shouldn’t have been surprised yesterday when you all remembered your sisters in South Africa. And funded a new community water point and laundry center in less than 12 hours flat!
I shouldn’t have been covered in goosebumps with tears choking out my eyes and clogging up my throat when I watched you stop and remember.
Stop in the middle of the laundry.
Stop between runs to the grocery store and the school.
Stop on your way to work.
Stop between making the lunch and making the dinner.
Because we are perhaps at our most human and most sacred when we forget ourselves and open our arms and hearts to the aches and needs of our sisters in Christ. Because in that moment we remember Him.
The Jesus who moved into the neighborhood – next door to you and me and mamas in Maubane and farmer’s wives in Canada and Iowa.
I come with hands full of thanks – full up and running over between my fingers – all this thanks I can barely cup in two hands.
I’ll let my dad, who will help build the water point and laundry center that you funded in less than 12 hours – I’ll let him express it in his own words:
We watched with awe and astonishment as we saw the “Laundry for Africa” project being fully funded yesterday, within 12 hours! Though we have not seen you, we have been loved by you, and you have said “This thing can be done! ” We felt as if we have been holding hands and dancing together with yourselves and the Lord Jesus.
I think Sarah must have felt a little the same when she was told by the Lord that she was going to have a baby, and she could hardly believe it for joy. So thank you so much for the dance that cost you something but made us laugh together at the Grace of Christ amongst us.
Love from South Africa and the Take Action team
The next time you think you’re “just” a mom, remember yesterday. Remember what a community of moms and neighbors and friends seperated by an ocean but connected by a Holy Spirit can do together.
Remember how we all danced and laughed at the joy of doing laundry together.
All of us sisters stopping to remember. And dance on.
And if you didn’t get a chance to be part of this project? Because it was over so quickly. I’m thinking next month? Maybe we plant a vegetable garden right next to that water point, eh?