16 June 2012

Morning Lessons

Good morning, world! I have to share my morning lesson with you.

I used to wake up to an alarm clock. Then my Princess became able to get out of her bed. Now, I wake up to the sound of her running from her bedroom to ours and leaping into my arms. "Wakey, wakey, Daddy! It's a sunny day!!" It beats the daylights out of an alarm clock.

But, I have to admit, the transition from an alarm set for a specific time to my Princess waking up earlier than I ever set my alarm for was a jarring time. Until I began to appreciate the sheer joy of being woken by overwhelming, unconditional love and childishly excited anticipation of the day, well, let's just say it made me cranky. Which is why I decided to adopt the habit of staying in bed for a few minutes after Sweetheart gets up to go in groggy search of the coffee pot, towing Princess and Little Man behind her. I realized cranky just doesn't work. So I found a way to get "un"cranky. I start my day with a daily reading of the Word.

And this is what struck me so profoundly this morning that I have to share. My reading today was Proverbs 14. Now, Sweetheart and I stayed up REAL late last night. So my bleary eyes were being focused by sheer force of will. Until I reached the fourth verse.

"Where no oxen are, the manger is clean, but much revenue comes by the strength of the ox." Proverbs 14:4, NASB

There are people who say the Bible isn't relevant nowadays. And if you're one of those folks, you may not understand this. I mean really! Who uses oxen today? I for one have never seen one. And I grew up in a really small town.

But see, the Lord speaks to me in various ways, and His instructions generally come through His Word. And this Word today has special meaning. He's been trying to get this one theme through to me for awhile now. Sometimes I think I might be close to understanding, then something happens and I get frustrated again. But He got the point through very well this morning, and cleared away my frustration. My bleary eyes came wide open and I jumped straight out of bed with a smile on my face!

Now, those of you who know me well, or who have been following this blog, know that I've had a rather challenging few years. I have several severe health issues, which have recently been joined by a seizure disorder. I've apparently had it for years without knowing it, but recent events have blown it up into a full-blown, medic alert bracelet wearing, life altering condition. I can't drive anymore; I can't take the kids out by myself anymore; everything has been changing. And with great change, comes fear. With great fear, comes frustration. And with great frustration, stepping on legos left scattered about by my little darlings produces a level of crankiness to which I am not accustomed.

Things had been getting really bad in the last few days when, after almost a week with no seizures, I entered another phase of frequent heavy seizures. Now, I must explain here, I have complex partial seizures, not the most often thought of grand mal seizure. When I have a seizure, I return to myself with an ever-growing migraine. Every seizure adds to the pain. Sweetheart has a friend who's a neurologist. He described my condition as migraines on crack. That's about right.

I tell you all that to explain why this verse struck me so profoundly. Switch out "oxen" for pretty much anything. Switch it for "kids" and you get one view. The house would be spotless and Sweetheart and I would still go to Mexico for a long vacation every year. We would have all the money we could ever use. We could make love any time we wanted, or just take off for a weekend mini-vacation on the spur of the moment. We'd never have to worry about stepping on legos, or cleaning snot off doorknobs, or washing cheese out of a toddler's ears.

But oh, what revenue we have had from our choice to have these wonderful children! The manger is messy, most often smells weird, and is laced with lego landmines and milk cups that are cunningly hidden under sofas by our little scientist in his quest for new flavors. But this manger is also filled with the strength of children's laughter, the awe-inspiring power of children's hugs and the overwhelming and unstoppable love and adoration which carries us through from one day to the next.

Switch out "oxen" for health problems, and you get another view. Without all the health problems with which I've been stricken, we would be able to have the children in all kinds of outside activities. We'd be able to take more trips with them, and I could take them swimming any time they wanted instead of having to wait for Sweetheart to be able to go. My children wouldn't know what the inside of hospitals looked like.

But then again, Sweetheart has spent so much time researching my meds and ailments that her old dream of becoming a doctor has been revived. She's now considering options and is becoming more and more excited. My children have developed so much compassion and tenderness from watching me in recovery and from seeing others in hospitals and doctors offices. They have learned patience and determination. They have learned that life may not always go the way you want, but you always have the ability to choose how to respond to trials, and that you can choose to be happy regardless of circumstances.

For me, dealing with the ever-present need to choose "good day" or "bad day", this was a great lesson!