Spring Has Sproinged!

March 21, 2010

Hallelujah! At least for a minute, right here in Corbin, spring has sproinged. The sun is shining, buds are popping and the air is warm under partly cloudy skies. We’ve had a colder and snowier winter than we’ve had in years, so the arrival of spring seems just a bit sweeter than usual. Even though some cold days will invariably return in the next few weeks, hope lurks just around the bend! It’s amazing what a little sunshine can do to thaw our frosty outlooks into puddles of joy.

And speaking of puddles of joy, I just saw “Alice in Wonderland” this weekend. Now that’s my kind of March madness! So much fun! After some of the books I’ve been reading lately, from the “greatest novels ever written” list, it’s nice to enjoy an imaginative tale that ended happily. Deep, dark books, no matter their literary import, get a teensy bit oppressive at times, especially when read one right after the other. So I’m taking a break from the “great” books for awhile.

It’s funny how God works. For the last couple of months I’ve been in one of my downward cycles, wondering what on earth I’m good for, why after all these years I still find myself taking care of children, why can’t I get out of the laundry room and do something more doggone interesting, and why do I keep going through these periods of doldrumish phooeyness? I should be over myself by now!

I tell God about it and what does He do? He hits me in the head with a big “Duh!” For the last few Wednesday nights, in the first grade class I teach, we’ve been learning about “being the best you you can be.” This past week we were talking about how we should help other people. For our activity everyone drew a picture of the super hero he/she would like to be. We gave ourselves super hero names and powers, then shared our ideas with the class. Amidst all the powers to fly and shoot lasers or lightening, which would be used to get the attention of people before telling them about Jesus (yes! we all got that lesson in what people really need!) one little girl stood up and said her super power would be prayer. I almost fell over. I asked her how she would use that to help people and she said, “I would just pray for them!” I’m here to tell you, that just about sent me into a holy fit! This little girl recognized that we already have the greatest super power possible available to us right now. Talk about God speaking through the mouths of babes!

So that answered the question of why I’m still hanging out with children. They know things. Things that I know, but somehow forget on a regular basis. Like how wondrous the world is. While my head is stuck in the laundry room, I forget how blessed I am that I don’t have to go to the river and beat the clothes on a rock. And how amazing it is that I have a family to dirty up a bunch of clothes. And how wondrous it is that we have so many clothes to wear.

In the book I’m reading now, “The Ragamuffin Gospel,” Brennan Manning states:

By and large, our world has lost its sense of wonder. We have grown up. We no longer catch our breath at the sight of a rainbow or the scent of a rose, as we once did. We have grown bigger and everything else smaller, less impressive. We get blase and worldly wise and sophisticated. . . Our world is saturated with grace, and the lurking presence of God is revealed not only in spirit but in matter–in a deer leaping across a meadow, in the flight of an eagle, in the fire and water, in a rainbow after a summer storm, in a gentle doe streaking through the forest, in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, in a child licking a chocolate ice cream cone, in a woman with windblown hair. God intended us to discover His loving presence in the world around us.

Mercy! I think God’s trying to tell me something. I need to find the wonder in the laundry and the power in my prayers. I need to hear his voice in the noise of family life and feel his love in the hugs of children and slobbery dogs. I need to find the joy in the monotony of life and the peace in the chaos. And I need to find the poetry in the rhythms of everyday life.

Most of all, I need to laugh like a hyena every chance I get. Here’s one from the “Nanny Files” for you. Grace, the five-year-old girl I spend my days with right now, and I were driving home from preschool one day a couple of weeks ago. She said, “Ms. Debbie, do you know that word that means bottom that starts with an ‘A’?” I said, that yes, I was familiar with that word. She told me that her mommy had said that was not a nice word to say. I agreed with her. Then she said, “Did you know that’s also the name of an animal?” I answered that I did, indeed, know that and that it was another word for donkey, which is sometimes used in the Bible. She pondered this a bit and then declared matter of factly,
“Well, I guess we can say that word whenever we’re on a farm!”

This is another reason I am still hanging out with children. You just can’t beat that kind of conversation with anything from the grown-up world! Happy March madness to one and all!