Friday, October 8, 2010

Friday morning reflections

My morning did not start off as I had imagined it would.  In the midst of trying to unload the dishwasher and get Evan ready for school, Joel threw me a curveball.  He went outside and found the bags of "stuff" that are waiting for a charity pick-up.  In one of the bags he found a small, stuffed Snoopy.  It was some sort of freebie that Steve had picked up at work.  It had gotten played with a little when it first came to our house, but it was quickly forgotten and had been sitting in the stuffed animal tub for a couple of years.  However, when Joel saw it this morning, he apparently decided that it was a pretty cool toy and asked if he could keep it.  I was in the middle of a couple of different things and trying to answer questions from Evan and Joel at the same time so I gave him a curt "no".  He asked again and got the same reply.  At this point something strange seemed to happen.  Evan went outside to wait for his ride, and I thought Joel had joined him.  But I also had an idea that Joel had gone somewhere and was crying.  I couldn't tell for sure, so I kept on with my task but with an ear turned to the mysterious but quiet sound he was making.  After a minute or two I decided to investigate, and found Joel in his room with a red and tear-stained face.  Yep, he was crying for the stuffed animal that he probably hadn't even known was there until he found it in the give-away pile.  I sat beside him and we talked about it.  He said that he hadn't been playing with it because he couldn't find it.  I thought that was interesting, but not interesting enough to retrieve the animal from the bag.  I assured him that we still had a Snoopy and that we had kept many more animals than we were giving away.  He seemed to be calming down a little, but was still upset so I asked if he wanted to lie down with me.  He did and we had a little "timeout" together in his bed.  By the time we got up (just a few minutes later) he was smiling and laughing - and he hasn't mentioned the small Snoopy again.

As I went back to my interrupted task of unloading the dishwasher I was thinking about what had happened and a few ideas - or lessons - began to surface:

1. Joel really might have been crying because of the curtness of my answer.  I wasn't looking at him or focusing on him and I really wasn't very nice.  I was being pretty dismissive.  I know I don't like to be treated like that so why would I not expect it to bother my 4-year-old.

2. To make things right with Joel, I just needed to take some time out, focus on him, listen to him, be there, and hold him.  I really didn't try to reason with him about giving the animal away.  I didn't decide that we could keep it.  But I hugged him, rubbed his back, and held him. (We probably could have avoided the whole situation if I had given him that focus earlier on.  But I also don't think he will be in therapy years down the road because of this incident.)

3. I wonder how many times I respond to God the way Joel responded to my "cleaning out" this morning.  It felt so good last night to think about all of the "stuff" that had been cluttering our house that was going to be gone today.  I knew there was more to get rid of, but it was nice to know that some of the clutter would be gone.  None of this stuff was really bad, but it wasn't useful for our family any more.  I wonder how many times God wants to de-clutter my life, but I resist.  I cry out and hang on to stuff, not because it is useful to me or others, but because it is mine.  This could be a whole other post (which I have been thinking about for some time), but let me summarize with this realization: Everything belongs to God; He has entrusted me with some things, but He is still the owner

So, what does God want to remove from my life that I don't really need?  I am not sure, but I hope to spend some time over the next few days being quiet before Him and listening.  I might be surprised at what I hear, but I hope that I am open to hearing what He has to say.


Rebecca said...

I am so right there with ya on the 'stuff' - I'm going through the same lessons over here!

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