Six baskets of laundry cluttered my bedroom floor. I have walked past them for days. It is ridiculous. My husband hasn't said a word, but surely he would like to walk through our bedroom without sidestepping through the obstacle course.
The problem is, I've had a sickie. My sweet ten-year-old spiked a 103 degree temp on Monday and, though the antibiotics are helping, she is still quite puny. And this one, when she is puny, stays close to her mama.
Which, in turn, makes her mama very happy. It also means I got very little done in the way of housework. (And by housework I mean keeping it sanitary and somewhat un-scary to the unsuspecting, unannounced visitor!)
Today she seemed to be feeling better. The kids spent the afternoon outside in the (hallelujah!) sunshine and I thought maybe, just maybe, I could get to that laundry. I checked my phone and stopped. All over the internet, posts about Kara Tippetts circulated and I clicked on a link. Immediately I remembered reading her letter to Brittany Maynard back in the Fall, begging Brittany to reconsider her decision to end her life because she was dying of brain cancer. Kara, too, was dying. But Kara had found beauty and grace in suffering, and she wanted Brittany and others like her to find the same.
Kara went home to Jesus on the 22nd. I never met her, never read her blog, but I felt so sad. She had four young children. She was only 38 years old.
She wanted time. Oh, she loved Jesus. She knew what awaited her immediately upon leaving her cancer-ridden body, but still she wanted time. Her husband and children are young. She knew her death would mean suffering for them as well.
What mama, what wife, doesn't want to prevent suffering in the lives of our families?
But God called her home and I saw the title of her book for the first time...The Hardest Peace.
My first thought was, "I have to read this book." So I ordered it.
Then I walked out of my room full of clothes in baskets and back outside with my kids and their friends. I looked at my daughter who had been sick all week, now smiling and enjoying the sunny day, and invited her to sit in the chairs on the deck with me. We sat and talked and sat some more...for over an hour. I did not touch laundry. I enjoyed the sounds of laughter, the sight of pursed lips blowing bubbles, the giggles of little girls who passed around the puppy, and the boyish yells from atop the dirt piles with rakes in their hands like weapons. It was good.
I didn't miss it.
And I am grateful that I waited until they were all in bed to tackle the laundry.
(Yep, it was still there hours later. Isn't that amazing?)
Today I got it right. Too many days I don't. Too many times I tell my kids to wait, just a second, maybe later because the responsibilities of motherhood press hard upon me and I forget that motherhood means being a mother first...that all the laundry and dishes are there because I am a mother. Their mother. They need ME more than they need clean clothes put away neatly in their drawers.
I want to get it right more often. I want to keep in my mind the possibility that my departure from this world may not come with a warning. Kara's did, and that is a huge blessing because she got to prepare for the end. But aren't we all terminal? Aren't we all one day closer to eternity than we were yesterday? Shouldn't we all be living as if we had a diagnosis because, in truth, we do?
If I did that, there are a lot of things that I imagine would be very different in how I live each day. If I did that it would be a game changer for me and my family.
Without the strength of the Holy Spirit coursing through my veins, though, it will never happen. So I will turn to Him, trusting Him to help me get it right. Day by day, moment by moment, I pray I will love my family well, love them hard and loud and love them joyfully. I pray Jesus in me will be irresistable to them. I pray I will get it right, and that God will cover the times when I don't.
Until then, I have a box of tissues and a little girl who is sleeping with mama just one more night. Just one more.