Sunrise, Sunset

Reflections on Shuffle Play

Sunrise, Sunset – Fiddler on the Roof Soundtrack

And they are off. I got my babies up early and onto the bus and another school year has begun. I woke up with the song, “Sunrise, Sunset” going through my mind. It is a bit sad and melancholic – like my mood today. Even though I am thankful for each passing year, I notice how quickly the sunrises and sunsets pass.

I went for a run and then made my way over to church. There is no one else at the church this morning for a little while. I love the quiet – a perfect way to begin a week which is going to be very busy. This feels like the lull before the storm.

So many to keep in prayer today – my head practically spins with all the prayers: those recovering from Hurricane Harvey, those worrying about Hurricane Irma, all those in the line of the fires out west, a young mom from my church who is in the hospital with crippling headaches and no diagnosis yet, all the nervous students and overwhelmed teachers, all the parents feeling all the different feelings on this gorgeous fall morning, all the churches preparing for Rally Sunday, prayers upon prayers upon prayers.

My days are better when I begin them with prayer – and my prayers are often exactly like this: I write and see what comes out. Sometimes I don’t even know what is on my heart and what I want to tell God about (or what God is trying to tell me) until I am writing it down. It happens that way, or when I am out walking and suddenly I notice that I have been talking out loud to myself or to God or to some imaginary ‘other’ for the past few minutes.

Some people think prayer is akin to good thoughts – nice, but relatively powerless. Others see prayer as a good luck charm – if we just pray enough or in the right way, God will grant all our wishes.

But I see prayer as a conversation – it’s me telling God what is on my heart and if I am quiet enough and really listening, God revealing something of God’s own heart to me. It happens. I can’t explain it, but it is one of the truest things I know. When I pray, something breaks open in my heart and makes enough room for the Spirit to move, to give me some wisdom, some inspiration, some peace I was needing.

So, yes, I pray for others – but mostly I pray because this selfish heart needs it and the medicine only it can give.

Why do you pray? Do you pray?

IMG_2720

Sunrise, Sunset
from Fiddler on the Roof
Is this the little girl i carried?
Is this the little boy at play?
I don’t remember growing older,
When did they?
When did she get to be a beauty?
When did he grow to be so tall?
Wasn’t it yesterday when they were small?
Sunrise sunset, sunrise, sunset,
Swiftly flow the days,
Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers,
Blossoming even as they gaze…
Sunrise sunset, sunrise, sunset!
Swiftly fly the years,
One season following another,
Laden with happiness and tears…
One season following another,
Laden with happiness and tears…

What Matters

Reflections on Shuffle-Play

What Matters by Matthew Sweet

My children go back to school tomorrow. After a long, beautiful summer filled with lazy days, sleeping in, camp, movies, one tonsillectomy, one trip to Norway, sleepovers, too many video games and TV shows, it is time to start a different routine. Right now, it’s hard to be too sentimental about them not being around every day as they are yelling at each other in the next room. Even so, I always get a little sad when it is time for the school year to start. I love the summers and the long, uninterrupted days with them. Sure, I still have to go to work, but they are old enough now that they are fine to be left alone for a few hours. We have always been spoiled, too, since the church where I work is right next door so if they needed me, in 200 paces they could be at my office door.

I never planned to be a mom. I was never one to exclaim over babies or to dream about raising a child. I can’t explain our decision to become parents except that one day when I was 35 my husband and I talked about how if we were going to become parents, we would have to start trying soon. We were so casual about it – completely content to let nature take its course. If we became pregnant – great. If we didn’t, it wasn’t meant to be. Our sense of eagerness would likely have increased if it had taken us longer – but as it was, the first time we tried to get pregnant, we did. It happened in exactly the same way a year later when we got pregnant with our second child. I was well aware of how different the experience was for many of my friends who tried for years to get pregnant and suffered miscarriages, so I never took my ease for granted. I was thankful.

But still, before my eldest finally arrived, I was scared. What if I hated being a mom? What if my child didn’t like me? I worried my way into motherhood, gaining 60 pounds and yet nauseous the whole time. My anxiety ramped up to a furious level as I thought about all the new things there were to worry about now when I not only had my own cares and concerns, but this whole other little person, too.

Then, he was born on a June afternoon. I didn’t get to hold him until the middle of the night because he had to be on oxygen in the NICU for a while. My husband had gone home to get a few hours of sleep and the nurse brought him to me and placed him in my arms. With the sounds of the city just beginning to wake up outside, I held my first-born and looked at his little face. So serene. So peaceful. All he needed in the whole wide world was for me to be his mom, and I realized that was what I needed, too.

And so, I became a mom – and I could write books about this – but the greatest surprise has been how it has been the loveliest part of life so far. My children have changed everything. They have made me less selfish. They have made me realize what matters. While I am prone to get too worked up about things at work, they remind me I am more than my job.

So, anyway, it’s back to school time. God bless my dear boys and all the children heading back to the routine of classrooms and extracurriculars. God bless all the parents as we let them go to keep on with their becoming.

sausalito boys

 

What Matters

In my mind I can’t imagine
How the world has come to me
And in my heart I can’t detach
The feeling that it couldn’t be

And no, I don’t want to kiss you
Don’t want to miss you if you go away
I’ll fake it don’t want to make it
Don’t want to feel another way

Once you had a love and you let it go
Now you know what matters
Once you had a dream that you realized
But do you know what matters

‘Cause you’re alone in the sense that I am
But you know we’re not alone
And we aren’t perfect nothing is
But try to understand
The moment leaves you without a vision
Can’t see decisions being made
I can describe the picture I’m painting
It’s not amazing when you know

Once you had a love and you let it go
Now you know what matters
Once you had a dream that you realized
But do you know what matters

To leave your feelings in the past
Part of it is you know you can’t go back for free

And no, I don’t want to kiss you
Don’t want to miss you if you go away
I’ll fake it don’t want to make it
Don’t want to feel another way

Once you had a love and you let it go
Now you know what matters
Once you had a dream that you realized
But do you know what matters

To leave your feelings in the past
Part of it is you know you can’t go back for free

What matters

Songwriters: Matthew Sweet