What follows is miscellany:
There’s a children’s book by author Patricia Polacco — Thunder Cake — which beautifully tells the story of a girl and her grandmother weathering a thunderstorm. The girl is scared, and the grandmother helps her through it by enlisting the child’s help to make a chocolate cake. It seems to be autobiographical for Polacco, and we enjoyed reading it at our house last week or so. Yesterday we ventured to make a Thunder Cake of our own.
It’s been spring break week for us here in Texas, and it’s been nice to have time at home, away from the hectic school schedules. We can actually make our beds in the morning without rushing. I can sweep the floor in the afternoon and make dinner while a friend comes for a visit. We can make Thunder Cake (though it was not stormy) and then play out in the front yard — some elaborate make-believe world that the girls constructed.
I had gotten to the point yesterday where I felt like I no longer had a spiritual bone in my body. My Lenten practice fizzled somewhere a few weeks ago, and it’s been something I knew but didn’t want to admit to myself. (How can one know something and deny it simultaneously? A question for the sages.) This came to me when I was cleaning up and it made me realize the dichotomy that occurs: as I seek to point my children toward a life of faith, I seem to live on the margin of it. Earlier in the week, Liesl was having trouble falling asleep. A great wave of anxiety was coming over her at night, and we tried to help her by coming to her bedside, sitting with her for awhile, and praying our way through it. This happened for three nights, and then seemed to go away. In part, we made Thunder Cake in honor of that. Because we often need to do something in the midst of being scared.
But all this thought caused me to open my Bible for the first time last night in weeks. I turned to the Beatitudes passage “Blessed are the … ” and meditated on the idea that the blessed are blessed in spite of circumstances.
And there was this verse that came later:
This surely is not the context intended but I read this and thought about how stubborn I am in not going (in thought, in action, in spirit) with Charles. He has a vision or a plan; I have a different one, and off I go in my direction. I need to go two miles with him. I need to be willing to go just one.
The blessed beyond circumstances I feel is that we have this love and this little tribe; our old friends from before we were married, and newer friends like lovely Meredith and our friend Tante Ellen, a nurse who has known us since the day of Liesl’s birth. We have family and all the rickety relations that come with them. We have house, home, food, sunshine, wind (which opposes us) and we have it all through our various struggles.
I have Mathilde (the affectionate warrior), and Charles, and Liesl. I have eyes to see how similar C and L are, reading a story at night, and how seeing gives me more love for them both.
The real blessing is that all of it is God-given. Would love to hear your thoughts. I have seemed to write less in this space (and am not writing much at all), but I miss you (those of you whom I know). And I appreciate your friendship in everything.
Happy windy March, xo SG