Happy Birthday to the one who holds it all together…

I am late. I have the habit of wishing a Happy Birthday to those in my household here, on this little blog. I have the habit of thinking over their lives and recognizing the people they are, and are becoming.

 

There was a birthday this week, and I didn’t write. At least not until this morning. The week was a whirlwind. We started Monday recouping from a hockey tournament which took up the entire weekend. The eldest’s team went undefeated, by the way. Pretty great.

 

Then there was a small event on Tuesday which occupied a bit of our attention.

 

Wednesday and Thursday and are a bit of a blur.

 

Thursday was the birthday. I needed a bit of a quiet morning to write this birthday tribute, and this morning is the first of the week. Listening to Leonard Cohen with the sun peeking in is a perfect morning.

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Yesterday was the husband’s birthday. He left for work, just as the sun was rising. Came home twelve hours later with a smile. He has been, for 19 years, the consistent one in the family. He continually provides for us, encourages us, cheers us on. He continually sacrifices so I can stay home and the kids can homeschool.

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He leads without realizing how eager people are to follow him. He is wise and kind, and people recognize that.

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This week sparks a new chapter in our lives as he began a new job, after 11 years at his previous employment. We will be moving closer to the big city soon, and things will change. We are excited about a bit less stress, and the opportunity to be closer to friends. Excited about a new chapter.

 

So, a little late, but Happy Birthday, Steve. Thank you for continually bringing stability to our home. Thank you for working so hard for us. Thank you for cheering so loudly for us. Thank you for always surprising us with new talents: drawing something amazing, or sitting down to the piano and figuring out how to play Benny and the Jets. Or Styx.

 

Thank you for raising three boys to be strong, compassionate men.

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And one little girl to know what a Godly, compassionate father and husband looks like.

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We love you. Happy Birthday.

Remember to Sing

Other than a few birthday posts, I have not written anything in some time. There have been a few moments where I had the nudge of a thought, but it slipped away before I caught it in words. I know that part of this owes simply to a very busy life right now with sports and homeschool and six people living in a house together.

There are fewer moments to think. They have to be sought after, and I have not had the energy to seek them.

Life has been stressful. The husband just quit a job of eleven years and began a new employment today There was stress in making the decision, and now we face the exciting stress of selling our home and finding a new place to live.

Stress is tiring. 

It sneaks up on us a bit, and we don’t realize the impact. For me, today, sipping a very good latte while staring out the window at trees filled with color I realize I have not read anything of real worth in quite awhile. I’ve been numb. Stress has snuck in and zapped my mental energy.
The stress of this election. No matter which side you are on, no matter if you are in despair or great hope – this election has been wearing on our mental and emotional strength.

So, I turned to a faithful friend. Chesterton. I randomly opened On Lying In Bed and Other Essays and read ‘The Little Birds Who Won’t Sing’.  Just like that my mind was sparked and thoughts began flowing again….life was spoken and the stress and wear pushed back.  Chesterton wrote about the lack of songs and chants in modern enterprise, compared to the songs of sailors and others. He concluded the short essay with this:

And at the end of my reflections I had really got no further than the sub-conscious feeling of my friend the bank-clerk – that there is something spiritually suffocating about our life; not about our laws merely, but about our life. Bank-clerks are without songs not because they are poor, but because they are sad. Sailors are much poorer. As I passed homewards I passed a little tin building of some religious sort, which was shaken with shouting as a trumpet is torn with its own tongue. They were singing anyhow; and I had for an instant a fancy I had often before: that with us the super-human is the only place where you can find the human. Human nature is hunted, and has fled into sanctuary.

That last line settled in my mind. Human nature is hunted, and has fled into sanctuary.

We need, so deeply, to protect that delicate and yet ferociously tenacious human nature, when it flees to sanctuary near us.

I was driving yesterday on a back country road and as a truck came toward me, the driver waved. I was so impacted by that simple gesture. Of course it helped that I was listening to Randall Goodgame and friends singing “Love One Another”. In that moment, I was overwhelmed by this sense that we are in this together. That simple greeting made me feel not alone in that moment.

I know, that sounds terribly dramatic. But I think many of us are feeling that swell of emotion just below the surface. A harsh word can spark a meltdown and rant. A simple wave and greeting can remind us to love one another. We are all bearing stress. We are all weary in certain areas.

We all find it difficult to sing sometimes. Not just in our occupations, but in our spiritual state.

There is relief, though. There is grace. There are songs…sometimes it takes a latte and fall colors to release them.

Sometimes we have to set aside what is weighing on us, seek sanctuary, and be reminded we are created in the image of a great Creator. We have to remember to sing. 

I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up and have not let my foes rejoice over me.

O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me.

O Lord, you have brought up my soul from Sheol; you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.

Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints, and give thanks to his holy name.

For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!  – Psalm 30:1-5, 11-12

Tomorrow will be a stressful day. Regardless of who you are hoping will win. Wave to someone. Greet someone with kindness.

Love one another.

Raise up your heads, look and find the wonder around you, and remember that our salvation is not in politics. Make sanctuary for the humanity around you as you go vote, or interact with those you encounter in your day.

And sing.

And read something that sparks life to your mind and your spirit.

And love one another.