Waking Up, Mad.

My heart has always been broken for the poor.

For as long as I can remember I have been moved with compassion toward those in need. Lord knows, I have sent many prayers to the orphans, a happy thought to the depressed, a tear, a hug. To someone.

But today, that is not enough. The world is too upside-down.

It is not enough to sit on my leather couch and be moved to tears when I read about the war-torn families in Uganda. It is not enough, to walk past my sick, lonely neighbor and only smile and say “hi.” It is not enough to kneel in my garden and pull weeds and give thanks for the priviledged life that I have lived.

Today, I am bleeding mad.

Mad that I am eating a brownie for breakfast, while a girl in Malawi, has not had any bread for days. Mad that my daughter gets to sleep next to me, while another child hides in a closet. I am mad that I have let myself care more about what I’m eating, and wearing, and missing, than for the orphans in Mexico, who just got snatched away from their home, from sleep secure. From the only love they knew.

I am mad that it has gone this long, before I have come to my senses and given more than a fleeting thought to something other than my needs and my dreams and my lack and my success. Mad that it’s been so long since I ventured outside of myself, since I looked into the eyes of another and cared for their soul.

I am tired of living a nice, comfortable life. I’ve had enough of my selfish squanderings of grace.

I want to do something. I need to do something.  I must! Anything! Something that actually makes a difference.

So I pick up the swelling stack of papers that have been staring at me from the far side of the kitchen table. The ones that will open the door for a child to come in. I look at them and all the work that they represent, and then I let go, and the ink pours. I think about the change and the adjustment and the sacrifice, but I don’t even care. I sign my name anyway.

I’m in. I’m ready.

And I’m mad.

On Weddings and Doing it Over.

My brother got married this weekend. He did the right thing and married the bright-eyed, young woman of his childhood dreams.

And I did the usual girl thing and cried.

I cried when I saw the bride throw her arms around her daddy. I cried when he walked her down the aisle. I definitely cried during the vows. I cried again when I hugged them both for the first time, as husband and wife. And you can guess what transpired when the father/daughter dance happened.

Granted they were mostly happy tears. But they lead me to this question: Why are weddings such emotionally charged events?

I guess it is pretty major when a girl leaves her father and mother and “cleaves” to her husband. She transfers everything short of loyalty to “the new guy,” a man other than the one who raised her and cared and provided for her. Now that I’m a Mama, I think of the day that we give our own daughter away in marriage. Whaaa??!!

No wonder I cried. It was an emotional day. Not to mention, this is my baby brother! The one who I used to prop up on pillows and couches and take pictures of. The one who I doted on and dressed up in weird clothes. Yep. That one. I feel just a little bit old right now. (Thanks, Josh!)

Nevertheless, it was a great wedding! Fun and sweet and memorable, everything a wedding should be. Which makes me think of my own. How happy and chaotic and stressful it was. And what I would do differently, if I got to do it over.

Do you ever think about what you would do differently at your wedding? Do any of you men think about that, or is that another one of those “girl things?”

I don’t know. But if I did it over, I would definitely do a few things different.

First of all, I would take a really deep breath, and relax a little more. I would walk down the aisle a little slower. Take it in a little more. I would linger a little longer on my dad’s shoulders when we embrace each other. I would whisper “I love you” one more time, to the man who raised me. And then I would let myself cry, like my brother’s bride did. I would not hold back.

I would laugh a lot more, too. I would laugh at one of my bridesmaids not having her attire, the morning of the wedding. And at myself for losing it, somewhere in a pile of discarded wedding stuff. (YES. This happened!) I would laugh at the fact that by the time we got to the reception, all the water floating those flowers and candles in a pretty clawfoot tub, had sank to the bottom, and now there was just a clawfoot tub. By a tree. I would laugh about the fact that one song kept playing over and over. And that our “first dance” song wouldn’t play! I would laugh at the silly espresso people that never showed up. Never mind the fact that our invitations said, “join us for dinner and coffee…”

You know. That kind of stuff. I would just laugh and have fun with it!

Life is too short, not to laugh at your own wedding.

And cry at everyone else’s.

Can you see the claw foot tub? Great idea, right?!!

When I get big…

“I wanna be a donkey.”

Only my child would say that.

I took her out for some oatmeal, (yes, oatmeal!) at the Corner Bakery today and I got to ask her some very important questions. Like what she wanted to be when she grows up. You know, like a baker, since she loves baking cookies, or a zookeeper, since she loves animals, or a vet…Something like that. I was pretty sure she wasn’t going to say “a nanny” or “a hairdresser.” And I figured it would have something to do with animals, but a donkey? Really?

Wow. The things that enter into my child’s brain. And then immediately flow out.:)

In the midst of all the weird stuff, I still learn more about God and life and the world, from my three-year-old, than anyone else.

Just a few things she taught me today:

The world is your canvas. Color it.

Yes, even your forehead.

Do not pay any attention to anyone who may be trying to take a picture. Just DO YOUR THING.

Go ahead and lick the sugar off of your cookie. You know you want to.

Relax and have a bowl of oatmeal. It’s good for your heart. I think.

Enjoy the simple things.

Be goofy.

Be free.

(Then, when no one is watching, grab the closest camera and go on a picure-taking binge.)

Take pictures of everything. Napkins, water, flowers.

I said EVERYTHING. You never know when the backside of a total stranger will be the muse for your next blog post.

And don’t forget your Mama. Never, ever forget yo’ Mama. She is the reason you live.

That’s all for now. But don’t forget. There will be more tomorrow. Actually, come to think of it, there will be more today.

Not bad for a three-year-old, huh?