Naughty Dog in her pile of blissful drool...
I rushed around the house throwing everything needed for our evening away in a ramshackle pile in the middle of the kitchen table. I am not much of a packer. Most of my organizational skills involve laundry baskets and ice chests. Things can easily be sorted in this way. In my mind that's how it works, anyway. If it's food--it belongs in the ice chest. If it's anything else--it lands in the laundry basket.
This last family adventure was to take us to a Buffalo Bills game with some friends from church. Wayne and I had purchased the tickets over a month ago. We knew it was a pre-season game, on a week night. Brave. We even dared go as far as actually telling our boys we were going. This choice has proven to be a dangerous call for us in many previous situations. For the most part, we commit to nothing as a family and we definitley don't "pre-plan" adventures. We can't. My husband working for a utility company, being on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week is our way of life. There are many family gatherings, church events and karate practices that happen with three of us. I am in no means whining or complaining. I'm just not that type of girl--well, unless it involves my coffee! I make the choice every day to be thankful for Wayne's employment. Some days it is a little more challenging than others. But Wayne's job is the way God has chosen to provide for our family. This job gives us the ability for me to stay home and home school our boys. It puts food on our table and pays for the heat I so enjoy on a cool, rainy day. This job also provides the health insurance we use in the emergency room….A LOT. Remember--we have boys--Ashbaugh boys.
As I continued to toss items onto the mountain of needed belongings on the table my phone beeped. Yes. The dreaded beep. The beep that signals "I am going to be late." or "Just got called out--I can't make it." Now I would like to tell you I handled this "beep" like a well behaved, Christian wife. (laugh now--remember---I am a red head!) I pulled my phone from my pocket, viewed the text and grumpily started running scenarios through my head. "Ok. I can do this. I can drive two hours…and after dark…I'll wear my glasses because I know I'm blind with contacts. I can take two teenage boys to an arena. Yep. Who am I kidding? They will drive me nuts wanting french-fries every five minutes. They always push me more than they would their dad. Well, I can have Gail (my wonderful friend that is always up to a fun time with me) ride with me and navigate. Yes. I can do this. Ugh. But now I feel awful. He worked so hard so we could go and now we're going without him." Wouldn't you love to be in this brain? It can get quite loud and jumbled at times.
I cautiously opened the screen to my phone: "Still waiting for someone to cover me." That's it. It didn't say he couldn't go. But by this time my brain was already arranging seating in my head. How could I strategically place Gail and myself to keep the "wet willies" and "hurts-don't-its" at bay? Would the van make it to Buffalo? I had forgotten to tell Wayne about the hiccup it had when I ran to the grocery store. (And yes…I had thought of the "things" I’d done with that Town and Country and wondered if I finally had done the ole girl in!). While I was still organizing how my evening at the Bills game without my husband would go, my phone beeped…again. Wayne was headed home! I would like to say at that time my "do it correctly attitude" kicked in and I thanked God and my heart was calmed. Unfortunately, I am a slow learner. So instead of putting on the "correct attitude", I chose to add physically racing around our home to my already racing, cantankerous mind. Double checking "the pile", locating tickets. I had to gas the van, I had to run to the bank. After all, we were going to need cash for the many orders of fries those boys were going to want! I had to get Wayne clean clothes in the bathroom so he could change quickly. He WAS twenty minutes behind schedule!
Upon my husband's arrival, I slid a plate of dinner in front of him. I may or may not have even "slid" some of his pepper steak and rice clean off the plate and into our oldest son's spot at the table! I tried to convince Wayne to join my mind and body in this race I was running. Why wasn't he scooping that rice faster?! I just didn't understand why HE wasn't racing! I stopped. Physically stopped.
"Be still and know…" Psalm 46:10
These words echoed in my head as I thought back to the night before this chaotic day of "racing"…I had sat on the couch in my nightly routine as Naughty Dog plopped her drool-y, wrinkly self down on my lap. She quickly dozed off in the blissful peace only a snoring hound could achieve. As I looked down, I couldn’t help but notice the puddle of drool forming on my nice, fluffy blanket. She wasn’t aware, nor did she care. As I rubbed her velvety ears, she payed no attention to the spat going on between two boys over what we are watching that evening--"Iron Fist" or "Monster Fish"--either one is fine with Wayne or I because it usually isn't long before we accompany Naughty in her nightly nostril orchestration. Through the noise of television decisions, snack choices being made and the "beep" signaling the arrival of a text from my Ma checking in as she normally does, Naughty Dog slept the evening away in my arms. Now, mind you, she snores like a freight train! But to be in such a place where she is that blissful while she snores like a freight train! Talk about peace!
Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:25 "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear---or if and when you will make a football game!" Ok, maybe I ad-libbed a bit here. But you get my point. In preparation for our evening away, I had failed. I failed to trust the One that that holds me in His arms. I allowed my focus to be blurred by a "beep". A "beep" I let be a "green flag". That "beep" sent me on a race--a race no one else in our home even saw me running.
Days are full of "interruptions", unplanned occurrences. "Beeps" as we may call them. (Like right at this moment--one kid is "beeping" about wanting an Uncle's phone number while the other is "beeping" about the bananas being "all beat up"--whatever that may mean!) How many times do we allow a random "beep" to start us on a race instead of trusting the One who orchestrated the "beep" in the first place?
"The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:13
And yes, not only did we make the football game, God provided a place in our church van for us to ride along and split parking costs and catch up with friends. Wayne's ability to go allowed my dear friend Gail to ride shotgun avoiding all "Ashbaugh boy" entertainment---and--the Bills WON!