Last night I had a moment as I was tucking my daughter into her bed.
We had said our prayers, and I just sat there on the bed next to her as she drifted off to sleep. I looked around her soft pastel-colored room and took it all in. The things she had out on her little desk. The note she had left to herself on the mirror of her vanity with a dry erase marker. The clothes she had neatly laid out to wear the next day.
These small little things that made up the life of my baby girl.
The details in her life that often I miss because I am too busy preparing for the next moment.
As I sat there on her bed, I wondered how many times I would go back to this moment when she is grown and is out of our nest. How many times would I want to turn back the time and go back to this exact season of life.
I already know that I will miss this. In a weird way, I already do.
If I am not careful, I can focus on that part of it way too much though. I can cry myself into a heaping mess if I let my emotions go haywire. For my husband's sake and my sanity, I try not to ponder too much on this anymore. Really, I have to stay sane-for a little longer anyway.
As I was lying on her bed taking in the beauty of life, and all of God's blessings, I was reminded of something I saw on my morning walk.
My neighbor was home. I saw his car in the driveway. I wondered what he was doing. Did he have plans that day? Was he watching Fox news and wondering what in the world is happening in our world? Bombs exploding, people suffering, chaos ensuing. Or maybe he was still asleep. Or maybe jut eating breakfast.
My neighbor is elderly. And he is a widower.
He was on my heart because of a passage of James that had struck me like lightning strikes a hot Summer sky.
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27
This scripture has been popping up all over the place and I have been asking the Lord what He wants me to do about it.
God and I have had many long talks about the orphan part, but never about the widow part.
There's a lot of concern over orphans these days, as there should be. Too many orphans. Period.
However, I don't hear much talk about taking care of widows.
It's not something I hear about on the news, or in conversations around the dinner table.
Yet, James tells us that caring for widows is important to God. Not just important, but "pure" and "faultless".
As I walked by my neighbor's house, I heard a whisper in my soul, "He is important to Me, Jill."
I could have dropped to my knees right then and there and sobbed my blubbering eyes out. But, I didn't. I'm working on my sanity, remember?
The thought occurred to me that he had probably been tucking his kids into bed--and in his mind it probably seemed just like yesterday.
Did he miss this?
Did he miss the noise of a full house?
Was he lonely?
Was he happy?
I needed to know.
Because if God allows me to live a long life, I will be in his shoes.
Hopefully my husband will be with me, but life will still be different. With no beckoning schedule, no demanding alarm clock, no other mouths to feed besides our own....
Will we be okay?
Or will we long for the years that have slipped away.
Will we pray that someone will stop by and see us to fill up the long gaps of time in our days?
All of these things were spinning in my mind as I lie still in my daughter's bed.
My thoughts circled around something my daughter said as we finished our prayers. I have not stopped thinking about it.
"Mommy, thank you for doing the dishes and cleaning up the kitchen after we eat every night. I know you are tired, but you do it anyway."
I told her that I loved to serve my family, and that I also consider it as serving Jesus Christ. It helps my attitude to change. A ton.
Maybe this is what she will remember when she is gone from this room and from the safety of our nest. Maybe it won't be the big things, the big toys, the big vacations...
But the ordinary things.
Like, doing her dishes.
It is quite possible that in that moment she had unlocked a treasure of wisdom in both of our hearts.
Something that maybe only an elderly person, and widower may know.
It is the small, mundane and ordinary that we may miss the most. So, cherish them. Be thankful for them. And do them often.
Lord, how can I cherish these days. Not letting the ticking of the clock distract me from where I am and who I am with. Not letting the demands and allure of my IPhone take my eyes away from the eyes that have souls and not batteries. Help me to see these moments that are ordinary. That really, are extraordinary.
Keep my eyes wide open to orphans and widows in my very midst. Help me to not be self-focused, but other's focused, Lord.
embracing the ordinary,