Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Four red spots

I found four red spots on my left arm the other day. I read somewhere that red spots are symptoms of leukemia.

Let's just say that my mind wandered far, far away for the next fifteen minutes. I couldn't believe the intensity of my fear. It was so unexpected, especially because I didn't really believe that I had leukemia (or did I?).

At one point, I was worried that I would not be able to nurse Yohanan during chemotherapy. And whether the boys would understand why mommy can't answer them when she lays in the coffin.


I've never been one who fear death. I knew it was an awful thing. And I felt terrible when I heard people losing their loved ones. But I have never feared my own death. It seemed so... inconsequential. If I die, I die. Besides, I was curious to see the world to come. Or perhaps, I just thought that death would not happen to me, not yet.

Of all things unexpected about motherhood, the fear of my own death is most surprising. In a strange way, I think it can be a good thing -- a reminder for me to truly live, and live truly.

Life is weightier now. I am a mom.

I have a distinct purpose for waking up every morning: I have people to feed. And when I collapse in bed (or on the floor, or in my chair) at night, I can feel good about one thing: People are clean. These might not be grand purposes, but they get me out of bed every day.

After a few more clicks around the internet, I don't think I have leukemia. Phew.

Cheers to more meals to cook and more baths to give!
(Even though sometimes people would rather eat flowers)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

On the Tornado and a Flood

The tornado siren went off right before the boys' bedtime last night. It ended with the words: "Take. Shelter. Now." I nearly finished vacuuming the apartment and was annoyed that I had to rush the end of my routine. I love watching crumbs disappearing into the powerful machine. The siren was loud and deafening. They test the warning system the first Tuesday of every month at 10 a.m. I have two words: baby-waker.

Thankfully, my common sense kicked in right around when the wind started howling. We grabbed the boys and headed into the basement. Shortly after, our building lost electricity for the next 14 hours. The boys had a dark and exciting night, but they settled down quite well after all the commotion.

We survived. The tornado, and the flood of questions and comments from Emeth.

Why is there no light, Mommy?
Emeth wants to see, Mommy.
Why is there no number on the clock?
Why is the bathroom so dark?
Switch on the light, Mommy.
Mommy's stove is not working.

There is no lec-tris-ty, Mommy.

I tried to explain this new concept to him. This all-important thing called "electricity" that apparently makes (almost) everything work. Hans came to my rescue.

Hans:   Emeth, everything in this world is made of atoms. And atoms are surround by a cloud of electrons. (Sorry, but I can't recall the exact words between p-orbital and positive holes) ...Do you understand, Emeth?
Emeth: Yes.
(End of questions. Amazing.)

I married him for many reasons.

The world was dark and quiet last night. Perfect for conversations.

We thought about Emeth's questions and his fierce need to understand the world.

We talked about the tsunami in Japan, and imagined how parents of young children would explain why their homes were no longer standing, and how all their belongings were washed away.

We talked about the Holocaust. We talked about the children in concentration camps. The babies and their nursing mothers. We thought about the horrors of explaining violence and cruelty to three-year-olds.

We talked about our world with little children. And how life is so different since they came. And the happiness of belonging to them.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

In search for love

Sunday School has been way too much fun lately.
The topic? Marriage.

Teach about marriage to high school students? None of them are even dating yet. But in actuality, this makes it so much more fun (for me). Because none of them are attached, there is little fear of hurting feelings or stepping on any toes. Just plenty of laughter and giggles all around.

Along the way, I giggled a little about Hans. I thought about why I married him; I thought about us, five years later, and what we have learned.

I recalled a silly conversation we had when we were dating (though I refused to call it "dating" for the same reason I refused to call him my "boyfriend"). I told Hans I didn't want to be called a "spouse" because it rhymed with "mouse". I did not mind being a "wife", even though it rhymed with "knife". But a "spouse" just sounded... bad.

You can say that I was seriously confused.

I had questions. Like, how do I know whether I was ready for a relationship? Or, how do I know whether he was "the one"? Should I just go by "feelings"? Because I felt pretty strongly about not wanting to be called a "spouse".

I think it would have been helpful if I had known what I was looking for. What the Bible teaches about marriage. What marriage should look like. What is the goal of marriage.

First, we went through Genesis 1-2, Ephesians 5, and Hosea 1-2. Then, we studied Proverbs (3:13-20; 4:1-9; and this week 8:12-36). Here, we read the words of a father teaching his son about life and love.

In search for love, the father does not give his son a list of things to look for. There is no mention of religion or ethnicity (things that would be important to the law in ancient Israel). Rather, his son is to pursue only one thing: Wisdom. In Proverbs, to have wisdom means to fear the Lord and keep his commandments.

In search for love, the son is not to be searching for love at all. Lady Wisdom is to be his first love, his best love. Wisdom promises to guard and keep him; she will love him and fulfill him. Love wisdom, and wisdom will teach him to love.

So, how do I know whether he or she is the right person for me? Love wisdom. Fear the Lord and keep his commandments. This, in actuality, applies to many of the questions we direct to God. What should I do in this relationship? How should I raise my children? What job should I apply for? Which college? What do you want me to do and where do you want me to go?

Love God and keep his commandments.
If we do not love the Father, we will not love his will and his ways.

We resemble whom we love. We become what we worship. In search for love, we love not love itself, but we seek after God. In doing so, we become like him. In him, we find love.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

This Parade

A few days ago, I wrote to a close friend telling her I was lost in a fog. Unable to see very much, or think very well. Tired. Overwhelmed. Defeated.

I had an epiphany in the shower today. Foggy days, I discovered, was not the right way to think about these past few weeks.

I actually quite like foggy days. I love to walk in the fog, wrapped in that quiet stillness -- which is the exact opposite of how these past few weeks had been.

Here is a better way to describe the state of my mind: drowned in a parade. Deafening music. Clashing cymbals. Blinding colors. And the most annoying thing -- it doesn't go anywhere. I did not go anywhere.

I dislike parades in general. Especially this present one of dirty sinks, laundry, allergies, infections, broken bone. Oh my!

Strangely though, identifying the nature of this chaos has provided a great relief. A parade seems somewhat more manageable than dense, unyielding fog. 

Oh, this is only a parade! I know what to do with parades.

and walk away.

Pompous and exaggerated. An unimpressive distraction.
There is more to life than this.

Soul, remember your destination,
where do you need to be?