Lost Books and Potatoes in the Trash Can, or How Details Can Overwhelm

I fished through Henrik’s toy bin, my eyes finally catching the round wooden disk that had no business amongst the sock monkey and blocks.  I slipped the coaster under my coffee and smiled.  Life with an eighteen month-old.

He’s sort of predictable.  He loves playing with the coasters and the potatoes and his shoes, and he rotates those things among several cache points around the house.  One of those cache points is the kitchen garbage.  If we can’t find something we sort of dread that it’s in the city dump.

IMG_2443This morning, pre-coffee mind you, I tried to help Reuben locate his school library books.  Instead I found an overdue one from our public library (sigh) but no sign of the others.  I dreaded two things; one, that I had returned books to the wrong library and two, that Henrik had thrown them away.

Life has a lot of details.  An aching amount of them.

Reuben’s school agenda has color-coded checkmarks each day, the colors representing his behavior.  The color key was clearly explained in one of the five hundred papers the kids brought home.  For now I’m just sort of hoping green means good, because I had quite a truckload of details hit me that first week of school.  Seriously.  Important papers about their passwords for different math sites they were were supposed to use, picture day packets, letters from their teachers explaining what days they had spelling tests and how much they were to be reading each night and on and on.  I understand it, I do, I don’t even question it, but I do know that I cannot do this all well.  Not at once, anyways.

I will be that mom who the front desk receptionist sees breathlessly sprinting a violin into the school with a baby bouncing on my hurrying hip.  I’ll be the one calling my local library to see if some school books were accidentally dropped there.  I’ll be the one fishing through a toy box for a coaster.  Because that’s what life looks like right now, and no color-coded dry-erase master calendar organizational pinterest-inspired command station could even save me from this madness.  Why?  Because Henrik would throw potatoes into the files and Edison would draw pictures on the board and I’d probably end up using the space as a soap-curing table ;).

It might surprise you to learn that I’m actually a highly organized person.  My kitchen is so well-ordered that if you look close, you’ll see my spices are lined up alphabetically (only because Henrik can’t reach them yet, mind you).  I do not like, nor welcome, chaos for chaos’s sake.  But staying on top of all the details in my life feels like trying to bail water out of a canoe in the midst of a full gale.  Or like someone dumping truckloads of marbles in through my window, which I try to sort into like colors and keep out of the baby’s mouth while more trucks wait their turns.

I can’t keep up.  I forget things, the kids forget things.  We borrow grace like it’s going out of style, and pay late fees with an apologetic smile.  But whenever we consider the ways we are failing, it’s a good practice to think equally about what we’re getting right.IMG_1825IMG_1836 IMG_1850 IMG_1926 The thousand and one ways that we’re living well in the midst of gale-force winds and unruly amounts of marbles tripping our steps.  The holy moments which pepper our days as fiercely as the details do, if we can stop a minute and see them, removing our shoes in awe.  Life is happening beautifully and fully in spite of our imperfections, our mistakes, our inadequacies.

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  II Corinthians 12:9



2 thoughts on “Lost Books and Potatoes in the Trash Can, or How Details Can Overwhelm

  1. Dear Sarah, I love reading your reflections on your life. You have this unique ability to step back from the moment….view it from a distance as if watching the whole thing play out in a theater. It’s from this point of observation that you write and make sense of it. And in the process you evaluate and make sure it all lines up with your morality, your priorities. This entry made me tear up. Oh, I’ve been there so many times when the details and the demands on me feel overwhelming. It seems that exactly in the midst of the moment when I am about to cry out ” Lord, I cannot do it all!” In that painful moment I want to learn to step back, and observe, “sort it out” like you’ve done here. To let the ” chaos” or problems or broken things or responsibilities become something that is not so imminent and pressing. Anyway…this one hit the spot. Thank you Sarah.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s