Thursday, February 21, 2013
It's been raining here.
I think most of the world would scoff at our idea of rain out here in the middle of this California desert. But really, we got a good two or three inches over the last few days. The parking lot in front of our apartment is very worn. My guess is that it's still the original lot that was put in when the complex was built 40 years ago. It's been worn down in the middle and is filled with pot holes, cracks and divots that make driving out of the lot at 5 miles an hour feel like you're off-roading in an action film. These defects become the most noticeable during and after the rare rainstorm we get. The entire northern region of the lot fills with water that - if you dare to wade through it- would reach your ankles at least. My husband and I have had a few fun sloshes through the crater to get to our car. Once, we even created make-shift galoshes out of plastic shopping bags. The idea was solid; the bags were not.
The analogy of rain washing away imperfections and leaving beautiful, clear skies is especially profound to me since I live in this valley who's air quality has several times qualified as the worst in the nation. After rain, everyone in Bakersfield is in awe of how beautiful this valley is. We all 'wake up' for a few days and basque in the splendor of breathing fresh air, seeing blue skies and being surrounded on all sides by beautiful, I-never-knew-they-were-so-close mountains. The remainder of the year, we are completely unaware of how beautiful this place is. And the only cure is two or three days of gloomy, wet, blustery weather in which virtually none of us can drive.
Lately, I've been experiencing a few storms in my personal life: Many whom I love are choosing things that are contrary to the teachings of the church. Many are wandering; lost. Some of these people are not only close to me, but actually helped me form and grow my own testimony. They all present questions and skepticism which have, on occasion, shaken my once very solid foundation. There have been financial struggles and mental health crises and our latest blow: we've been told that my husband is going to have to find another job as his boss is closing up shop.
From the outside, our little rain storms really don't look like much, but I'm afraid that I'm a lot like the defective parking lot in front of our complex, in that you can see where I am the weakest while the rain is falling. I flood very easily. Just a few inches of rain could very easily render me completely useless.
I'm so blessed to have a loving Father in Heaven who knows only too well that all I really need to be able to endure it all, is to see a little slice of blue sky through all of the clouds. Very frequently during my storms, He'll grant me the tender mercy that I need in order to continue pursuing that beautiful, clear day that He has promised will come.
Through our small trials- and through the big ones- the Lord has blessed me endlessly with slices of blue sky: a husband who's faith and logic quell all doubts that have ever been presented to us; a faithful mother who's prayers have kept a family spiritually fed; a hard-working husband and father who's thrift and industry has kept his family physically fed; prayers offered by friends on our behalf which have granted us peace, strength, and countless job opportunities; and a beautiful, sunny day after our three days of gloom in which my 18-month-old son gleefully jumped in left-over puddles while I happily noticed the picturesque mountains and remembered how beautiful this valley really is.
Thursday, February 14, 2013
Once upon a time, I was running errands. Luke was bored. So I bought him a valentine's day dollar store balloon (I know, I pull out all the stops for that kid). I loaded him into the car, fixed his broken balloon (it was a dollar) and away we went. Five minutes later, Luke is happily banging his balloon around in the back seat while I speed down Coffee. All is well.
Shortly after stopping at a red light, I hear a curious scurry of movement, turn around and there is Luke, STANDING next to his car seat, jumping up and down, laughing hysterically.
After a full minute of open-mouthed gaping and listening to my brain go, "whaaaa...?" I realize, I'd gotten so disctracted by fixing his dang balloon, that my baby brain forgot to remind me to buckle that stinker in. Then the light turned green. There was nowhere to pull over.
"SIT YOUR BUM DOWN!" I...very calmly scream at him.
He obeys. Thank all that is good.
I laugh nervously about his prior jubilation at having freed himself from his car seat prison.
We pull into the nearest gas station.
I wrangle him into his seat.
I narrowly avoid prison.