Saturday, May 14, 2011

Ballet Recital Etiquette

We're heading out in a bit to see our 4-year-old (almost 5!!!) granddaughter in her very first ballet recital. Her role in the program is as a red bird, getting on Noah's ark. You can guarantee that she'll be the cutest, most adorable, most precious, most talented child there. I'll be the one in the front row laden down with every type of camera available (camera phone, video camera, digital camera) snapping away while the child performs. Yes, we'll be getting there early so Nammy can get a good seat for all of these photography needs.

But my question is this: Is it permissible to holler "Whooop whooop whooop" at a dance recital and to chant someone's name like you do at a football game? Do we make signs to hold up that read: "Amelia is the BEST red bird e-v-e-r!!!" Do we clap politely for all of the other children before we scream ourselves silly for our granddaughter, who will obviously be the star of the show? After having four children that were extremely involved in sports, I know how to be the rowdy parent in the stands (or walking along the sidelines as I usually did). But being a genteel, refined grandparent of a ballerina ... well, that's a little new for me.

Maybe I'll leave my air horn at home. Maybe I'll force myself to not actually yell some kind of encouragement during the show (but I don't know that I'll be able to restrain myself when they introduce her). But know this. Inside, I'll be whooping, hollering, rowdy, and obnoxious while on the outside I'll try to not embarrass my family around me. I'll politely clap ... smile at other folks and comment how cute their little one is ... take her some flowers (because that's what you do for recitals)... and generally make as little noise as possible ... UNTIL I see her face-to-face and THEN I'll let out all of my "Nammy-ness". It's what I do. It's what she'll expect. It works for us ... and we wouldn't have it any other way.

In the meantime, "Go, Amelia! You rock that red-bird costume!! Whoop whoop!!"

Monday, May 9, 2011

Another "F"?!?

I get tired of tests. I get even MORE tired of failing tests. When I quit school (yes, quit -- I never graduated from college), the one thing I was really grateful for was that I would never, ever, EVER again have another test. Hahahahahaha! I'm literally laughing hysterically right now. What a sweet, naive child that little college drop-out was. I guess I thought that life was going to be smooth sailing, downhill, sunny skies, and whatever other cliche you can think of. Little did I realize that life itself is made up of hundreds, thousands, billions, and gazillions of tests. Tests that I either consistently fail over and over again before f-i-n-a-l-l-y getting them right or tests that I still haven't conquered. Now that I think about it, college was pretty easy compared to life. Just saying.

And just today, I was presented with yet another test. I'd be oh so proud to tell you that I passed with flying colors, but I'd be oh so a big fat liar if I did. Yeah, you could have scribbled a huge, nasty, red "F" on my forehead because I flunked it big time. Something happened that I wasn't prepared for ... that I didn't like ... that hurt someone I love. What did I do? Uhm, what Diana naturally does! I threw a big fit. I ranted and raved. I screamed and hollered. I stomped and fumed. Think of other bad things, and you'd probably have a pretty good picture of me today. Quite a lovely vision, huh?! (Be oh so glad that you weren't here!! And I'll be oh so glad that Candid Camera wasn't here either!)

The entire time I was throwing my little fit, I could hear God whispering in my ear: "I'm still in control"; "I have a better plan"; "Trust me"; "I'm bigger than these circumstances". And me, being the incredibly mature person that I am, just shoved that Voice out of my head so that I could concentrate more on throwing my tantrum.

It didn't take too long (thankfully!) for me to realize that my tantrum wasn't getting me anywhere. The circumstances weren't changing. The hurt wasn't going away. And honestly, if anything, throwing such a huge fit was just making me feel worse than I already did. Everything in me was rebelling against what God was doing ... because doggone it!! I didn't like it!! At the same time, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that what He was whispering to me was true: He WAS in control. He DID have a plan. He IS bigger than the circumstances. And I could either accept what He says as Truth and live that out by reacting in a right way, encouraging others, and trusting Him ... or I could continue flunking the test, throwing a tantrum, and making myself (and anyone who had the misfortune to be around me!) miserable. Now that I think about it, that really doesn't seem like a really difficult choice, but at the time it sure seemed to be!

As the evening has gone on, the circumstances haven't changed. Someone I love is still hurting. Things don't seem to be "fair" and "right". People haven't handled things as they should have. Doors weren't just closed; they were slammed. But, my God is still at work. He's working in our circumstances ... and He's working in me. The test may not have been passed immediately ... and I may still be in the process of perfecting the learning ... but the teaching continues. Yes, there will be more tests. Yes, there will be more tantrums (This is me we're talking about). The best part to all of this, though, is that God will still be there -- teaching, guiding, and in control.

Yup, I've decided I don't particularly like tests. But I never go through them alone ... and my Teacher helps me pass them. And I've also decided that passing a test sure beats the heck out of tantrums (that don't get you anywhere anyway!). I'm just grateful that I serve a gracious God who puts up with my "me-ness" ... and He doesn't brand me with the "F". Instead, He sees me as someone worth teaching, someone worth putting up with. He is oh so amazing!!! Makes me want to pass the test sooner next time ...

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Googling

Do you think doctors get tired of people coming in to their office, telling them what their diagnosis should be because they googled their symptoms? If you're a doctor ... or the wife of a doctor ... I'm apologizing right now because I'm one of those people. When my daughter was diagnosed with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in July, I told the emergency room doctor that's what I thought it was. I named off all the symptons (high fever, excruciating headache, rash, swollen extremities and tongue, crippling fatigue), and then expected him to agree with me immediately. I think he appreciated my wisdom and expertise (like you hopefully appreciate my sarcasm). But he had to check other things as well -- like having a spinal tap for meningitis. I KNEW it wasn't that ... just like I knew it wasn't Hand and Mouth disease ... or hepatitis ... or alcohol poisoning (which someone else had the nerve to bring up!). I'm a googler. I admit it. I probably need a 12-step program to break me away from googling. But that's beside the point right now. The point is that I was absolutely and totally convinced in what my daughter had ... and at the same time, I had no control at all. I couldn't make the staff believe in me and my googling abilities. I couldn't make her feel better. And that all really stunk.

So, what did I do? Well, if you know me at all, you know that I DID voice my opinion (please do not roll your eyes at this point. That's just really rude.), but then I did the only thing I could do. I waited. I prayed. I tried desperately to do what I've said over and over again -- I had to have faith that God was in control regardless of the situation or the outcome. I'll be honest with you. I don't particularly like having my faith exercised. I much prefer when life is going according to plan (MY plan) and it's smooth sailing. But when those waves pick up and my little boat is in danger of capsizing, that's when I discover who I truly am and what I really believe. And sometimes, I don't particularly like what I see.

In each and every time, however,  I eventually get to the point where I have to lean on God and acknowledge that He's in control and I'm not ... that He sees the whole picture and I don't ... that He is ultimately good and full of grace even when I'm totally not understanding what's going on. I'd like to say that I'm getting to this point sooner (rather than later) and that would be very true -- sometimes. It's probably always going to be a battle for me until God takes me home. But I find that I DO cling to God's promises. I've seen that even though I don't always like what life dishes out to me, where else can I go? Christ alone offers me the Words of Truth.

I'm still a googler. I'm still a planner. I still struggle with thinking God should listen to me and all of my suggestions and ideas (just like doctors should do!). But I also find great comfort and an incredible amount of peace in the knowledge that my God is in total control ... that He loves me ... and that He has a plan for my life. I might not like what He does. I might not feel like He's being particularly loving at the moment. I might not like the plan He's got. But I know Him. I know Who He is, and yes, I have faith that what He does will be for the best. I need to remind myself of this often ... and God's good enough to show me over and over again.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Wonder Woman = Me

When my children were little and learning to walk, I'd hold their hands and help them steady themselves so they couldn't crash to the floor. Then, they'd get to the point where they'd walk without me. Sometimes it would work well ... and sometimes there would be a crash. Unfortunately, I wasn't always fast enough to protect them and those little guys would wind up with a skinned knee, or a fat lip, or even worse. I'd scoop them up, hold them close, put a band-aid on the boo-boo, and kiss away their tears. I felt like Wonder Woman because I could make it all better for them. Life seemed so simple back then.

My children are all adults now. Well, the law tells me they're adults because of their ages, but they'll always be my babies to me. They consistently walk without me nowadays. I find that I don't like it much more than I did when they were little. The problem now, though, is that when they fall, there's a lot more at stake than just a skinned knee. My reaction is the same: I want to swoop in and fix all of the problems. I want to put band-aids on things to fix them. I want to scare away the boogey man. I want to beat up the bad guy. I want to have all the answers. I want to be Wonder Woman again.

But I can't. In fact, no one can be that for them -- no one but God. As much as I want to take care of them, God wants to even more. As much as I love them and want to watch over them, God does even more. As much as they're deep within my heart, so they are with God. He loves them. He wants to fill them up. He wants to have a close, personal, intimate relationship with them.  And, if I'm doing my job correctly, I learn to watch and pray ... to teach and train ... to lead and let go ... because the perfect Parent will be alongside my adult child to walk with him wherever he goes, no matter what direction that may be. I have total confidence that God will teach my children His absolute truth. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God has and will continue to extend his incredible grace. I believe with all I am that God is amazingly good and that He has a perfect plan for each one of my kids. But even more, I am convinced that God loves them and my love is a poor comparison to His where my children are concerned.

Yeah, being Wonder Woman was nice for a while, but Wonder Woman can only do so much. Wonder Woman gets old ... and gray .. and tired ... and smarter! She sees that it was never really SHE that was doing the protecting anyway. It was God all along, and He's just continuing as he's always done. And for a retired Wonder Woman, that is a wonderful thing to know!