My oldest’s first word was ‘stuck’. She would crawl under the coffee table, chair–pretty much any small spot–and then get trapped. She’d climb in head first into a space too small to turn around. Her stage of development hadn’t grasped yet the ability to simply exit backwards feet first. She’d be confined on all fours like a cow in a cattle stall. Because she couldn’t see an escape route with her eyes, a solution simply just didn’t exist, and she’d start crying.
She’s come a long way over the past 12 years.
This week, most of our area has been stuck…stuck in their apartments, houses, and waterlogged neighborhoods. It’s Thursday and my kids haven’t had school once this week. I think over 1800 people were evacuated by either raft, pontoon, or military grade amphibious vehicle just yesterday. There have been droves of people stuck.
I’ve been watching the coverage of those being rescued as they climb onto dry land. Reporters are standing by immediately asking questions: “What have you been doing while you’ve been stuck inside?” “How long have you been stuck?” “Have you had food and water?” “How are you feeling now that you are free?”
I think the best response was by a man yesterday who said, “I’ve been doing great. I went to Walmart and stocked up on food before it started raining. I live on the second floor, so I’ve been out on my balcony grilling. I’ve had steak and salmon. I’m just tired of playing dominos and UNO.” The reporter didn’t know what to do with that response. It was awesome.
I know I often feel stuck. I feel stuck in my daily stay-at-home-mom routines. I feel stuck in my relationships. I feel stuck in my busy schedule. I feel stuck in the endless monotony. I feel stuck in this house with bored children and an empty bulk-size box of Goldfish.
But like little babies that get stuck under living room furniture, I often lack perspective. I can’t see beyond the tip of my nose and therefore, I feel trapped with no option but to cry.
But what if I made preparations? What if I stocked up on perspective-altering nutrients? What if I preemptively loaded up on God’s perspective, His sustenance, and His joys?
I’d probably have a better attitude about the 4th day of cancelled school and rainy weather. I’d probably find joy in children’s games, Raman noodles, and the fact that there is nowhere to go and nothing to do. I’d probably smile a bit more.
If I’ve learned anything from watching the news coverage, it is this: the expectation of being stuck is to climb out miserable, malnourished, and in shock. However, though it might be expected, it’s not our only option.
Finding the beauty in the mess is hard work. It takes effort. It takes learning. It takes practice. AND…I now think it takes preparation.
We don’t know what tomorrow will bring. So, let’s prepare today for what may come. Soon, we might find ourselves stuck. So let’s prepare…to climb out with joy, not misery…to rise with full hearts, not empty spirits…to walk with clear perspective, not shock.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13