Ok – I’m ready for a late afternoon respite, and it is high time I post something on this blog. So, I’ve got my cup of tea and a ripe mango, and I’m in the mood to catch up. I just came back in after taking Reynah for a walk… I am a tired Mama! But she is still going - now playing with her “deeshes” and a bucket of water out on the balcony. I say I took her for a walk, but, actually, today I decided to do something I should do more often. I let her take ME for a walk.
Really, I felt like she deserved some special attention. The past week –no, the last month -has been rather like a marathon. Four Purity Events for over 1,000 students, Rocket Camp, and two weddings – it has for sure been a blast! I told T recently that I felt like our 1st few months here, we were just like sponges. We were just soaking up everything… the Ugandan culture, the Watoto culture, new names to learn, how to manage the inconveniences of living here, on and on… and I feel like we were about as useful as sponges too. But, now, I finally feel like we are finished soaking and are ready to give something back. So, yes, the Purity events have been fun for us and very fulfilling. But the schedule hasn’t been too fun for a 2 yr. old.
Call it mommy-guilt, but I knew I should do something with Rey that she would consider “fun.” But then I was feeling a little selfish too. By the time the boys were finished with school work and lunch dishes were cleaned up, I didn’t want to pull out play-doe or crayons. I wanted to get out and enjoy the lovely afternoon. The problem is that me taking Rey for a walk is rarely fun for her and usually exasperating for me. Suubi is a big place with lots of hills; I end up carrying her up the hills. I want to go from here to there in the most direct, efficient way; she prefers LOTS of detours and finds something to distract her every 45 sec. Then, there is the obvious fact that she doesn’t really walk. She skips – she bounces – she twirls - she jumps – but she’s still too young and undignified to just walk.
So, I determined that today was HER walk, and we would do it as she desired. And I told myself that I was not allowed to say, “Hurry up!” even one time. She was to enjoy her adventure, even if it only took us 30 ft. away from home. I was going to enjoy her enjoying herself. Once I made that my main objective, it wasn’t hard to do. She is very easy to enjoy. And once she figured out that she had my full attention, she was “feeling her cheerios,” as my mom used to say. She pranced in circles around me and laughed over apparently nothing - except for the fact that she knew I was amused by her, which made her very happy. We picked a few flowers and counted a few clouds. She stepped on every bug she saw, just like her brothers have taught her to do. We had deep discussions about Old McDonald’s Farm and the names of all of Dora’s friends (Dora the Explorer that is). As she stood beside the road and made “moo-ing” noises at the cow in the bushes (yes, around here, cows hang out in bushes), I marveled over how long her hair is growing. I wondered about where in the world she is picking up all her new expressions?! (Her latest one: ahhh…I fink I better need to haf sum chocalat. …ok, well, I guess I know where she probably got that one from! Ha!)
We just simply delighted in each other. I felt delighted and proud that she is mine. She could somehow sense that delight, and it lit her up. She wouldn’t understand any eloquent words if I tried to tell her how proud I am of her. But my smiles and kisses are all she needs. While we meandered our way back home, I thought about how I should delight in my kids more often. I should delight in my husband more often. It’s not about being anywhere special or doing anything special. It’s just about being…together. And, then, came an even more poignant thought – how long has it been since I delighted in God or felt His delight over me? The honest truth is I’ve been too busy. I’ve been busy doing stuff for Him. I’ve been teaching sessions to these young girls telling them how God delights in them (Isaiah 62:4), He is crazy over them, He’s pursuing their heart every day. But, sadly, for me, I haven’t succumbed to His pursuit in a while.
I think too much about what I have done or what I am planning to do. However, right now (btw, this blog was interrupted by baths, and supper, and bedtime rituals, so it is now late in the evening) I am thinking of David’s prayer in Psalms 51 where he requests, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation.” I think about this verse often, actually. How interesting it is that you can have God’s salvation, but not the joy that should go with it. It’s our own fault. And isn’t restoration of joy found in that mutual delight between us and God? He created us so that we crave His affirmation. Just like Reynah doesn’t need a lunch date at Chuckie Cheese, she just needs the affirmation of my attention and smiles. I give her that affirmation because she is mine. Unlike me, God is the PERFECT parent who is always attentive, always noticing everything about me, smiling down at me even when I’m not looking, overflowing with love for me, just because I am … His daughter. There is nothing more I can do to prove myself worthy of His delight. So, I will delight in the warmth of His delight. And I will try to be more like Reynah – not so proud. So that in His attention I find my full identity and in His smile is my complete joy.