Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Living the Extraordinary

You may think of living an extraordinary life in terms of money, success, and social opportunity. 
That mental image can be accurate.
But if you think that dirty dishes and piled up laundry...
and messes and paperwork...
and small living spaces and simple surroundings
means that a life is not extraordinary, you would be wrong. 
Dead wrong.
As I tooled around in my little kitchen last week, I was stopped in my tracks by the sweet sounds of my 13 year old boy's voice, singing in the shower:
"Cause if one day you wake up and find that you're missin' me
And your heart starts to wonder where on this Earth I could be.
Thinkin' maybe you come back into the place that we meet.
And you'd see me waitin' for you on the corner of the street.
I'm not movin'.  I'm not movin'."
Glorious moment, especially to this musical Mama, who prayed that the sweet boy soprano voice has one more year before changing! 
I glanced to my left and saw the dirty dishes in the sink. 
The very ones that I had asked Braden to load the morning before.
The ones I was not present to remind him about that afternoon because I was working. 
Yet, for once, I was not put out.  
Instead an intensely powerful thought formed in my head.
"My life is extraordinary."
Ten years ago, my son received a high functioning autism diagnosis.  We didn't know at the time whether or not he would ever function normally, much less be able to perform (and apparently, ignore) every day tasks and chores.
Seven years ago, after his Type I Diabetes diagnosis, he was so physically weak, drained of all energy, that I questioned how he would ever live a "normal" life.  Yet in the next room, there he was, joyfully filling our house with song.
Then two years ago, amidst the complications of Braden's diabetes,
plagued with stress, 
lack of sleep,
and imagery of my son not making it through the night,
forced to quit my job due to the loss of my voice,
I found myself in that slimy pit known as depression and anxiety.
Two years ago, I wondered how I would ever go on...
how I would piece a life back together devoid of my music career...
how I would get out of bed each day.
Yet the day before the undone dishes, I was occupied at a new job.
God has blessed me abundantly with a new career,
freelance writing, touring with my alma mater and master teaching at The Disney Company,
the last of which prevented me from being home to remind Braden to load those very dishes.
A moment later, as I walked through the house, this newly formed thought taking a stronghold on my day,
I glanced down at the (never-ending mess of a) pile of paperwork on the table.  I grasped in that moment that, instead of being frustrated by the pile, I was overjoyed at the crowning piece atop it, a Bible Scavenger hunt game that Braden played in his religious ed class a few nights prior. 
A game that he detailed for me with laughter and excitement when he got home
(excited because they won and he got a raffle ticket, of course...but still...). 
And I teared up as I realized this simple game...
this simple piece of paper...
this simple lesson...
meant more to me now than it ever had before because it represented the spiritual education of my children. 
It meant that we had God-speakers,
whom God Himself had provided in our lives and the lives of our children.  
That He is here,
faithful to this family,
going nowhere,
leading us every day.
That simple fact breaks my heart in it's significance.
Yes, I am living an extraordinary life.
It may be a mess.
It may include piled up dishes and laundry.
It may include paperwork I can't get to daily.
It may involve crying and illness and stress and small living spaces and, every now and then, a breakdown or two.
But it's my mess.
It's a blessed mess.
And most importantly, it involves healing and singing and joy and laughter and love and family and faith and HIM.

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