I was at a Christmas school performance today, standing in the very back behind iPhones, cameras, video recorders, mothers waving and dads holding toddlers on their shoulders.
Toddlers can really block a view when they are up that high.
And, of course, I was watching the only person in the world at that performance that mattered to me. Her hair was mussed in that after recess sort of way and she had on her christmas school performance scarf. The boys blue, the girls pink. I like pink.
And then I noticed her. She was on the top left row of the choir bleachers and while the rest of the children were singing about Rudolph and his need to get a less shiny nose, this little girl was searching the crowd. I think she was looking for her mom. Or maybe her dad. Or perhaps her grandparents were coming the way my Mom and Pop used to and she knew they would be there just the way I knew mine would.
But you know when a child scans the crowd mid-performance and then finally finds their parent? That never happened. She continued song after song to not sing and rather search. Search for someone to have their eye on her.
She deserves that. Everyone child deserves that.
While the other kids performing were jumping she stood still. And when they switched to another language the only language coming out of this little girl’s heart was a cry. “Do you see me because I don’t see you?” She continued to search.
Isn’t it like that with God? We scan and scan the crowd hoping He’s somewhere out there, hoping He showed up even though everywhere we look, He doesn’t appear to be. Hoping in the midst of our trial that He hasn’t gone ‘on holiday’. And all the while, He’s standing in the very back, smiling and trying to catch your attention.
“I see you. You don’t see me, Little One, but I see you. I have you locked right in my gaze. See? That’s me waving. I see you.”
He says that to us, you know? Maybe not in that language but He says that to you. Stay on the bleachers, pick back up with the song, jump and shout about Rudolph and rest from scanning the crowd.
Because He sees you.
Brought to you by the bed at Hyatt Regency plus four pillows, maybe five.
It was Friday night and Friday day wore me out. No, it was more than Friday day. It was the week before, a big event week. It was not taking a day off after a big event week. It was executive meetings and 1:1’s and ‘make sure everything is set and ready to go’ type things.
I was tired.
And I got to Friday night and felt as if I was driving in circles. I mean, I did go in a circle but I’m sort of talking about the mental ones. The emotional ones. The ones that you don’t want anyone to see. I sat in the car, near tears but not quiet there and dialed Hyatt’s reservation line. I keep them in my contacts for just these occasions.
“Do you have a room? A really quiet room I could check into, like, ummm..now?”
Room 419 (Don’t bother stopping by. I checked out.) was perfect. And the bed looked amazing and the pillows were plentiful and not only plentiful but gushy. You know, the type that fold up under your head and then around your body and the more you stack them around you the safer you start to feel?
I ordered room service, “Please just send up a plate of fries with ketchup as quickly as you can.” We’re not looking for gourmet here, folks. This is comfort and rest and things verging on Southern.
I ate the fries. I put on the television shaking my head at all the imagery so foreign to me since I don’t have television at home and the rowdiest thing crossing my brain is usually The Godfather II. I tucked myself into the bed and under the covers and pushed all those pillows back around me.
And fell asleep.
And when the morning came, it suddenly dawned (though it was 11am) on me that all I needed was a really good rest. I write about things like that in Pre Middle Age: Forty Lessons in Growing the Hell Up. There’s a whole chapter on naps and another one on blankets. I get it. Sometimes I forget though.
I’ve been feeling rather overwhelmed with giving lately and not receiving. It feels unbalanced. Thinking back to my mom who first placed in giving, I sat up in bed and realized she did that well but she didn’t take care of herself. That’s where things were off. Was everyone else cared for? Sure. But did she ever sneak off to a hotel in the middle of nowhere to sleep with a bunch of pillows tucked all around her? Never.
I, we, you need rest. And sometimes we can catch the need before it becomes a need when it’s simply an almost need. Other times, the brain is so far gone in busyness and to do’s and to don’ts that you can’t even think through to what you need. And that is the time when you make a call to a lovely hotel or a super five star one or even put the “closed for business” sign on your bedroom door for 24 solid hours and rest.
You will not succeed at saving the world one scraped knee, one hospital visit, one packed lunch, one ‘pick up the dry cleaning cause I forgot to’ at a time if all you do is give and not get.
Much love to you as you give and occasionally, just occasionally….receive.
Brought to you by Pete at Pep Boys for making my car the absolute last one off the lift tonight.
For sale! One 39 year old with a splinter. Not only a splinter but a week long one and not just a week long one but one that crunches that crunchy glass sound every time I step down. I can hear it in my teeth.
That sort of splinter. And no, the splinter isn’t 39 years old but I am. Did you know when you’re 39 you are the Splinter Taker Outer not the Get Splinter Taken Out Person? *DeepTweezeredSigh*
Sitting at home tonight working out a splinter that kept working in I cried, “Jesus! I’m the person. I’m not the kid and I need your help even with this. Where are you cause it won’t come out?!”
I get it. I get this age. This adult age that says you are the one that cares for people not necessarily the one cared for. Damn, babies and old people have it made.
I had, not one, but two flat tires tonight after a lovely dinner. It didn’t bother me too much. I made it to the gas station before they completely gave up the ghost, put enough air in to make it to Pep Boys. Everything was okay. But then I sat in the waiting room with three other women. Around my age women. Women that work their asses off to spend the evening getting tires repaired. Women that needed new batteries because they probably ran into work early in the morning leaving the lights on. I left the waiting room, drenched in the smell of grease and new timing belts, and walked outside to the garage, “Please! Could you JUST put the tires back on my car? Just two? Not four.”
I paced and paced and was entirely unreasonable and stayed far enough away to not make the mechanic think I was checking his work but close enough so he knew not to make me the last customer.
I was the last customer out. I deserved it.
I get it. I get flat tires. I get splinters. I know bigger things happen and just around the corner could be absolute ectasy or tradegy. For now, for just this one little moment….
I don’t want to be at Pep Boys. And I don’t want to be the Splinter Taker Outer.
Somebody hand me a needle and a match,