Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Frustration Ends in Love

Sunday evening was not good.  I was someplace between, "I just going to drive my parent's truck through the sunroom" and "I'm going to hire someone to finish what I've started and cannot finish".  My frustration was primarily with the sunroom.  A room I began to remodel years ago and have stalled on finishing ... partly because of time, partly because of finances, and, perhaps mostly, because of a lack of knowledge in how to finish the project. 

Nonetheless, I have moved toward finishing the project.  Paneling is up and it's time to trim around the windows.  I am clueless.  Instead of slopping wood on there, I call a few friends for advice and instruction only after I completely frustrate myself.  I cannot remember the last time I was so frustrated. 

Jessi was a little stressed and frustrated, too.  She says it wasn't me she was frustrated with, but I can assure you all that I did nothing to take any stress away from her. 

At perhaps the peak of our frustration we are all (three of us) riding along in my parent's truck.  No, we are not cruising toward the sunroom.  Yes, I realize I alluded to doing that earlier.  The wife and child would not have been in on that showdown.  This is strictly between me and my creation (the sunroom).

While cruising along Jessi and I are not smiling.  Sveta sits in her seat between us just as cute as a button.  I decide to engage her in conversation.  "Sveta," I say in a rather serious tone, "there is no smiling, no laughing, and no having fun tonight."  (Yes, she has caught on to my sarcasm after only 5 months with us)  "Noooowha", comes her response.  Then a cute, brief 4-year-old-giggle.  Followed with, "I have to smile, daddy."  "Why do you have to smile?" 

Her response puts a smile on Jessi's face and mine. 

Her response puts many things into perspective. 

Her response is the thing which many long to hear ... even to the point of killing themselves to hear.  Literally.

Her response is what gives life to hope and brings death to despair.

Her response has been learned in 5 months and will be unpacked for all eternity.

Her response:  "Because Jesus loves me"

Frustration finds its end in love.

I have learned many things since this little girl entered my life.  I have learned how many times I can ask someone to do something before I need to leave the room in frustration.  I have learned that I can love my wife FULLY and FULLY love a child at the same time.  I have learned what it feels like to have a little girl scream "daddy!" and ran at you with open arms. I have learned the helpless feeling of holding a child in pain (physical or emotional) and know there is nothing you can do but cry together.  I have learned that the white 'play shoes' are what she wants to wear everyday.  I have learned that I simply cannot make a pony-tail look good ... on anyone including myself. 

Many things in my life have changed.  I eat differently.  I sleep lighter.  I shut doors.  I move knives away from the end of counter tops.  I read kids books ... over and over.  I pretend to be many things in many places. 

One thing that hasn't changed is the love of God.  And it's amazing the way this little girl can remind me of it every day. 

A 4 year old can be a picture of ultimate selfishness.  She's simply not learned to hide it the way I have.  We don't grow out of this 4 year old state of selfishness.  Instead, I am convinced we manipulate it and mask it and hide it ... but it's still there.  She, just like me, deserves hell.  "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8).  Reason to smile.  

I am amazed at the immeasurable amount of patience God extends toward me in my countless selfish endeavors.  I am amazed at the way He loves me, despite me.  

The brokenness that surrounded us in that truck ...
... a child once an orphan, three selfish persons, a young man who so deeply wants to be proven by the work of his own hands, a beautiful young lady who longs for a restored community ...
... that brokenness that surrounded us in that truck is overwhelmed in the face of a matchless love which is unrivaled by all the hell and brokenness that may surround any one person or the entire population of the globe.  

There is nothing greater than the love of God.  

I experience it each day when I hug my wife and my daughter.
I experience it each time a friend comes and helps with my house.

I will never know the depth of God's love, but I will enjoy swimming deeper and deeper into it. 

1 comment:

  1. Isn't it funny how the innocence of a child can so quickly slap us with a dose of reality? Children do not get wrapped up in sunrooms, selling houses or trying to please everyone by pretending. The just say things like, "Because Jesus loves me!". So simple, yet so profound and so true!

    Hang in there! We love you all very much!
    Mick (your favorite father-in-law)