Growing up, I spent a lot of time in my room, sometimes by choice, but more often, because I was sent there. I got sent to my room A LOT. I was a people person and being sent to my room initially felt like the end of the world… however, I soon realized I was wasting time… and if you know me well, you know I’m not good at wasting time. This is why I have volumes of photo albums from my youth, complete with report cards, love notes and certificates. My room was always spotless and completely organized. Maybe this was in fact my first lesson in making the best out of a bad situation.
As life has gotten more stressful, fast paced, scary, overwhelming and as we humans have begun to wear our busy schedules like a badge of honor, I have made jokes, saying, “I wish someone would send me to my room”. This is a lesson in being more careful what you wish for.
It’s been two weeks since most of the world was “sent to their room”. As you can imagine, my complicated brain that always has to ask “why”, has been asking why, and this is what that looks like inside my head… ME: “Why would God send all of His children to their room?” “Why did my Mom send me to my room so much?” “What would cause me to send my children to their room?” “What would cause me to take away the things my children loved?” Here is where my mind was hijacked … about 19 years ago Riley was five years old. Riley loved his bike, but every day, multiple times a day, he would leave his bike in the middle of the driveway. I was concerned the bike was going to get backed over. I told Riley that if he left his bike in the driveway one more time I was going to put it in the garbage. One afternoon I pulled up to find Riley’s bike once again on it’s side in the middle of the driveway. I put the car in park, got out of the car, picked up the bike, walked it to the large garbage can and put it inside, got back in my car…… and saw Riley running from the neighbors house as mad as could be toward the garbage can. I parked the car and as I got out was greeted with an upset five year old, who was screaming at me about “How could you do that? How could you put my bike in the garbage, you’re so mean!” I squatted down and said, “Riley, remember how I have asked you nicely to park your bike in the garage where it goes so that it wouldn’t get run over? Do you remember me telling you I would put it in the garbage if you left it out again?”…… I don’t recall Riley ever leaving his bike in the driveway again.
Was I being mean? Or was I following through with what I had promised in order for consequence to teach a lesson?
After having my sweet son be taken home just 12 weeks ago and then as I was trying to heal from the trauma that surrounded that, as well as being sick myself for two weeks, being faced with a world-wide pandemic and earthquakes, I started to question God’s love for me. I started to feel picked on and really frustrated.
The more time alone I’ve had in my “room”, the more I have really pondered this whole situation. Sometimes we are so deep in the trees we can’t step back and see the whole forest. I started to ask myself, “When was the last time God had the attention of the entire world… ALL OF HIS CHILDREN?” “When was the last time God shook those of us blessed and privileged enough to live in Utah?” “He must be trying to get across an important message.” “What have we done to warrant such extreme measures from such a loving and patient Heavenly Parent?”
I started to look hard at myself, my family, my City, State, Country…. The world. I am going to generalize but primarily I’m speaking for myself. We are a very ungrateful people. We think we own the place… (thinking of five year old Riley, because that’s about the age I view myself when thinking in terms of my relationship with God) We are gluttonous, we are greedy, selfish, and so oblivious to the way we treat the earth. We hoard “stuff” to the point that our homes are over-full and crowded with pointless décor while millions of our brothers and sisters starve. We carelessly drink “purified” water out of plastic water bottles without giving a thought to what all of those plastic bottles are doing to the earth. We carry home an over abundance of groceries in plastic bags and often times don’t even use the food we buy… again, while millions starve. We stick to ourselves and think only of our own problems while so many around us are so sad and hurting and could really use a hug, a friendly hello, or a warm meal. We continue in our own personal sins that we have been thinking we would change “one day”. We take, take, take from our Heavenly parents and from the earth and how often do we pause to give thanks? Those of us who are parents… how do we feel when we see our children fighting… when we see them hating each other and arguing day after day after day about who’s perspective is right, to the point of complete contention and evil being invited into the home…. Complete with harsh judgements and name-calling… what does that do to us as parents? How on earth must God feel? He is watching His children fight over the most stupid and petty things. I would be so heart broken if I saw my children behaving the way we as a global community are behaving.
I am humbled. I am feeling very small and very ready and willing to submit all I have to God. I thought I had learned about submitting to God’s will when I softened my heart and gave Him back His son… but there is more required. God has got my full attention. Mind you, I do have attention deficit and this is a problem, so its possible that the squirrels will get the best of me here soon…. But I’m trying harder. I’m ready to give more, to soften my heart more, to surrender more.
You’ve got my attention God. I am listening.