Monday, April 4, 2016

Spring Break

I have tufts of purple frizz sticking out from the bottom of my messy bun—evidence of the hair-dying escapade I embarked on with my daring older sister, Danni, when I visited home last month.  I actually liked the purple surprise peeking out from the underside of my ponytail, because it made me feel like the My Little Pony toys I played with as a kid.  Since I like to shower at night and I am too impatient to blow dry my hair, however, I wound up with violet stains marring my pillowcase and marking the backs of many a T-shirt collar.  (Lucky for me, I only wear my husband, Ryan's shirts to bed.  Haha.)

In the end, I decided I wasn't up for the upkeep involved in channeling my inner punk, so I tried to dye the hair over with a warm brown to make it match the rest of my head, but apparently, electric purple is more stubborn than I’d anticipated.

Maybe purple should be the color associated with stubbornness, just like yellow goes with cowardice, green with greed, red with anger, blue with sadness, and so forth and so on.

If that’s the case, this ear infection I’ve had for three weeks is totally purple.  After taking four different types of antibiotics, I’ve started to get the hearing back in my left ear, though the infection has been simultaneously muffling and amplifying my breathing, making it sound like Darth Vader has set up camp inside my head.

I suppose that would be fitting, because I’ve felt a little Darth Vadery lately—all moody and mad, like I’ve got a bone to pick with the tone life has taken as of late.

Don’t get me wrong—all in all, things are going pretty smoothly and I’m grateful for that.

There are just a few key things that aren’t operating in the most turnkey fashion, I guess you could say, and it has me feeling frustrated.

My three-year-old daughter, Alice, was watching Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood on PBS this week, and on the episode she was watching, I overheard Daniel’s mother describe being frustrated as feeling like you can’t do what you want to do.

That totally describes me right now.  Daniel Tiger-son, wisdom flows fiercely in your family's tiger blood.

My camera lens is busted and my beloved laptop, a beautiful, black Toshiba my husband surprised me with several years ago to show his support for my foray into the world of creative freelance writing, is also broken.

And this all has me feeling a little broken and busted up myself.

Maybe the spring’s to blame.  I actually love springtime, but one thing about it is that it makes winter melt, and hiding beneath that pure, snow-white blanket of concealment that once covered the ground is, quite frankly, a load of crap.  Yes, crap—thawing dog droppings to be exact, along with garbage gone undetected for months, pot holes…

That’s how I feel.  I feel like I’ve hit a giant pot hole and someone (or should I say “Someone?”) has pressed the pause button on every project I had planned to complete with the aid of my computer and camera.

My plan to hurry up and finish that online photography class?  Cue the whining trombone.  (Wah, Wah, wahhh...)

My personal project of compiling and printing off all of our family photos from the past year?  Sidelined.

The personalized baby board book I’d wanted to organize and order before my son, Rowen’s, first birthday?  Postponed.

All of the notes I'd compiled for the blog posts I intended to write as soon as the timing was right?  Temporarily lost, and I so hope and pray their loss is only temporary.

I felt similarly stuck last spring after giving birth to Rowen, except it involved the breaking down of my physical appearance.  Though I'd taken the time to set up our home and get all of our baby gear ready before he was born, I'd neglected to assemble some supplies of my own—ones that would keep me from feeling like a total frump following the delivery.

All at once, I was out of contact lenses and eye make-up—both of which were expensive and a pain to obtain.  My hair was a mass of split ends, overdue for another dose of dye.  Most of my clothes were either ill-fitting or worn-out.  And, as could only be expected for any post-expectant mama, I felt completely out of shape.

It truly is frustrating to feel like you've been prevented from carrying on with life as usual.  In my present situation, however, I'm starting to wonder if maybe...just maybe, God has allowed two of my most precious possessions to break in order to take the pressure off of pastimes He'd originally intended for my pleasure—to remove the stress from things He'd meant to bless me with.  It's like He has me on a forced vacation—a spring break, if you will.

Speaking of breaks, a funny thing has happened since I started writing this—my phone has suddenly gone on the fritz—chiming incessantly and saying it's charged when it's not.  And the touch screen has gotten really touchy—responding to my poking and swiping in some cases and going numb to my forefinger and thumb in others. 

So basically, it's broken. 

You know what they say—when it rains, it pours, and we've just entered into the month of April showers.  But it’s OK, because I’m trusting the One who gently gives and takes away, who works all things together for my good even when it doesn’t feel so good, and who teaches me to dance in the rain.  Through letting a few little things in my world go to pieces, I believe He's giving me peace.

As I said earlier, springtime may be messy, turning up debris and dead leaves and doggy doo-doo, but it’s also a season of beauty and of new beginnings, of refreshed perspectives and of positivity. 

A little over a week ago, Alice and I dyed Easter eggs, and while I taught Alice about colors, God taught me about having a better attitude. Together, we dipped the eggs in dyes of yellow, blue, red, and green—colors that spoke of cheerfulness instead of  cowardice, serenity instead of sadness, romance instead of rage, and growth instead of greed. 

And, ironically enough, the prettiest, most vibrant egg of all turned out to be purple—stubborn old purple.  Stubbornness isn't always such a bad thing, though. 

For example, I will choose to stubbornly move forward through this season of disappointment and disrepair not with a limp but with a spring in my step that comes from believing in the God who makes all things new and beautiful in their time, including cranky little me. 

I don't know what you think, but I'm pretty sure God's not gonna let that spring break.

"I will send showers, showers of blessings, which will come just when they are needed" (Ezekiel 34:26b, NLT).