Saturday, July 5, 2008

In the circus

It's Saturday night at the Beve's house, and these are the kind of things you'll find inside our front door. Grampie has just convened a meeting with the two sons, talking about wills, trusts and codicils. That was after we got the rest of his trip figured out, which took several phone calls, calendars and lists. I knew I should have become a secretary.
Jackson, of the sensitive ears, is struggling through the night after the 4th fireworks. He isn't barking with quite the same frequency or pitch that he was yesterday, but if he was being tested for the Olympics right now, it might be fair to assume he'd be stripped of any medal, due to doping. Last night during the mother lode of fireworks that somehow what Independence Day has come to mean in our country, he went so ballistic, we even drugged Jamaica because he was scaring her.
SK and V have had their head buried in books today, barely coming up for air, unless the phone rings for V, which is does with great frequency now. Remember being 15, and not having a cell-phone? Well, that is, they started reading after V's two-year old sister went home. Can I just say--she is absolutely adorable. If V had her way, little A would be here fulltime, and I can see why. But we were good and let her go home, just as we promised. Right, V?
V and SK, and their books, move from front room to TV room, depending on the conversation around them--trying to avoid us as much as possible. And the b-i-l (Finnish brother-in-law) volunteered to undergo a third-degree interrogation by the Beve and me. Beve and I are nothing if not interested in his life across the ocean, and we jumped at the opportunity. At his offer, I suggested we serve 'tea and transparency' or 'coffee and candor' with our pie, and he was a very good sport about it. He survived our questions and is now listening to Grampie explain things I'm not quite following.
This was all after we found Beve, who's taken to wandering over to the neighbors' every half hour or so--all day long, taking them tool after tool as they try to destroy their front deck. Beve's fond of tools that destroy! Now he says he thinks he's given them everything they need--for tonight at least.
Then SK came out of the bathroom door, frantically calling for her dad because water was poring from the toilet all the way out the door and into the hallway. The 'river' must have spilled its banks several hours earlier to cause such a flood. Beve barked at SK for not telling him sooner, but she said, "I was stark naked when I noticed, Dad." He calmed down after that, but I'm telling you it was a stressful moment. No one likes to disappoint her dad. It took us a washing machine-sized pile of towels to mop up the mess, but hopefully it was an acute, not chronic, flooding, if you know what I mean.

When we finally came back into the living room and plopped down, sighing, Grampie started laughing. He's been here a week now and has had a bird's eye view of life at the Beve's. "You people have more going on than anyone I know." If by more, he means overflowing toilets, dogs barking at fireworks, and the Beve disappearing, I suppose he's right. I spent the whole year--our first empty-nest year--alone with these dogs, and silence in every room, until Beve came home and then there were two of us. But these days, if you gave me a top hat and microphone, I'd be the ring-master of a three-ring circus. Maybe a juggler with plates in the air...

The thing is, many of us have lives like this, you know--where there's always--always something going on. Not just one night, or a couple of weeks with back-to-back guests (all of whom we love, really we do!). But lives that just don't seem to stop, no matter what. I was so tired yesterday, after a large family get-together, and more tension than my body can handle, that I wanted to take the day off today. And I know--I KNOW--the world is full of people who feel this way all the time. And then it hits me that tomorrow is Sunday.
For us, we who call Christ LORD, that means Sabbath. Rest. A laying down of all the labor of the week (well, I guess if a toilet overflows on the Sabbath, it's okay to fix it!), and a settling into the presence of the Lord. The day in the week to set aside the troubles, the concerns, the weeds of our lives, and focus on Him. Not a day off, I think though, but a day to concentrate, be more intentional with Him and with His people. How we choose to spend our Sabbaths says something about what is most important to us.

When I was in college, my friends and I used to talk about being the Body of Christ, and what that meant practically. A girl said once, "We're not bowling, we're having church." And that caught on. Everything thing we did, "We're not driving, we're having church." Or eating together or driving or whatever it was--we were having church. Whenever two or more are gathered, there He is. So when we walk out the doors of whatever church building we go to, we don't stop. Not with our Sabbath, and not with 'being' the church. Let's have a great Sabbath, being the church together. Whether watching a Tiger-less golf tournament, a baseball game, or playing a sport yourself--be the church. Just taking a walk--invite Him along. It's His day, after all. Put down your plates, take off the circus clothes for this day He invites us into, and I'll do the same. Let's remember the Sabbath together. Keep it holy, wholly His.

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