- Watching our daughter plunk down money on appliances and a mattress. She's exactly the same person to whom I used to say, "STOP growing!" She'd answer (patiently!), "I can't, Mama. God made me to grow." Now I think she's more an adult than I am.
- Looking into the clear blue eyes of our son, who is beginning to re-emerge. I love those eyes. Just like I love them in the face of his dad.
- Setting sail with family to honor my sister-in-law's 60th birthday. 60. 60! Her son said the other day, "She's the only person I know who has been looking forward to being 60." I believe it. And when I say setting sail, I mean a spectacular dinner cruise on Seattle's Elliot Bay. It was a beautiful, if breezy, evening and when the sun began to set, the city was silhouetted and Cascade Mountains behind them glowed. Inside our private dining room in the bow, we ate a wonderful salmon and steak dinner. And had a rich variety of conversations as well. Conversations like:
- the sewer plugged by a giant root ball, causing damage and upheaval in my nephew L and niece E's home. Their 4-month-old son has had as almost as bad a week as they have, with his life so disrupted. They're bewildered by the 'joys' of home-ownership. Come to think of it, plumbing/sewer problems have been something of a theme in my extended family this year. They are the fifth family among us facing it. Hmm, wonder if plumbing issues are a sign of the end times.
- banking. Yep, I talked banking and even economic theories with said niece's father, who sat across the table from me. If you know me, you'll know how far beyond my natural inclinations and abilities such a conversation is, but somehow I found myself there, and didn't fall too flat on my face, hopefully.
- quilting. My sister-in-law's oldest friend is a quilter so far beyond my abilities I felt more humbled and tongue-tied in her presence than I did talking economics. But she's a gracious and warm woman who encouraged my just-more-than-novice efforts.
- match-making. Well, it started as a conversation about how we met our spouses, but led to a woman asking about my youngest brother. She has a sister, you see. "She's a scientist," she said. "Is she athletic? Does she like the outdoors?"You I asked. "Well, she'd like to. And I'm athletic," the woman said. My niece and I instantly knew without talking to each other that this would be a no-go. "Well, maybe in a year or so," the woman said, hopefully.
In in the midst of all this, my niece (the daughter-in-law of the Birthday woman) and I had a short, intense, profound conversation about our wants versus God's will. Just that morning (in the shower, of course!) I'd been thinking about the phrase, "Thy will be done." We say such a phrase when we are praying as if putting a stamp on our own wants. Or reluctantly, when we know our wants are selfish. We know we are meant to pray these words, but we don't quite know how to mean them. This is what my niece CC and I were wrestling in our conversation. Or what we all wrestle each time we pray, like the will of God is a giant alligator we can't quite handle and should fear. But...the will of God created heaven and earth. It set the stars into space. The will of God created human life, and each of our lives. We live because He desired it. He willed it. And...He willed our eternal life. His will for us always leads us toward that. Toward Jesus. Toward Heaven. Our wills compared to that are...well, they're small and narrow and who knows where they'll lead. Why on earth, why in heaven's Name, do we EVER want our will over His?
When you think of it that way, as CC and I (who was CC before her), began to see, it's just plain silly to want our way over His way. Saying, "Your will be done," is really the most freeing, beautiful statement we ever make. It's not unlike being on Puget Sound at sunset, with mountains, a city, and water spread out in glorious array. It's gives Him room to do what's best for us, and gives us the amazing opportunity of getting to live the largeness of what HE wants, rather than only in the confines of our own desires.
Which do you choose?
(The new background is a picture I took on the cruise. You can just barely see the Space Needle on the far right side.)