Looking for the Great–Shaker’s Story

Today went pretty well, despite its little quirks here and there.  Then this afternoon, I guess someone flipped a switch, and I was ill.  As a hornet.  I’ve spent the week with things and situations weighing on my heart and making me sad, and this afternoon, I got mad.

Mad that there are children and families being persecuted for what they believe.  Chased out of their homes and villages or murdered where they stood.  All in the name of religion.  I’m mad that I don’t hear about the missing Nigerian girls who were kidnapped at the end of April anymore.  The fact that a young woman with a unique disease that alters how she looks has been bullied and labeled “the ugliest person on earth” raised my ire a point or ten.  If one of mine ever…..well, you know.  I worry over the lonely people I see at the grocery store, seeking even there to find a connection, someone who will listen.  The families who are trying to hold it together and do the right thing by their children, with little to no support from their community–I am mad for them.  I am angry that there are people starving in our own community and half a world away.  I am mad that one of our cats not showing up this morning has broken our Princess’ heart.  Most of all, I’m mad that I cannot do a blame thing about any one of the things that makes me so mad.  That is what hurts most of all.

It’s as though my hands are tied and I just have to sit back and watch all of the pain and suffering.  And do…..nothing.

Today was Shaker’s first day of school.  I texted both Leroy and Mess Cat this morning, excited for them as their boy makes his way on the path of learning once again.  The past two years the first days have been hard, so I was eager to hear how it went.  I called and left a message, and then I got the call.

“Hello?”

“Hey,” I knew his voice immediately.

“Hey!  How was your first day?  Was it good?”

“It was great,” he replied, emphasizing the GREAT.

He talked about seeing two of his friends in his classroom, his new teacher, his new friend he made, and how he saw his first grade teacher three times.

“Did she say ‘hey’?” I asked.

“Yes.  THREE times.”  The happiness in his voice caused my eyes to well up.  Precious.

He even got to play with his best friend at recess, even though she’s in a different class this year.

Joy.  Sheer joy.  That’s what I heard in his voice.  And in his Mama’s, who was relieved and thankful that today was good.

Wait.  Make that great.  There’s a difference, you know.

And just like that.  My anger dissipated.

Do I have the answers now?  Did the things that upset me just disappear?  Did I stop caring about them?  No, no, and definitely not.

But I think Shaker helped me figure something out.

In the face of things I cannot change in the here and now, I can do something.

I can love.  Every single chance I get.  As hard and as much as I can.

And I can look for the great in every good thing and sing a song of thanksgiving for each one.

‘Cause when you’re joyful, everything’s better with music, right?

It’s not that I’ve forgotten or let go of the things that upset me, but I figured out the anger isn’t going to do anyone any good.  But love?   In the absence of knowing anything else to do at this point, it’s a pretty good backup plan.  Don’t you think?

Tonight I’m thankful for a phone call from my favorite almost seven-year old, who set me straight by focusing on the joy-filled things in our lives.  Like seeing someone who cares about you and saying hey.  Three times.

That’s the good GREAT stuff right there.

Love to all.

One thought on “Looking for the Great–Shaker’s Story

  1. Pingback: Move-in Day and the Ties that Bind | I Might Need A Nap

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