This year was slightly different. We were in the process of reconciling/recovering from a fight, a tiff, a "discussion" gone awry. The morning started off with apologies, etc but after a mostly sleepless night on my part (nursing a baby on top of feeling less than the typical happy oneness), the honey off to work by 7 am or so, I was not too thrilled with the prospects of the day ahead.
I decided I would take the kids to a local nursery that was having a fall festival to move the day along. Even though the weather was slightly chilly and the idea of nursing our week old babe on the run wasn't appealing, I just really wanted to get out of the house and do something, anything to redeem the day. My friend Amanda was taking her kiddos to the festival as well and offered to help manage mine. It seemed like a great plan for the day.
Around 11 am (about a half an hour late to meet Amanda) after feeding the baby and buckling him into his car seat for the second time (the first time I buckled him he had a blow out that required a whole outfit change) we finally all got loaded up in the van - I was so not loving the day so far!
I put the key in the ignition and...you guessed it, nothing! The van was dead! Ugh! Could the day get any worse? Well...
I wasn't going to let a dead battery keep me home, NO WAY! I put the van in neutral, pushed it into the driveway, hopped into my uncle's Trailblazer (we're babysitting it until my uncle comes back from hiking) and pulled it in front of Tom's bay of the driveway. I got the cables all hooked up on both vehicles and, guess what? Yep. Uncle Tom's Trailblazer decided it didn't want to turn on anymore either. WHAT THE HECK!?!
I was really trying to keep it together. I didn't say any bad words. I didn't even cry. I silently stewed, feeling very neglected by God. "Why God? Why can't I redeem this day? Why are You so obviously standing in my way?" I did, however, make some slightly jaded comments expressing my frustration and displeasure, but also my surrender. Something like, "Well, kids. Obviously God doesn't want us to go have fun today. I guess we have to stay home and find something else to do."
I briefly contemplated unhooking our blue truck from the trailer and driving it around to jump the van, but I was pretty sure it would end up with a dead battery as well. And, I couldn't get the Trailblazer into neutral so that I could push it out of the way to get the truck close enough to the van anyway. So I gave up.
During this time, I texted Tom to let him in on how crappy (pardon me) the day was turning out. He texted back that his wasn't much better. We texted back and forth, and finally talked on the phone. Commiserating on how bad the day was going somehow broke down that last little wall the stood between us. It felt good. Go figure.
Because I had my heart set on getting out of the house, and the baby was in already in his car seat, I decided to settle for a walk using our new stroller. I was trying to let go and accept what God had planned for our day.
There was a yard sale at the end of our street so we decided to stop, meet a new neighbor, and see if they had any treasures worth running home for a wallet or two. On one side of the driveway was a blanket with some classic children's readers and piano books.
Let me interject that I had been wanting a new piano instructional series called Alfred's Basic Piano Library for quite some time. I found several of the books on half.com but was still struggling with the idea of paying X amount of dollars for more stuff, even though I thought the kids needed it.
Now it just so happens that lying there on that blanket in the driveway were four of the piano books. I picked them up and began to say that I needed to run home to grab some money when Livvy pointed out the sign also lying on the blanket that said "Free Books". I asked the woman manning the yard sale if all of the books were really free. She said yes and that she was just trying to get rid of stuff.
I grabbed the piano books, some of the children's readers, a bag of Cuisenaire Rods (that she said were also free), said "thank you" several times, and continued on our walk.
We have to take a break from that story for a moment, we'll come back to it.
In an excellent book that we're reading with the kids called Kingdom Tales there's a chapter called Sighting Day. To save on time and screen space, I'm not going to go into the story, except to say that all should read it - it's an absolutely wonderful analogy of the christian life.
Back to Sighting Day: it's the day that the kids of Great Park look for the king. It's a "huge game of seek-the-king." But, you see, the king doesn't look like a king. He dresses up, disguises himself as a beggar, a woodcutter, a gardener - someone ordinary. You have to believe he is there to see him, to recognize him.
I have often wanted to play the game with my kids - "Can you find the King today?" I imagined that as we went about our daily chores and activities, we could be looking for the evidence of the king. What a boost of faith to actually see the King.
Jesus said to him, "Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:29
Now back to the original story.
As we continued on our walk, I kept playing the day's events over and over in my head. Here we were, stuck at home, on a walk, and not at the fall festival that I was desperate to go to (which Amanda called to inform me that it wasn't worth going to - her kids said that it was boring). We weren't able to go to the boring fall festival because two of the three vehicles at our house were dead. The vehicles were dead because... Because God wanted us to stay home, so we could go on a walk, and get some free piano books that I had been wanting? Does God really orchestrate events, frustrating events like dead batteries, to bless us with free piano books?
I believe He does. Believing is seeing.
"I saw the king!"
Someday I should write about how God used three flat tires to make October 19th such a special day.