when life invites you to play ball

This morning dawns with steam telling of a day where “hot” will be an understatement.  I rise toes to the floor, my mattress already drenched.  Before 8 am.  Drenched.  Eye lids sagging from a short night. I turn my alarm off twice but time has the audacity to not pause with my snooze button.

Early meetings give way to the plumber coming to investigate the greenish water coming from my water tank.  I watch as he scrunches up his face in disgust.  No it is not algae. It is a dead bird.  I have been washing my hair in water with decaying bird in it.  I grimace at that image and swallow down the taste of bile in my throat.  Some days I wish I were entirely less visual.  It feels like someone threw a well aimed ball right at me.

Then comes news of more money I did know I would be giving out.  Everything inside screams.  This is not in my budget! The room spins and I hold on to furniture to keep from spinning with it.  Another ball hard and fast, this one curved from out of my line of vision.

The news comes of Invisible Children’s leader and his very public breakdown.  My heart breaks for him and all that is so broken in this world, even in me.  This is a day my weakness is all too near.  And graciously, quietly so is His strength. 

Afternoon comes.  Hotter with each minute and me choosing to not wilt in the pressure of deadlines and projects and more meetings.  I arrive back home and break open the last bit of cereal I had been saving for just such a day, careful to not wash my hands under the tap of still decaying water. {The plumber comes tomorrow. We think.}  I open my last container of long life milk and pour it over the honey nut clusters carried so carefully from America.  I sit down sweltering and absently dig in, enjoying each bite. Halfway through I notice my cereal bowl is wriggling.

Slam.  Another ball from another direction.  My day is beginning to feel reminiscent of an elementary playground nightmare called dodge ball.

Honestly.  I fight back an irrational gale that rips at my eyelids. Really. I just ate half a bowl of wormy cereal and there’s a dead bird in my tank and never mind the expenditures I did not expect and everything screams, stop the world I want a fifteen minute break…  Can you relate at all?

I fight the storm building within.  I fight the bluster and I set my mind to remember.  There is a world of difference between a game of dodge ball and a game of catch.  My choices in the middle of balls flying set the rules for which game I am playing.

What life throws my way:  I can dodge and survive.  Or I can catch, capture the moment, beautiful, horrific and throw each one back in praise.  Worship right in the middle of the storm of daily life.  I know this deep down but some days what I know gets a bit mud-covered and obscured by what I see flying around me.  It is then I realize, today I have forgotten to catch and started to duck.

I pause.  Thank You Jesus for the gift of plumbers who know how to disinfect water tanks.  Thank You that You give living water and not water contaminated with disease and decay. 

Thank You Papa that You are good and You provide for the unexpected and even the forgotten and the things not in my budget are still in Yours.  Thank You for stilling rooms that spin and my stomach with them.

Thank You Holy Spirit You never leave and You always are there. 

I too need reminding.  I step out of my gate into the waning evening light.  Silhouettes of my children dip and spin as they toss a sock made ball back and forth.  It is a dance of gratitude, the poetry of release.

I am reminded that the only solution to days such as these is radical gratitude.  When life invites me to play ball, I can choose the game I play.  I can stop ducking.  Stand tall and ready, catch the moment leaning into grace and throw it back to the only One who knows what to do with the circumstances of my hours and my heart with them, embracing a posture of praise.

So yes God, about my dinner tonight, well…thank You for that extra side of protein.