The Rub

It is fun here. It is loud here and busy and messy here. Often it is not pretty, this wild life we live, but it is enjoyable.

There is a rub, though, in my soul, that I have been talking with God about.

The rub comes when one of my hands is holding back her hair while she is throwing up into the stainless steel bowl that my other hand is holding while I am pushing back her nosy baby brother with my leg to keep his interested self out of the yuck when her two big brothers run through the door loud and pleading to swim in the neighbors' pool. I want to meet all the kids' needs, but how all at once when I am busy doing things I would rather not do ever? Vomit must be caught by someone, though, so I push off all of the boys, one physically, two verbally, so I can help the sick and I want to multiply myself.

The rub comes when one boy is frustrated, crying, wanting to be an only child. He needs space, some calm, a moment of solitude and I get it. And another boy would love to be bound at the hip to his brother. He loves companionship, closeness, to always be talking and I get it. So I am left to mediate and trickle agreement to one and deprivation to the other. We talk, the crying one and I, about tricky relationships and how they are, most always, not easy and how there are so many relationships here that the juggling and dodging and wanting gets tiring. And I give him my Kindle and a few minutes of solitude to play word games in my bedroom and I know his brother sees, but makes no complaints. Grace.

I don't understand how to navigate the rub. When my soul is pulled this way and that way by very differing and noble causes, and the choosing is tangled.

The rub comes when, by very nature of age and size, one child hoards more attention than the others, but I see them watch that divvyed time and I hear them say that they'd like to just cuddle. "Hang on." "In a minute." "I can't right now." But these don't bode well with children; with adults either, I suppose.

Like when I am tired so patience is scarce and they are tired so volumes are loud and words demanding. The fight for semblance until the last one lays his head on the pillow, up five times already, it is gnarly and uncomfortable.

So often there is a rub. So often choices are to be made instinctively, granting no opportunity for forethought, just the wondering that comes with hindsight.

The rub becomes a deep hard grind and then I am reminded faithfully of words memorized in adolescence. "We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed but not in despair…"

This rub, this grind is a shaping, molding, refining grind.

Then, more words, "Therefore do not lose heart...For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

let love and faithfulness never leave you. bind them around your neck write them on the tablet of your heart