Monday, November 24, 2008

I nearly blushed as I called Sherry to let her know I wouldn’t make it in to Choices tomorrow. “I have a pretty badly sprained ankle,” I explained. “And I’m supposed to stay off of it.” “Now, Abigail, how did you do that?” she asked me. “Were you skateboarding?” She knew it would have to be active. Unusual. And unladylike. Actually, I was doing a toe-touch off the roof of the tool shed into a pile of leaves higher than my head. And I’d been doing it safely for the past several hours, along with Josiah, Tommy and Lydia. I’d even been cautious, stuck to dives and crazy jumps instead of flips like the boys were pulling. Perhaps the slow drizzle left the leaves a little slippery. At any rate, I’m holed up for the next couple of days, alternately heating and icing my right ankle and thinking of all the wonderful things I would rather be doing. “Poor Abby,” Tabby giggled over the phone when she found out my plight. “I’d hate to see how hyper you’ll be tomorrow.” Half way through the afternoon my ankle suddenly began to feel stifled. A raging rejection of inaction surged through it and it begged for freedom to stretch. I indulged it. Pain and relief flooded simultaneously. Even a bird with a broken wing still longs to fly. “You’re such an impatient patient,” Tabby chided. I felt as if the entire day had been wasted. At least I got the Pearls and Diamonds blog revamped, caught up and archived.

I’ve not scribbled faithfully since my laptop screen went out nearly three months ago. I quit writing and I started talking. Suddenly all the thoughts and feelings and emotions I’ve been charting and graphing in the pages of my journal had nowhere to go. So they started spilling out my mouth. For the past several months I’ve felt as though I am teetering on the dangerous precipice of revealing my heart. My family has heard more of my frightening mind than in the rest of my life! And my mind is undoubtedly more frightening these days. Confusion reigns supreme. I’ve given up on making plans. Or even goals. Or even dreams. Right now I could fling my possessions to the wind and leap onto a plane headed for Alaska—if it weren’t for my ankle.

Who knows? Tomorrow I might do just that. Things change that quickly, you know.

Like Tabitha. When Cliff appeared on the scene over the summer she worried and fretted and avoided. “Just be his friend,” I encouraged her. “Just be his friend,” her dad encouraged her. Then suddenly she knew for sure he was interested. And just as suddenly her fear melted like the morning mist and was gone, replaced by wonder. Then curiosity. Then friendship. And now courtship. He can hardly concentrate on anything. While she was gone for two weeks he pined away and lost weight. He pours cereal in his cup and milk in the cereal box. He calls her every night he can’t see her and sees her every night her parents will allow him in the house. And he knows all about me, since I’m her best friend. Things just happen that fast.

Our family has grown. She might be Jack Russell Terrier or she might just be a mutt that happens to look and behave like a Jack Russell, but she’s captured our hearts from the first day she came slinking up to the back window, pleading for acceptance. Another stray and we’ve taken her in and are trying to train her. Isn’t that just how we always do? “What are we going to call that dog?” Papa asked the day after she arrived and we all knew we’d be keeping her. Later, he dubbed her Freckles. “Chase me,” she begs with every fiber of her body as soon as we step out the door. “Come play with me!” Mom was hanging laundry on the line when Freckles swiped a stocking cap from the basket and led Mom on a wild chase through the meadow. But when it comes to a trek through the woods, she’s all business—alert, silent and as stealthy as a Comanche. We walk outside in the morning and whistle, eager to see her wriggling form come dancing from under the porch—well, half of the porch. She’s already established. Things just happen that quickly.

Glenn’s been down twice in the past few months—the first time with just his boys to work on the house. Just a couple of weeks ago he brought his whole family for a week-long stay. Little Hannah kept me laughing constantly and Rachel was a closed book that slowly opened to let me peek inside. I’ve never seen anything like her piano playing. She plays so hard the piano weeps with exhaustion. I wept when I thought of wearing skirts the entire week—in the cold, in the rain, all day, every day. Skirts just aren’t my thing. But I made it. Joyfully, even, I do believe. And only half cold most of the time. The poor Schriebers all left sniveling, coughing and snorting. And they left the deck half torn off.

Poor Josiah was left in charge of building it back and it has proven to be nothing short of toil and tears, frustration and frenzy. In short, it will build in him godly character or drive him insane.

Amber and her mom have switched places entirely. Judy has come face to face with the saving grace of the Lord and has dived in head-first. She’s listened through the entire New Testament and spends time in prayer. The highlight of her day is her daily phone call with Mom, reviewing her over her memory verses. Amber on the other hand is struggling between the forces of good and evil. Of course, in some way or another, aren't we all? And I blame myself for her spiritual dryness. It seems I have an uncanny way of assuming anything that is not perfect, easy or beautiful is a fault of mine. I forget that Yahweh is in perfect control.

Exciting news rolls in from Tulsa with Nathaniel and Lauren and their church family. The Lord is casting His shadow across their little church and stirring them up to obedience. The men are taking serious steps to make Him the center, the church is reaching out to the surrounding neighborhoods, spreading the gospel and seeking to disciple. Several families have decided to headcover and more are interested in studying First Corinthians. “If this is how the church should be,” one man said during small group, “how do we do it?”

With Papa’s crazy work schedule, only having a holiday every other weekend, our meeting has switched over to Saturday night. The positive is that we often have more than just our family and Nick. The negative is that there is very little fellowship afterwards and no one comes out during the week or on Sunday anymore. Loneliness is curling it’s long, icy fingers around our little home.

Lord, change is just a part of living,
Part of Thy plan’s perfect giving,
Yet throughout eternity
There is no changing found in Thee.

This is such a comfort here,
Among the days of doubt and fear
To know Thou art always the same.
And knowing, praise Thy changeless name.

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