...because Ben didn't sleep well last night
...because it took a ton of effort to get all four kids dressed and fed and chores done and out the door by 8:45...so we could get to Costco by 9 for groceries for Nora's bday weekend and my dad coming...so that we could have Ben to nap by 11...so that we could be to an afternoon playdate by 1, and then once I got everyone there and unbuckled and masked and in carts and my membership card out and ready to enter with dozens of other people, we weren't allowed in, because anyone under 65 can only enter after 10
...because I realized that Costco and four kids and masks and carseats and this is now my life.
...because I am so tired along with everyone else of trying to plan and arrange and think and pray and be cancelled and closed and extended and delayed and disappointed
...because in the middle of shopping NOT at Costco two separate friends from Haiti texted "you don't think to come back to Haiti again?" and "I never thought you would ever go away."
...because I'm trying so hard, harder than I have ever tried and I can't. get. over.
I was crying in our garage today because in the mailbox full of mail ALL addressed to past residents, was a little white envelope from a friend, addressed to ME. From someone I KNOW, really. Forever.
And her handwriting, just my address, quietly said: I have not forgotten about you.
I didn't realize how badly I needed to hear it till I was crying in the garage with my letter and groceries and a dirty diaper--a brief word of support and some help with all the flood of bills and the signature of my friend and the memory of so many times she has squeezed my hand and reminded me that she begins her day with the Word and whatever the post I share and by praying. for. me.
We may not matter much to many, friends.
I may have let a slew of beautiful people down, and I daresay I will again. My best efforts may not matter to the Costco guard or stand up against the most recent, ever-changing rules. Ben may not care about my sleep, and my most fervent desires to visit home or to play with my nieces or just to take a shower for 20 minutes without 6 interruptions and 4 snack requests may not materialize until who-knows-when.
You may not see your kids off to school. You may not get to have that event. You may not see that dear friend or get to go to that special thing or get to take your kids that place or even be able to go to church...to go to work...to pay the bills.
All our very best, friends, may be utterly in vain. All our best plans might be completely wasted efforts. All the many people we encounter each day, we may be utterly disregarded by. All the value the world places may just never be found in us or our talents or our jobs or lives.
But there are scraps, look hard, friends, glimpses every day of the reminder Hagar learned so unexpectedly, powerfully and beautifully in the desert at her very end and utterly alone...that Our God is THE God who TRULY sees. He truly sees.
He sees me, North Maple Street, and knows me well, and isn't frustrated with my inability to bloom or the quick overflow of my tears.
He makes water appear in dry places simply because I am thirsty, He wanders in the wilderness simply because I am there.
I have seen the One who sees me! Hagar cried out with surprise, having just a moment earlier been not good enough, unworthy, abandoned, unloved and desperate.
Being seen by God utterly changed her life. Being SEEN by God changes everything.
In the wildernesses of this season, friends, may we SEE the God who SEES US.
May we count the ways and hold onto them.
May we BE His visible, tangible love to the world that is unseeing, increasingly dark and blind and lost and broken and desperate.
All our little giving, our little outreaching, our little reminding, our little encouraging, our little helping, our little peace-making, all our little peace-speaking, all our little notes...it may be seeing God for someone else today. We must carry on.
He has not forgotten about you, friend.
He has not given up.
May we never.
He's been navigating wilderness and hearing sobs and finding the lost and meeting the deepest of needs since it all started.
El Roi? We can trust HIM. He SEES.
We can trust Him, when nothing else.