“What’s Madison’s favorite color, Nae?” “What’s Daddy’s favorite color?” “What’s Na-na’s favorite color? Nae? Naaee?”
The calico beans were simmering loudly on the stove, and I was standing in my kitchen listening to his incessant questioning, the boy with the paintbrush and the construction paper, wearing my kitchen apron inside-out.
Pine needles all over the living room floor and the dining room, because I’d thought it was a good time to take down Christmas greenery while the baby slept.
But then the baby woke up, five minutes after I’d watched thousands of prickly needles shake to the floor. My counter tops buried in the stuff of my life – planner, phone, paintings, dirty dishes, mail.
It was lunchtime.
“I don’t know, Kyle,” I said. My heart was pounding and I just wanted to cry. We had a party to go to in the evening and me committed to taking pictures so I just couldn’t not go. How in the world would I bring order to all this mess before then? “I bet Na-na’s favorite color is pink? Or purple?”
I feel like I’m talking through a vacuüm. My lips are forming words, but they sound far away.
“But I don’t have purple!” He’s exasperated. “You get purple, Nae?”
“Yeah, yeah maybe I should get some purple.”
“Nae, I do blue for Na-Na.”
“Okay, Kyle. Okay. You do blue for Na-Na.” I fasten Leo’s bib on and stir his beans. “Ready to eat, baby?” I smile and his face lights up. The sun is shining through the kitchen window, across the littered counter tops and glistening off his fuzzy hair.
“Nae, what’s Mommy’s favorite color?”
I want to live this moment well. I feel like that desire aches inside of me.
I’m tired of dirty dishes. And pots overflowing on the stove.
I’m disgusted at pine needles.
I’m sick of questions.
I want to forget about eating and food, for a long time. I’m just really done with all that.
Except all that is right here.
And I want to do right now, right well.
My heart is praying, fast, quick and simple.
“God, show me the grace of this moment.”
“God, help me to see.”
“God, show me how to live right now, right well.”
It’s after the baby is back in bed sleeping for his afternoon nap, I slowly climb the stairs back down, each step taking me closer to the midst of mess.
There he is, the three-year-old painter with the clownish smile and the clear blue eyes. The red broom towers over his head and the dustpan sits full of needles. He turns with a proud smile, “I’m helping you, Nae! I clean up this mess!”
I’m standing there and I see it all for what it is. He picks the dustpan up and carries it careful to the trashcan, but when he tips to dump the full pan, the handle slips and the needles dump all over the kitchen floor.
If we seek Him, we will find Him, and finding God is nothing like looking for a needle in a haystack, because God doesn’t hide.
I just need eyes to see.
“The best time to get real is the first week in January”, I think this after Kyle’s resting and the house is quiet and I’m sweeping dustpans of needles into the trash.
While the rest of the world makes resolutions for the New Year, I’m asking God for a daily revelation.
Because God meets us right in the middle of our messes, and what a glorious redemption it would be, all of us awaking to the beauty of Emmanuel presence.
God with us.