Friday, April 11, 2008

A Day in the Life

"Mom! Where's my hat?"
"What? Your hat? You don't have your hat?"
Standing in our doorway, I glanced at Branson climbing into the backseat of my mom's car. My thoughts spiraled and tumbled with the possible hiding place of the black Pirate's ball cap. The one with the bright gold "P" on front and a smaller "Branson" monogrammed across the back. The one I hadn't seen since Tuesday, or was it Monday's practice when I last saw him wearing it? No, it rained Monday. I hadn't seen it since Tuesday. I think. And Bran needed to be at his game in less than ten minutes.
Anticipating our very full - and very fun - afternoon and evening, I thought I'd remembered to set out everything ahead of time: Branson's (clean) baseball pants, belt, socks, cleats (the ones that fit), bats (both of them, since he can't decide which he likes better) glove, batting glove and batting helmet. And a bottle of water. And a zone bar.
Check check check check check check.
So at 5:50pm last Thursday, as I stood in our doorway (in jeans) and needed to be at an event by 6:00pm (not in jeans), and our just-arrived babysitter was focusing her attention not only on Basden and Esther but also on the masses of neighborhood kids in our front yard, and my mom pulled up to take Bran & Hud to the baseball fields by 6:00 for batting practice and the game, and my next-door neighbor's handyman dodged kids on skateboards and scooters (including Branson, who was supposed to be in Mom's car) making his way over to ask if he could cut up the gargantuan tree that had fallen and covered our driveway like a forested canopy from the previous night's thunderstorm...
At that moment, at 5:50pm standing in my doorway, I couldn't find the black monogrammed Pirates baseball hat.
Six minutes later, driving to the banquet (no longer in jeans, but void of freshened makeup or a brush pulled through my hair) I texted the coach and gave him a heads-up about the missing cap. I knew Branson wouldn't have been allowed to play without it. I then texted another friend to let her know I was "unavoidably late" to the banquet, where I had offered to come early to hand out name tags as guests arrived.
I couldn't help but wonder what I'd been smoking when I offered to be anywhere early.
Fortunately Bran's coach had an extra ball cap on hand just in case. I knew that was a possibility, because we've borrowed a red Angels cap from Hudson's coach twice now in their four games this season.
So once at the banquet, during our lovely seated dinner, I processed through the previous couple of hours and emitted a sigh. It felt good to sit down. Glancing at my watch, I realized the neighborhood kids would have filtered back to their own homes for dinner and homework. Basden and Esther would be cleaned up and reading books with Ali before she snuggled them into their beds. Hudson was likely loitering at the concession stand while Branson hit a couple of line drives wearing a borrowed baseball cap.
A day in the life.
More full than normal, perhaps, but certainly not unusual.
While eating my second (not yet on my third) dinner roll, my thoughts traveled to my friend Shelley, who should have been at the banquet with us. But instead she greeted a gazillion family and friends at a funeral home about half a mile to our east, preparing to bury her father the following morning. He died too early at 68 of pancreatic cancer. But in recent years Jesus got him before the cancer did. And instead of giving testimony to this generous, influential man, tomorrow's ceremony would instead point to a gracious, influential Savior who transforms funerals into celebrations.
My thoughts then turned to a sweet family in our neighborhood. About half a mile to our south, they gathered at our former church with people from all over the city to mourn the devastating loss of their eighth-grade son and brother and friend who took his life last Monday night. His death sent shock-waves through our community. I don't know this family. But from all accounts, this young man was well-liked, an honors student, involved in many aspects of his youth group, and played football with passion. Evidently he had a ton of friends. And like with Shelley's father, Jesus got to him before the angel of death came crashing into his home.
It's difficult for me to reconcile a day like this. This normal Thursday. While I spent the evening in a crowded banquet room that offered a lovely, inspiring setting, less than a mile away two camps of people comforted each other, clenched in joy and despair and gratitude and deep grief.
The juxtaposition of this day is too much for my little mind to comprehend, really. But I'm comforted observing our community's response of kindness and compassion to these families. The outpouring of love is deep and overwhelming and beautiful.
Meanwhile, several days have passed.
Still no Pirates hat. Even with a comprehensive search and rescue operation, it hasn't shown itself. I'm expecting to discover it in a diaper bag or the bottom of a jogging stroller or under the dining room table. Or maybe outside on the platform of the fort.
Last Thursday evening, as I stood in my doorway at 5:50 pm, I felt quite frustrated with the fact that the hat was missing. It was a small representation of my life - of not having my ducks in a row, of details spinning out of my control. This was not a welcome feeling. The bigger realization is that even when I try hard and plan hard and work hard, things of life will continue to fall out of my control.
Thankfully, my perspective has shifted a bit. I know I will have to re-learn this letting go thing again and again many times. But at this moment, my thoughts and energies are not held captive by the missing hat, or by my inadequacy to keep it all together. I long to see what's important, to laugh in the midst of chaos. To enjoy today, this day, with it's messiness and order and bickering and beauty.
And to rest in gratitude.
This day in the life.