The Undones and Waiting-to-be-finisheds

Chris and I are like this.  We love it when things are complete.  When things are tidied up, perfect with their own little red bow.  We love it because we somehow believe that then we can relax.

More often than not, though, this is not our reality.

Take Sunday.  We emptied every kitchen cabinet and drawer, in anticipation of contractors showing up early Monday morning to tear out our existing kitchen.   My stomach lurched, thoughts of our recent move still fresh.  Piles of dishes, boxes, and newspaper.  Pots and pans in our living room.   Unsettled, kitchen guts out for all to see.

Take Monday.  Kitchen demo underway, kids out of school.  After a quick Aldi run and a successful lunch in our makeshift dining-room-kitchen, I thought it’d be fun to take the boys bowling and then to Barnes & Noble to use their Christmas gift cards.  {Ding! Ding! Overambitious!} Well.  Everyone else and everyone else’s mothers thought the same thing, so instead of waiting an hour to bowl for half that time, we opted for only the shopping.  After the obligatory pre-shopping directives, including “you may NOT buy Pokemon cards or Legos sets, but anything else is okay,” we ventured in.  My stomach lurched for the second time, dreading the indecisiveness.  The sub-par choices I don’t agree with, but they insist on.  The sadness that the gift card JUST ISN’T ENOUGH.  Sheesh.  The untidy rolls in again, and I muster to make it through the checkout line and the drive home.

Now today.  The boys off to school and Chris off to work, I made a quick stop at the flooring place to finalize our choice and then headed over to Michael’s craft store.  The little heart-covered birthday gift card from my dear Bloomington friends begged to find some paint brushes, watercolor paper, and maybe some yarn and big wooden beads.  Projects and ideas come in and out at jet speed lately, and I’m thankful for the mind and heart space to let some stay.

On the way home, though, these thoughts came.  Are these art supplies are for nothing?  Should I, or how could I, use them for income?  Should I get a job? What can I learn by spending my minutes creating probably meaningless bits?  The questions flooded, but this quickly came too, from an email I read just the other day.

“May we learn to accept that there isn’t always a why, a how, or a lesson.  But there is always Jesus. And there is always love.”   So I breathed deeply, and I came home to string beads and make yarn tassels on the happy, sunny, wood floor.

It’s kind of like in the Bible, I’m thinking.   Every time the Israelites commit to follow God, a few chapters later they built some sort of golden animal or find themselves complaining that something isn’t enough, isn’t complete, isn’t right.  For me, it’s the kitchen, the boys, and my craft store hopes.  They’re all a mirror.  Showing me the not enough.  Showing me the undone, the gaping space that I so long for peace to fill.  The way I think that maybe I can make something be enough.

But I can’t.  And neither can you.  The undones and waiting-to-be-finisheds come like gangbusters sometimes, and we need Jesus to fill our holes.  Because He, like Paul says, is the secret.  The peace-bringing, hole-filling secret.   Then, we can relax.

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