Just as I Am

Driving to work this morning, husband and toddler at home, window rolled down to enjoy these first warm days of spring and the blue sky filling the windshield, I was transported back to a moment.

A moment with my sister in the late summer of 2013, ambling through the town of Eagle River while on vacation, just the two of us under the warm August sun. As we walked the tree-lined neighborhood streets, bells echoed out from an old church.

Just as I am, without one plea
but that thy blood was shed for me
and that thou bidst me come to thee
O Lamb of God, I come, I come

“That’s was Poppop’s favorite hymn,” said my sister, and I silently thought about our grandpa and his life on Shellpot Drive, where I knew him as the quiet man who ate a sandwich for lunch every day, trimmed his toenails in the den bathroom, and played Scrabble, all while believing that Jesus would come back in glory before he died. Someone played Just as I Am at his funeral.

The church bells echo around us with this tune, maybe mournful, maybe joyful.

Just as I am, though tossed about
with many a conflict, many a doubt
fightings within and fears without
O Lamb of God, I come, I come

There are moments in life when, unexpectedly, with no warning, beauty hits you. You didn’t plan on it, or seek it out, but there you are in the middle of your day, maybe driving somewhere, maybe walking, maybe looking out a window, maybe hearing that song that dovetails with the moment like they were predestined for each other–and suddenly time is suspended and your heart is filled to bursting.

A melody–the warm orange of the sun against your closed eyelids–the friendship of a sister–the knowledge that death comes to all–the strange ache of hope disappointed and hope fulfilled.

Just as I am, thou wilt receive,
wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
because thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, thy love unknown
hath broken every barrier down;
now, to be thine, yea, thine alone,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

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Thursdays: my day

Ever since after my ectopic pregnancy last summer, my husband started staying home with Alice once a week. Prior to that, I had been taking her to work every day, and I had reached a breaking point–it was too hard.

Having that one day a week was a miracle. A revelation. And it continues to be! My day this year has been Thursday. I try to schedule any doctor’s appointments for that morning. Then I head to work–by myself. I pray in the car and enjoy every minute of it. I get to the office, take my time getting my coffee and getting situated. There’s no need to rush, because no one’s clock is ticking (for those of you without kids, I should explain that toddlers can feel like ticking clocks–it’s a countdown to their next need: attention, help with a task, a snack, snuggles, you name it).

Then I work. And this is no small thing: I love Alice–it’s been a privilege and a blessing to be able to bring her with me to the office for over two years now–but friends, let me tell you how glorious it is to work without a little voice pleading, “Mommy all done work?” and “Applesauce!” and “Read a book!” To be able to guiltlessly actually focus on what I’m doing instead of keeping one eye here and one eye there–it’s almost like a vacation. Even though it’s work.

Then I buy myself lunch. Recently it’s been tacos from Tony’s Burrito Mex.

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Let me tell you about these tacos.

Really, what’s not to tell you about these tacos?

Wait, that didn’t make any sense.

Then again, the deliciousness of these tacos doesn’t make any sense either.

HOW CAN IT BE?

The picture speaks louder than my words can right now.

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Tacos al pastor with onions and cilantro.

A side of fries with mayo and ketchup.

And then I go write. I query agents, work on my novel, usually at Starbucks while sipping something with way too many calories in it for one small beverage and telling myself, ‘it’s okay. You can jiggle them off later as you waddle to the car.’

Finally, I run errands–get gas, go to the grocery store–and when I get home, it’s dinner time and there is food (a bean and barley slow cooker soup tonight) and I can’t believe how easy my day has been.

I wonder how other moms do it, moms who don’t get a day off, a day to pursue things they are passionate about independently of the home. Maybe that will be me someday, depending on what happens this fall and which one of us is working, but for now, I’m just soaking it up. On Thursdays, I remember that I’m not just a mommy or wife, but Jenna.

You may have noticed that on the rare occasions I blog, it happens to be on Thursdays.

Yep.

Posted in Home & Kids, Musings | Tagged , , | 8 Comments