Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the Earth by your great power and outstretched arm. NOTHING is too hard for you!!! Jeremiah 32:17
I however, need serious help!
This had to be one of the most challenging weeks I’ve had in a very long time. Friday night was not only our 5th grader’s final elementary school talent show, but also the inaugural fundraising event for our 8th grader’s middle school, which I’d agreed to co-chair (I’ve never done THAT before, but that’s never stopped me …)
The week began with standard fare, lessons for one on Monday, lessons for two on Tuesday, talent show rehearsal both Tuesday AND Wednesday, swimming lessons on Thursday, and a daytime talent show performance Friday morning at 9:00 am. I’d planned to attend, since the evening performance conflicted with the fundraising event, but forgot that we had to start setting up and dressing the event location at 9:30 am. I explained this to my patient son, including that I’d be leaving the fundraising event in time to see his performance, before returning to my hosting duties. Thank God, as always, for his easy going nature. The plan was that my husband would attend the evening event and meet me for the balance of the night at the fundraiser as my “plus one.” Remember, I said that was the plan.
Cervantes famously said that “man appoints, God disappoints,” and though I’ve experienced this many times, it’s a lesson I clearly need to repeat at least once yearly. My darling husband aka “Plus One” not only became ill mid-week, but also had a critical meeting at the office rendering it virtually impossible that he’d be able to attend the evening performance OR my event. Since he was feeling ill anyway, he took a late morning and saw the early show. We are famously a couple, so there was little risk of social stigma by appearing at the event solo, but I was a little bummed that we wouldn’t get a date night. Soldier on, baby, soldier on.
Friday morning, I rise, start breakfast and get ready to start the day. “No Longer Plus One” runs some errands and we agree to meet at the elementary school so I can at least get a glimpse of the talent show before dashing off to set-up. I am optimistic because our principal is a stickler for time, and I think I may at least get to see something before sneaking out the back way. Cue Cervantes. When we get to school, children are running about, people are still settling in, and there is no way this is getting going before 9:25 earliest. ARGH!
Before arriving at the location, we agreed to meet at the event planner’s home to load up the raffle and auction baskets. As people were generous, it takes us about 5 cars to get everything in. We are a jovial and excited bunch, and I expect it is going to be a good day. I am not disappointed. We work until nearly 1:30, when I have to rush home to tend to the dog before circling back to pick up the kids at 2:35. I’d already planned a meal that was easy to execute, because it would be really nice to rest a sec before nightfall. It is already clear to me that I am NOT the subject of Jeremiah 32:17.
I collect children, finish dinner, get children fed, prep my clothes and have about 45 minutes to chill before it’s time to go. Though the first volunteer shift, including your humble servant, is due to arrive at 6:00 pm, I have a performer to deliver elsewhere at 6:30, including kisses and a promise to be back for showtime. I park at the fundraiser at 6:40. While I try to relax and get focused, there are several calls from my daughter expressing concern about one thing or another at the talent show. Although they publicly claim to despise each other, our children are remarkably close and fiercely loyal and protective. Finally things settle down. While I have never launched a military offensive, our planning that night bordered on an invasion strategy. If my son’s act was #21 on the run sheet, I needed to leave no later than #14 to get across town in time to catch everything. Thanks to a timely text message from my eldest, I dashed out of my chair and into my car in time to get where I needed to be in good time. I even got to say a few hellos before settling into my seat. Then, there it was, his performance. The best thing about the talent shows at this school is that every performance is limited to 90 seconds. Trust me, ever child can be engaging for 90 seconds. At 95, however, all bets may be off. I enjoyed his performance, kissed him when he came offstage, and got back in the car.
Back to the event. Did I mention I was desperately trying to be cute in high heeled boots? I looked the part, but let’s just say that the timer on my shoes expired 90 minutes at best before the end of the night. While I’d been alighting onto and out of conversation groups all night, I sought out and found a well placed chair where I could survey things and catch a breather. And rest my dogs. Boy, did I miss my “No Longer Plus One.” He makes everything better. He ensures that I properly work the room, moving, not staying too long, greeting all folks whom I should be greeting, holding all the right hands, hitting all the right notes. Oh yeah, and when I’ve told him that my toes are numb, he even holds me up. Add those to the innumerable list of reasons why I love him, which gets longer all the time, and you see why, after 17 years, I’m going NOWHERE.
The events were a runaway success (both the talent show AND the fundraiser), but the lesson was clear. By midday, I’d said repeatedly, “if I make it though this day and this night, it will only be because of God’s Grace.” God sent grace many times that day, including a text from a dear friend reminding me to breathe. You see, His Grace was sufficient. I was never supposed to be able to manage things on my own, to have my plan proceed without a flaw. Looking back, with still tired eyes, I am deeply grateful. If all had happened according to my plan, I’d have thought I did it on my own. You see, not only is His Grace sufficient, His power is perfected in our weakness. And, with that understanding, I celebrate my human frailty, all the times I intended to, but didn’t quite get it right. My humanity brings me closer to God. And so, even in my times of frustration, I clearly live an abundant life. Further evidence that God is good.