Last night I was home alone with the kids, and so I did one of those awesome Mom Things and made them watch a movie I knew they wouldn’t love as much as I do: Chariots of Fire. I am clearly suffering from the Olympic fever. But truly, I love that movie- the story, the faith, the sacrifice, the dreams realized, the lessons learned, the running in slow motion on the beach with grand music playing. It’s all so beautiful.
My kids were totally “meh” about it, though. I pretty much expected that. I mean, I knew they would love the 3.2 minutes of actual race competition, but it’s deeply embedded in an hour and fifty minutes of people talking in low, hushed voices. It’s not exactly an action packed thriller. My daughter lost all ability to recognize humans based on facial features and/or hair color and spent the entire movie asking me which one was Harold Abrahams. The boys could barely sit still the whole time because boredom makes them all fidgety. I had to stop it and explain what was happening at least 17 times. It was a precious family movie night, indeed.
By the time Eric Liddel was being manipulated by the Prince of Wales to run on Sunday, one of my boys groaned loudly and said, “Why doesn’t anything ever happen in this movie??!!“
I kept my mouth shut, but I wanted to say, “Because this movie is like real life: lots of complicated conversations in the midst of identity crises, all made worthwhile by the occasional chance for a spectacular victory.”
(Spoiler alert, dear children! Your whole life will be more like this movie than you expect.)
But then the final race captured our hearts, and we all lost ourselves in the romance of a man clinging to his passion for God and winning in the end.
Is there anything more fabulous in the world than that? No. No, there is not.
I began to mentally list all the ways I seem to be losing right now, all the dreams I have cast at the feet of Jesus, all the painful things we are processing as a people, and all the hopes we cling to so ferociously. There always seems to be such a chasm between us and the finish line, doesn’t there? Some days there’s simply not enough talent, courage, or general “brilliance” within us to get us through the mundane and ordinary days so we can have the chance to be victorious for God when our chance comes.
(Gosh, I hope our chance to win for Him comes soon.)
In the meantime, a few shining things are helping to save me from my existential angst. I have found some bright spots in the middle of the grind of momhood and pastor’s wifery. (Is pastor’s wifery a new term? I hope so. I love making up new words.) I thought I would share them with you, in case you’re feeling like nothing seems to be happening in life, and you need a little help to get on through the day.
1. Chef’s Table on Netflix: Our friends told us about this documentary series, and it is fascinating. Every episode makes me want to be more creative and courageous. They’re about chefs, but they’re all really about purpose and dreams and people. The episodes make me want to go out to eat right now, so that’s a bui of a bummer at 10pm when the kids are all asleep, but I love them anyways. Some of them are even suitable for kids, but I would recommend previewing them first, because they have some heavy content and occasional language, depending on who they interviewed.
2. My New Journal Bible: I lent my Bible to this really cute campus minister about twelve years ago and HE LEFT IT AT THE CAMPUS MEETING AND I NEVER SAW IT AGAIN. (Not that I’m bitter or anything!) But all is forgiven because I finally got a new one and some pretty pens to use in the margins. I feel a tiny bit guilty that blank pages and purple and yellow ink make me want to be with Jesus so much, but I think he’s cool with it. I’m reading Matthew 6 right now, and as always, the gospels challenge my comfort and complacency. Secret sacrifice that goes unseen by the world is always seen by God and rewarded. The humble places in our hearts are woven with His glory.
3. Modern Fiction: I just finished Truly, Madly, Guilty by Liane Moriarty, and it was so good, you guys. Here’s my list of other reads I’m hustling through while I wait for the the new Alan Bradley. Whenever my life gets too heavy, I love to pick up fictitious lives and forget reality for thirty minutes, or even two to five hours after everyone else in the house is asleep.
4. Making my Bed: I don’t know how to describe the difference in my day if I make my bed. Because I work from home, I see my bed dozens of time during the day, and if it’s made up, I get this sparkly feeling of accomplishment every time I walk in my room. It’s proof I’ve won some kind of life test! You should totally try making your bed every day. This video proves I’m not as crazy as I sound:
5. Chocolate Milk, More Coffee, and Topo Chico: This is a trinity of beverage perfection, and I love them almost as much as the new mini chewy SweeTART disc candies I found at Walgreeens. Almost.
6. Parkour Class for My Kids: I found a Parkour gym in Austin and signed two of my boys up for the classes. TOTALLY WORTH IT. Now, all four of my kids are trying to run up walls and balance on top of stuff and roll under things and they keep shouting, “PARKOUR!” while they do it because I told them that was actually how you’re supposed to do Parkour, since I am a twisted person who loved the Parkour episode of The Office:
7. And lastly, this quote by Eric Liddel reminds me that I am running this race my own way, and life sometimes won’t make sense to other people or to myself.
As we talk in hushed voices and sort out our latest identity crisis, may we also find within us God’s power to see our race to the end. I hope you win for God today, my friend. And if you don’t, just keep running. Tomorrow may be better.