Wednesday, April 18, 2012

count it all joy

Our first year here, Kuwait had novelty on its side. Last year, I had Grant and kept busy enough with two little ones at home. This year I want to escape. I like the life we have here. And I don't know when it started, but I have been itching to leave. I'll come back. But as mentioned previously, we aren't traveling this year. That might have been a mistake, and Justin will be happy I put that in writing because though I first sparked him to the idea of living abroad, he is the one who suggests we visit places that would turn his parents inside out. So while I have not had to overpack for a trip this year, we haven't arrived anywhere either.
We've stayed. We have been creatures of habit, circling our trips between Fahaheel and the Avenues. Grilled cheese is my default meal. I used to dress up our grilled cheese in fancy bread and fancy cheese but sometimes I just butter up the Kuwait Mills loaf and slice some good ol' Heritage Farms. For a stretch we ate grilled cheese sandwiches and carrot sticks once or twice a week because I just didn't care to spend an hour in the kitchen putting together a real meal.

Telling it like this is a little alarming. I want to wake to something new. I also want to not count the years until diapers are done. Is it such a contradiction to be present and enjoy playing with my kids, and at bedtime wish for the night when we aren't crowded in the bathroom, pottying and dressing and brushing teeth for bed, because they will do it on their own? Every inch of being alive has something I want to keep and something I want to hurry.

I've been studying the book of James with a group of women here. The first chapter begins with this challenge: "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." Can I count it joy? My trials of various kinds are so small, but can I count them joy? If I cannot count grocery shopping and cooking a joy, how will I count learning to forgive a joy? If I cannot count being patient with three-year-old a joy, how will I count the joy of encouraging and correcting that same girl when she is fifteen?

I have stayed in one place this year staring at what I want to count joy: all of it. Sometimes the choice of it - counting this joy or giving way to apathy - the choice of attitude is excruciating.

I am cooking vegetable pancakes tonight. Not grilled cheese.


Clare said...

"Every inch of being alive has something I want to keep and something I want to hurry." I love that. And grilled cheese and vegetable pancakes both sound yummy. Do you have a recipe for the pancakes?

Steve said...

Interesting update. I don't have any input, but I am glad I read your blog. You have a silent, and honest voice. :)

Best wishes. :)