A brief story:
I am at the doctor's with Lily. My doctor's appointment, not hers, but of course she doesn't care. She's terrified, the poor girl, convinced she's going to get a shot, or an exam, or some other unpleasantry. I play with her. We buy a snack. Two sweet ladies give her a lollipop, but nope. This is not her morning. She burrows her face in my chest and cries, trying to take deep breaths between her sobs.
An hour later, we are still waiting. Crying baby aside, I need to leave in a few minutes to pick up my other little love from preschool. I had been assured that I would be seen before noon, but that time is rapidly approaching. I tentatively approach the receptionist. I ask a question. Gently. She rebukes me. Harshly. And you know that expression, "And then the damn broke?" Well, it happened.
Picture this. Me and Lily, standing in front of the receptionist crying. Both of us. I honestly don't know who was crying harder (although that Lily does have a set of lungs). Two sweet nurses approach us, usher us into a room. They give each other a look like, "Oh Lord, what have we gotten ourselves into," but then they make sure we are taken care of. Another lollipop. Some stickers. Are they for her or me? I try every trick in the book to pull it back together. I think of funny stories. Say a prayer. Take deep breaths. But somehow a river of tears has sprung forth from my eyes and is not going to be stopped easily.
There are moments that I feel like I have it all together. It's a nice feeling: warm children, full husband, clean house. Sometimes I am tempted to even declare, "I am okay! I have it together!" Well, let's just say that this morning was not such a moment.
But somehow, it is strangely comforting to know that sometimes, things will fall apart. There will be difficult moments, days, periods. Such is life. But grace and love pull us through, and even then, in those difficult moments, we are okay. God is with us then, too. Maybe even especially? And at the end of a morning that could only be described as dismal, I can come home to a great big hug and a family that loves me. And that is enough to dry my eyes and put a smile on my face.
(Above: two sets of Lilies. I couldn't resist!)