Monday, September 10, 2012


The phone rang and simultaneously announced "Anonymous,"
Although it sounds like "AnoNEEmous" because it's a cheesy computer voice.

Oh goody.
I'd been trying to catch this one for the past week, but our message recorder is set to go on after ring two because...well, because I hate talking on the phone.
And this way, 'they' can leave a message, and I can get back to 'them' when I feel like it.
But that also means that I miss the calls I do want to pick up--like anoNEEmous.
So when anoNEEmous called this morning, I tore around the corner, leap-frogged my three year-old, and broke a kitchen tackle by my 14 year old.

 I knew who this was.
This is election season, after all.
And I wanted to take this one.

"Would you like to participate in a survey?" she asked.
"Love to," I salivated.
"Great! Thanks. How likely are you to vote in the upcoming election?"
"What would you say is the single greatest issue today?"
Mmm. Tough one. Let me think--for a nanosecond.
"Individual liberty."
Silence. There probably wasn't a little bubble thingy to fill in for that one. She was probably expecting me to say something a little more republican-ish:,blah,blah...
But she found a way to catch that fastball...
Recovering, she continued on, "And how has this issue affected you personally?"

(Lady! Were you dropped on your head at birth?
Would you like to talk about the time my son had a little pocket knife, a coming of age 10th birthday gift, confiscated by a TSA stooge? Or would you like to talk about the fact that I have to give my driver's licence to purchase allergy medication? Or...curfew? That tyrannical little ordinance where some Americans limit the free movement of other Americans in and about their own city?)

But I digress...
Back to the phone survey.
Probably didn't have a little bubble thingy for that one, either.

"Next, I'll list candidates' names and you tell me how favorable you are towards them.
Barack Obama?"
"Very unfavorable."
"Mitt Romney?"
"Very unfavorable."
I could practically hear her thinking, 'Wait. Can you feel the same about both of them?'...
"Governor Perry?"
'Loathe entirely' wasn't one of my options...but he is a staunch defender of parental rights--when he's not a staunch opponent of parental rights. I want to be fair here.
"Somewhat unfavorably."
"So and so (one of the councilmen at our curfew battle, whose identity I shall here protect)?"
Rapid thinking on my part. This was one of two council members willing to hear our curfew grievances. On the other hand, this was the only guy out of six councilmen who glared at me the whole time I testified before the City Council. My initial meeting with him had apparently used the term 'constitution' too many times for his comfort. It was abundantly clear that he didn't like me. But I don't like brown-noses--so the feeling was mutual.

Again, I answered fairly..."Somewhat unfavorably."

"In the general election, will you be voting for Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, or Someone Else?"
"Someone Else."

"And for senator, who will..."(at this point, she stopped, clearly getting some kind of high sign from a supervisor). "Oh. I'm sorry. That brings our survey to an end. Thank you for your time." Click.

Just like that, Little Miss Sunshine was gone.
Clearly, they had heard enough. And the voice of this citizen stopped being important.
There's no doubt in my mind that before I put the phone back on the cradle, my survey had already been sent to the big Shredder in the Sky.
Their version of being fair and balanced, no doubt.


Is there no end to their tyranny?
You and I both know the answer to that.
One thing's for sure.
I'll probably stop getting harassed by anoNEEmous,
'Cause everyone knows that people like me and answers like mine make me as valuable to my Big Tent Party...

as a Maine delegate.

Kind of makes me feel anonymous myself.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Grander Scheme

This small stretch of sky is my horizon,
The extent of all my hopeful dreams.
Yet I yearn to go beyond perceptions 
And see inside some other lives unfolding...*

It's been a tough couple of weeks at our house.

For eighteen years, we added to our family,
Bringing baby Adamses in,
Embracing all that God was giving to us.
Ten days before Z graduated from high school, baby J was born. 
It was a change in more ways than one.
For just as the last little guy made his entrance,
the first little guy was getting ready to make his exit.

Thus began the next chapter in our home.
Launching adult Adamses out,
Releasing them to find their callings and begin to fulfill the dominion mandate out in that big, bad world.

In The Explicit Gospel, Matt Chandler describes the gospel on the ground and the gospel from the air. 
Same story. Two views.

I find that life in general is much like Chandler's gospel description.

Life from the ground. Launching from the ground.
I see my little adults taxiing out to the runway, taking off to who really knows where. 
From where I'm standing, it looks like goodbye.
Those planes, they head out toward the horizon.
And I stand there and watch.
And they get smaller.
And they are gone. 
That's the mom's-eye-view.

It's a bittersweet place to be. 
We love those kiddos.
We've had the pleasure of seeing all the work that God's done.
All that grace God has poured..
No...all that grace God has positively drenched us in...
Changes boys to men.
Girls to women.
Disciples to friends.

And standing here on the ground, watching as these friends, these most precious friends of all, take gut-wrenching.
I keep telling myself that we raised them to do precisely this.
I keep telling myself that we are releasing them to God's hands.
God. Who loves them even more than we do.
But this is still life on the ground.
And my vision is still limited by the horizon.

So I stretch my mind and try to understand
How you could hold each soul inside Your plan.
O Father, grant me faith to see my part in history
Touching others with Your love unfolding.

Life from the air. Launching from the air.
He who created them,
He to whom we are releasing them,
Sees past my horizon
And sets their course.
He knows the plan.

I know this in my head.
But it does not stop the ache in my heart.
I've known from the time they were little that they would grow and leave.
That growing,
and leaving,
they were the goal.
The good goal.
But now that we are in the middle of that season,
My heart must fight to trust life from the air,
Up there where God sees it all.

Open up a way for me to see,
The grandeur of the grander scheme unfolding.

Down here on the ground,
it can be hard to remember that there is something grander than just the horizon.

I'm missing Zach flopping on my bed after midnight--just to talk. I'm missing the mischievous gleam in his eye when he's teasing his nine-year-old sister. I'm missing him dragging the seven-year old outside to play soccer. I'm missing his zeal for his Lord. I'm missing this kid who told me this summer, "My family IS my ministry."

I'm missing Alex giving bear hugs. And her "Mom, I think you're amazing." And coffee with her. And her love of people. And her passion for the Word. And hogging the whole comforter to herself on the family-room couch.

I'm missing Luke's political passion. I'm missing his good-natured laughter. And seeing him sit up front in church so he can pay attention without the little ones crawling all over him. His sitting on his ugly green chair with his headphones on. And his late night snacks. And his still waters that run deep.

Those things linger on this side of my horizon.
And somewhere beyond what I can see,
God is at work...
in a much grander scheme.
And these kids of mine are a part of that work.

I'm struck with the fact that Brett and I are just a part of the plan.
Their lives don't end at my horizon.
More likely than not, they're really just beginning.
God is beginning to show me that.
I might not ever see the Grand Scheme down here on the ground.
But it's there,
As surely as He is God, and He is sovereign and good.

These past few days, I've begun to feel less grief over what is past and to feel more blessed for what is ahead.
Blessed by where He's going to take them,
out there past my horizon.
Blessed that His eye is on them,
and the shadow of His wing is over them.
Blessed that I could play a small part in His grand scheme.
Blessed that I get to stand here and watch some of it unfold.

(*Unfolding by Christine Dente 1994)