A good 'ole smack upside the head

12 March 2012


And this is how God smacked me upside the head:
I didn't plan past the new year. When well-organized teachers sent home well-prepared calendars at the start of September, I wrote down the pertinent information in my own well-meaning way, all the way till December 31, 2011.

Oh, we won't be here, I thought. There will be new schools and new calendars and if I don't acknowledge a 2012 that exists in Kansas City, God will see my sign of faith and reward me with fulfillment of the long-awaited return to Ireland.

My first clue that something was amiss should've been when my child informed me that Spring Break was less than a week away. (Stupid empty calendar.) We quick write it down, making plans and figuring out how this will all work - three kiddos all at home all week and a newly hectic and stressful work and ministry schedule, which it always tends to be right before St. Patrick's Day.

Which brings me to Wednesday.

We are on our way to a get-together with new friends that evening. We've rescheduled and rainchecked, waiting for schedules to align and illnesses to pass. We are packing some homemade bread and a bottle of wine, turning down the road, when an advert pops on the radio: Paddy's Day is coming and our city celebrates and we remember.

The Chieftains. Two tickets. That night. In ten minutes.

A generous Christmas present for two homesick former residents of the Emerald Isle, in the brand-new freaking unbelievably gorgeous opera house that adorns the KC skyline. When we received them, I looked at the date and thought, oh, this will be amazing... if we're still here. I kept the tickets in a safe place, not bothering to write it down or shop for an outfit or plan the romantic date night.

We look at one another in shock, having each been smacked upside the head by our loving Father.

It never even occurred to me that holding out for the future was disabling me from living in the present. (Still! Even after I spent my whole 31 days writing about and learning from it.) Life is happening and we are willfully ignoring it. So caught up in waiting and planning, we were missing the living. Too good to be here, where we are, for however long we are here. More than ready to stop, drop and roll right on out of here when He gives the signal. Forgetting about the little people who share this life, the friends who walk alongside us on the path, the beautiful gifts given to help us on the journey.


So we call the friends, "We are the worst!" I say, and she graciously understands. We u-turn and find the tickets and do a quick costume change. We arrive 30 minutes late and uproot a dozen Irish-American retirees from their seats to find our own. We watch and listen in wonder at the music that has followed us and beckoned us for our entire marriage.

We see them dance and we both cry. Because in the waiting to go, Ireland came to us and we feel alive. Without saying a word, we agree to put a little effort into the living, so as to not be 30 minutes late anymore.

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