Thursday, September 30, 2010

Egg-Timer Intrusions

Last month I blogged about the book Soul Revolution and the 60-60 experiment. The general idea, an old one, is paying attention to God in our lives. Soul Revolution's method for getting this done is by setting new-fangled devices, a phone/clock/watch, to buzz/beep/vibrate every 60 minutes, reminding us to check in with God, pray, think about how God fits into the present moment whether we are deliriously happy, contented, frustrated, angry, etc, etc.  This week we are beginning a church-wide 60-60 experiment (that's every sixty minutes for sixty days minus sleep time).

I started again yesterday, which happened to be the hardest homeschooling day of my life to date. It started at 4 a.m., when the baby awoke. Then, someone was screaming from about 8:30 in the morning until 5:00 at night.  At one point, I put a child on the front porch to quiet the house. One child got swollen, red eyes from her screaming. They were still red three hours later. One child hated and cried through math. One child threw herself on the floor because I said no TV/clean your room/do your schoolwork. Oldest and Middle walked to school for art class, except they got in a fight on the way, stopped, lost track of time, and didn't show up at school until after art class had started and I had exchanged conversation with the principal, the school secretary, and Grandpa (who went off in search of them). In case you're wondering, they were playing "spy" and fighting about who was going to deliver a secret message they imagined was written on a dirty scrap of paper encountered on the way. (Death. To. Litter.) In the meantime I had messages and phone calls I hardly had time to return from two friends, in crises of marriage, faith, and finances.

In the midst of all of this, my cell phone's egg timer was ringing politely every hour.  Right.  I felt like shouting at the intrustion. God! You've gotta do something here. But I prayed for patience and creativity. I prayed to say the right thing at the right moment to the child whose emotional melt down was begining to wear away at my soul. I texted back one friend: "Pumping milk and waging math battles." There was very little give. 

Until. I found myself in the bathroom with Oldest, who was in desperate need of a bang trim. "It tickles," she cried, as I held the scissors to her forehead.  She scrunched up her eyes, and meowed the most fearful bang-trimming angst I've ever heard. We were in a hurry; her running club started in 15 minutes. "Just hold still!" I pleaded, angling at another portion of her hair. "If you hold still I can do this quickly!" And then I really looked at her face, this silly, scrunched-up, fearful-even-though-I-know-I-shouldn't-be face, and I giggled.  She opened her eyes. "What?"  And I giggled again. And then she giggled. And then I was laughing hard and trying to cut at the same time and she warned sternly, through her giggling, "Mom! Stop! You shouldn't try to cut while you're laughing." So I pulled myself together, relieved that we were okay. 

The day ended at 8 p.m. when I caught the big girls in bed with writing utensils and notebooks well after lights out.  After confiscating them, I threw myself on my bed, turned off the lights, texted one of the friends who I hadn't had time to call during the day, and closed my eyes.

This morning, a new day began. This time, with my dropping a lightbulb on the floor, shards of glass flashing around my bare feet. My husband tried to flip our massive king-sized mattress over in our room. In the process, the headboard that was anchored to the wall came crashing down. And I remembered that yesterday he told me our garbage disposal was broken.   Messy, messy life. In the meantime this egg timer rang in the middle of it all, every hour.

You're here, I keep thinking. Right. Right. Right.

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