They sit in the living room screamming over baby doll strollers, crayons, plastic necklaces. Every time it is different, every time it is the same. I am about to join into the fray, or I have already shouted above it leaving everyone in tears when I look at my watch to discover that we should be eating, or napping, or having a drink.
Hungry. Thirsty. In need of rest. These are the reason for the melt-downs at my house. These are the reasons my lovely pair of sisters who regularly watch out for each other and declare “you my best friend” scream at each other and demand that the other does not get to play. That is MINE! That is not for you!
Hungry. Thirsty. In need of rest. I think about all of the times that I have gotten into fights when it was really about this. I was hungry and thirsty and needed to rest. I hadn’t been fed, or gone back to the well to drink in days. I had forgotten how to rest in promises, and so I was screaming, crying, angry.
I am headed to the lake in three weeks. It is in some ways the most restful place I know. It is also full of memories. Homemade dolls and learning to ski. Access to motor-boats and paddle boats and trips to Vermont to pick blueberries. When my grandfather passed away this past Christmas, my cousin Eric gave a eulogy that spoke to just how well my grandfather loved. And my grandmother still does, love so well. None of the grandkids doubt that we are loved. This love knit us together and the France cousins are a tighter unit than any cousin group I know.
But also, the lake was a hard place for me. There were seventeen cousins when all was said and done. 17. I am number 11. It is pretty much impossible to gaurantee that all 17 kids are getting what they need, and I tend on the sensitive side. Sometimes circumstances felt like personal jabs.
There wasn’t room for all 17 on the bench by the window as we ate our cereal in the morning, our bathing suits already on for the day. There wasn’t room for everyone in the boat every time, not when we all were wearing those bulky orange vests around our necks. Only so many people could play a game at any one time. The three or four blueberry pies my grandmother made, topped with home-made whip cream and vanilla ice cream (grandma doesn’t make you choose) could only go so far. There were rules I didn’t (and still don’t) understand about when to speak up and when to shrug it off and how to make sure that you were taken care of and so was everyone else.
Scarcity. I’ve been hearing about scarcity and it is speaking to a fear I have always felt. There isn’t enough to go around. There will not be enough. By the time it is my turn on the boat it will be out of gas and too late to run into town for some more. It isn’t just at the lake that I have reacted out of this fear. I think it runs deep into the pieces of my heart that commune with God, that commune with you.
I am afraid. I am afraid that your presence means there is no room for me. I am afraid there is not enough for everyone, that the love, grace, room, bread, will run out and I will be left thirsty when the cup gets to me. I am afraid it will never be my turn.
But the kingdom of God doesn’t work that way. It doesn’t run out. What He has for me is not on a time-table, or a first come first served basis. I don’t have to beat the crowd, or make sure I have saved some for myself. The lie is scarcity. The truth is enough. There is enough blueberry pie for everyone. There is always enough room on the bench for one more. Shove over and keep passing the plates down.
I believe in the scarcity in the same moments my daughters do. I think I always have. I believe in the scarcity when I am hungry, thirsty, in need of rest. Let’s go to the well together, shall we? I will practice watching you drink as I am sure the cup won’t run out. Then, we will go sit before our saviour, maybe curl up on a mat. Rumor has it, it is nap time and there is room for everyone.