Thursday, August 18, 2011

It's the Rematch of the Century: Hope vs. Expectation

Expectations for the Day (Expectations Prohibit the Presence of Mindful Thankfulness):

The blackberry jam would jell, the tops would pop as the jars were removed from the boiling water where they would sit on the purple-splattered dishtowel to cool.

The peaches would dance suspended in their syrup, golden orbs of summer.

I would pick up the laptop from school on time while Nora looked at the stuffed birds in the basement of the science building.

I would feel at peace all day long, confident, brave and hilarious.

I would have a salad for supper.

I would decorate my office and talk to Anna about her work while hanging pictures.

Nora and I would head off to sleep by 8:00, the quiet Nebraska night filled with the soft song of crickets, the night breeze filling the house.

What Actually Happened (Hope Is That Which Refuses to Define the Outcome Leaving One Open to the Possibility of Gratitude No Matter What Happens):

The jam did not jell.  I may be looking at 3 pints of blackberry syrup.  Additionally, I grabbed one of the jars hoping to test if it had sealed, the seal popped off and purple jam exploded all over the kitchen floor, my feet, Nora's fancy dress, her hair, her arms and legs and her happiness.  This happened right before we were supposed to walk out the door for my appointment at 4.  The two of us cleaned up and abided.

The peaches did not "dance."  They turned to mush in my hands as I brought them from the boiling water and attempted to remove their skin.  I waited a day too long to tackle the lug I bought earlier this week.  I still have 5 pints of peaches though, and while they might not look that pretty, they taste like sweet gold dancing on your tongue.  I will also reevaluate purchasing discounted peaches for canning purposes.

I picked up my laptop, heard encouraging words from colleagues, and took Nora to look at the salt water fish in the science building.  We were then greeted by a gentleman who took us into the room behind the fish tank and we entered a world of wonder:  turtle and cat skeletons, live mice with a pile of pink, blind baby mice, a leaping lizard, a gecko, a red and black snake, a shrimp who does a dance with his tentacles to entice fish to pass by so he can clean them.  We were astounded, blown away, reminded of the miracle of the natural world.  Nora was...well, unable to speak.  Our generous host mentioned trips to the ocean and the rain forest and Nora and I were no longer sitting on the couch watching Diego rescue animals, we WERE Diego.  Yes, God, thank you.  We would love to go on these adventures in the future.  Thank you for asking.

I had a mushroom and swiss runza with frings and an ice tea.  I'll eat salad later.

My office looks great, and I read Anna's work and cried all through the proposal scene using a fast food napkin to blow my nose.  I'm one classy lady.  And this is one amazing story.

Nora and I got in bed and the weather radio started blowing up with all kinds of alerts.  The hail started coming down and we prayed for Grandpa's beans and our little garden and our friends without electricity.  Nora took my hand and rubbed my back.  "It will be okay, Mom.  The hail will stop soon."  And it did.

The "real" day:  messy, exciting, revealing, scary, surprisingly emotional, a day that challenged me to submit, abide, remain calm.

The other day:  Completely lacking in imagination and risk.


  1. I've been watching peach canning videos on youtube in an attempt to determine what might have gone wrong. Solution: Instead of boiling the peaches for 3 minutes to remove skin, shoot for 30-60 seconds. No wonder they were mushy. That's just peachy!

  2. Life doesn't always go how we planned it to. But doesn't it always go so much better--and my husband adds, after I read this aloud to him, "so much more right, because the One who knows what's right and wrong for us is in control."