In December of 2012 (yup, quite a long time ago) a good friend of mine whom I “met” online but also have had the great pleasure of spending time with in-person approached me about taking a line Nicene Creed and explaining what it meant to me over on her website as a part of a Year of Faith series she is hosting. Well, the line “and His kingdom shall have no end” immediately popped out at me, and I had one of those amazing, a-ha! moments where I knew exactly what those words meant and what I wanted to write about them. The real bummer is I didn’t actually sit down to write anything when I was so infused with wisdom and months later when I did sit before my computer, my mind was as full of doo-doo as Thomas’s diaper is right about now. But I managed to extract out a few words that I can only hope make sense to some people out there. (Now it’s time to extract my boy’s bottom from his wasteland of a diaper.) Theologian I am not. I’m just an ordinary wife and mom who tries to write as authentically as possible about her faith (or lack thereof). At any rate, thank you to Melanie for having me over at her beautiful blog.
Here’s an excerpt from my guest post:
Three years ago I moved to a new town after supporting my husband through a decade of medical training. It was the end of what sometimes seemed like an interminable chapter marked by tight finances and long hours for him at the hospital and long hours for me as a mom to three active, little ones in 1,400 square feet in a “transitional” neighborhood that never started to transition.
During those long, lean years, I always tried to focus on the light at the end of the tunnel and to remind myself this hard work and all the sacrifices we were making had a payoff and also that there were millions of people suffering under the weight of poverty, sickness, or both, and there would be no end to their labor or suffering. (And, no, I never referred to sticking to a strict grocery budget or sometimes feeling like I was a single parent as suffering, although I did whine about some of it too often.)
But when we moved in to our beautiful, new (new for us, but of the old and charming variety) home and my husband started his new job, I found there wasn’t nearly as much light as I’d imagined. Those first few months felt like I’d fallen back into a dark tunnel and was trapped in a mire of disappointment. Later, I’d realize it was only reality and that it was my great and quixotic expectations that left me floundering in their sobering wake. Life was indeed not perfect. My toddler still threw epic tantrums. Our basement flooded. Our pet fish died. I opened a box after our move to find one of my favorite dishes reduced to shards. I felt alone. I had no friends. My mom became sick.
I sat one night alone at the dinner table with a beautiful feast spread, growing colder by the minute. It was my husband’s birthday. I’d put the kids to bed early and planned on surprising him with a quiet dinner for two. He’d texted me and told me he’d be late. That was around 6 p.m. Two hours later I started to cry, shoulders slumped, my tears falling down upon my plate making the cold food soggy.
What was supposed to be a birthday celebration turned into a lengthy pity party.
This just wasn’t how it was supposed to be.
Shortly after my breakdown, I remember reading Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day aloud to one of my children and realized that I’d been thinking that this new phase in our life was going to be my Australia. (For those of you unfamiliar with the story, a little boy has an awful day or he thinks he does – he’s trapped in that “life’s not fair” funk, which makes you feel like a victim even when you’re not – and he keeps saying he thinks he’ll move to Australia.)
Of course, things did get easier in our new home and our new life, and I love living in our neighborhood now even though we still have bad days, and sad things happen to my family and in the world. But how many times have I been searching for my Australia or really, my Eden, a place where everything goes as I think it ought to, where the government doesn’t infringe upon its citizens’ religious freedoms, where the dignity of every person – from the unborn to the elderly – is valued, where everyone I let go ahead of me in traffic warmly offers me a wave of thanks, where there are no outbursts (from my children or from me), no dust on furniture, and no basements flooding?
His Kingdom will have no end. And neither will humans’ miserable lot in this earthly life.