Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Tank

"So do you think I should get it?" I tilt my head, squinch my lips. Jane and Lulie sea-saw a red basket with black wheels back and forth, skitter between racks of clothing. Jack grabs at the basket's black handle. Rosie squeals from Craig's back.

"Craig? Craig, do you think I should get this?" I wave a steal colored tank his direction and frown at Janie mid-whirl with the red basket. "I want it but," I grimace, "it's kind of expensive." Jane yanks past Lulie. "Craig?"

"Yeah?" He glances my direction.

"Do you think I should get this?" I give the tank a shake.

Eyebrows raised, face a mock-grin, "You decide."

Sigh. Furrowed brow, "I like it," Lulie wails for the basket, "oh, but it does seem like a lot to pay. Craig?" I beg, "What should I do?"

The children squirrel that basket like a merry-go-round between out stretched hands and squeals and wild swipes to capture the handle. "Decide now," Craig annunciates the words with his lips and aims a stern eye at Jane who lets Big Red sail past and lodge under a row of dresses. Jack and Lu lunge for it.


"Whatever you want, dear." He blinks.

I sigh, rub steal gray tank between thumb and forefinger. Janie's pigtail swings past my elbow. For a moment I see it, the trade: the steal gray tank or the sway of hand in hand, fingers laced and feet in step as we rollick from rack to isle, parking lot to car. Suddenly, the tank is just a tank and the day swells, larger than the moment, it pulses: now, now, it happens now, here in thrift store isle, here between husband and children and red wheeled basket, here.

And so the tank falls away, sloughed off like old skin. And I arrive in the nick of time, steps and fingers interlace. Thrift and fashion blow away, steel tank, chaff, just chaff in the wind.


996. The smell of fresh sheets.

997. Music, a whole collection of new songs from my brother.

998. Baby Rose graduated to big-girl bunk bed.

999. Swim lessons from Auntie Libby.

1000. Sparring with son over the truth of his story only to find the far-fetched tale TRUE. His stout heart.

1001. BBQ with Pete and Rose.

1002. A visit to the engineering office all my brothers and dad work at, their camaraderie as we jaunt through each office.

1003. Chatting with Ceris while she tore armfuls of grass, dead sod out of her vegetable garden.

1004. Swimming with four children while Craig works late.

1005. An Itoh Peony, yellow and huge, from Craig.

1006. The Rose Show and Craig's mom flushed with excitement at all the people. The pleasure of being related to her.

1007. How Lucy pats me with her wide three-year-old hands when I whisper in her ear that she makes our family fun.

1008. How my mother navigates the world of the poor, careful to know them and empower them, not just blindly give. And her statement, "It occurred to me this morning that God, at times, could be looking at me and my prayer lists the way we look at the Kenyans holding out their lists to us."

1009. How I wonder all week if my relationship with God is just all lists. And how I start to wonder, do I even know what God's personality is like, what He is like? I feel like I'm learning to pray all over again for the first time.

1010. The garden weeded in shifts, at least partly weeded.

1011. Blueberries, fat, crisp, juicy.

1012. Sidewalk chalk. Huge scribble drawing, arrows and flowers and faces.

1013. A new book on the founding fathers of the United States, a glimpse into another world.

1014. The baby weaned.

1015. Chocolate chips, fat ones the size of pinto peans.

1016. How Janie is starting to have grown-up ideas about things like patience and perseverance.

1017. How Craig models these things ceaselessly.

1018. How our pastor preaches a little farther through the sermon on the mount each week.

1019. How Jane traced her hand today, cut it out, and wrote, I love Mom and Dad, on the palm.

1020. The steady realization these past 11 years that Craig loves sacrificially, lays down his life like Christ lays down His life for the church.

1021. How I am humbled beyond words.

holy     experience


Josh and Kelly said...

Yes. Chaff. Time is the gift. and a sweet family it seems you have. little girls growing up- amazing insights. Thanks for your list and your reminder!

Melissa said...

You did it! You counted one thousand ways He loves!

And I, for one, am so thankful you're not stopping there... :)

Keisha Valentina said...

So thankful for these reminders.
Bethany, thank you!

Goat said...

I am going to trace my hand today, all that my hand is and does and write on it I LOVE YOU GOD.

And try not to ask for anything all day.

I love how you recognized what the shirt was actually taking from you, even before you bought it. We all now have our eyes opened to that thief....

Craig and Bethany said...

And actually, I didn't even buy it, cut the thief off at the knees.

Love you, Momma.

Love you all.

Daniel and Cerissa said...

Totally! So many thiefs stealing our focus from the things in this world that truly matter.... and now, I suppose, I should get off the computer. Haha!

p.s. I still haven't seen any basil :( Here's to hoping it all starts growing soon! Thanks again for the gardening expertise... I probably wouldn't a done it without ya!

Sadee Schilling said...

What a beautiful post and a beautiful insight. And a list reaching beyond one thousand! Thank you for sharing.

Cora from Hidden Riches said...

Your list was so encouraging to me today. Thank you for that. Even the comments left before me were wonderful. I wonder if I could go a whole day and not ask for anything but rather, just write, I love you, God, on my hand???!!!! A wonderful challenge there. Thanks again for all the blessings you've passed on to me today!

emily wierenga said...

Suddenly, the tank is just a tank and the day swells, larger than the moment, it pulses....

i love these moments. these moments stolen back from the enemy. these kingdom-come eye-openers. you are lovely, dear bethany.

Clare said...

Lovely post, and beautiful photos of your little ones. God bless!

Heather said...

Hmmm, yes, the decisions in a thrift store aisle... too familiar :) Love how you wrote about it, of course!
#1007... so precious. I can just picture her.
Have a wonderful week, Bethany.

Rachelle said...

You chose your home team! Good for you! Thanks for always being inspiring.

Goat said...

PS I love that last photo. Reminds me of a painting....

Craig and Bethany said...

Totally. Down on the farm.

Maybe I should paint it...