Several times this week I have set out to talk about the things I've been feeling, but the time has just never seemed quite right.
So ... now that the week ends in just a matter of minutes, I wanted to spend a little time reflecting on what it has been like to be Erin this week.
Monday was my birthday, and it was a really special day. Many of you know that my dad and I share a birthday. On the 7th of January, the only thing in the world that matters to me is getting to be in the presence of my daddy. My parents and I met in Mt. Vernon for dinner Monday night, and it was so special to be with my dad. The more we age, the more I realize how deeply I love him. I've never known anyone like my dad; he's quiet, but really funny; he's a hard worker who would give every bit of it up for a day fishing off a boat dock; he's immensely talented and (I don't think) he believes us that he is; he would give his right arm for his girls, though we'd never ask. Just to share a meal with him on our birthday brings tears to my eyes - I love him that much!
I spent the drive home reflecting on the day. E-mails, facebook comments, free gifts, cards, and well wishes had flooded over me all day long. I couldn't help but feel like those 24 hours the entire world was smiling on me. My heart sang praises to my God for making us relational beings. I was so overwhelmed by the goodness of that day.
Tuesday was Shiloh's annual vet appointment. The vet told me she's gotten too chubby. I don't have children, but I felt like he was telling me I had been a bad parent to her - like I hadn't taken care of her, and that made me very sad. I want only good things for my puppy; she's a great dog and I'd like to keep her quality of life great for as many years as I can - that begins now. I love her too much to mistreat her, even in her foodbowl!
Wednesday night we had a HUGE number of children in the preschool choir I lead (2's and 3's - how fun is that!?!?), and they did a great job. Spending this hour with these kids is one of my favorite aspects of my job. I love it, love it, love it! They work so hard to understand the things about God I'm trying to teach them, and they love to sing and to play the "insraments." If you read my post from just before Christmas, Tate is one of the kids in that choir. They're all as sweet and as thoughtful as that story conveys (at least, most of the time). And now that I've been working with these same kids every week since August, I can see how much they've grown. Parenting must be amazing!
Thursday was just Thursday. It was so rotten it isn't even worth talking about. Blech! Let's just erase that day. Except for dinner, when my adopted grandparents took me out to eat for my birthday. I love them as if they were my actual grandparents. Since my literal first day here in Paducah, they have been nothing but wonderful to me. Dinner with them redeemed the horror that was the rest of that day.
I spent much of this weekend with friends. Friday was devoted to re-working the Sunday School and Wednesday night space for our youngest children. Clean rooms, clean toys, making everything age-appropriate, etc. Christina and I worked side-by-side most of the day. After the anger I dealt with on Thursday, I needed a day to scrub things and invest myself in a project.
Today I have spent mostly alone, mostly without the television or the computer or any music. I have worked at home, I have rested, I have prepared for tomorrow. Aside from a brief stint at a basketball game, the day has largely been my own. And that has been good.
It has been a week of emotions.
Peace and gratitude.
Absolute sheer elation for Cheri's nearly-finished adoption.
Fear for the Wheelers and others still trapped in the process.
It has been a week like I haven't had in a very long time.
It has been a hard week.
I needed this week.
I needed to feel the gamut of my own feelings. In some way, I think I needed to purge that from my soul. I needed to detoxify my life in order to gain some perspective on the things that matter. 45 minutes before this week ends, I am keenly aware that most of what I've been through this week is fleeting. Only the love will last. All this stuff that consumes me matters not at all if I can't love - honestly, completely, sacrifically.
These three things remain: faith, hope, and love.
But the greatest of these is love.