Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Standing on our tallest step stool

Fresh passports of these sweet kids in this week! One step closer.

Yesterday I was standing on a step stool on the front porch with my 3 year old, Nora, on my shoulders.

Probably not the safest pregnant-lady move.

But an obscure little bird's nest is tucked behind our porch light next to the front door.  The momma bird secretly built it in the past days and we didn't notice until she was perched inside protecting her eggs. We wanted to see how many she had laid but even standing on our tallest step stool we couldn't get high enough to see inside.

I put Nora on my shoulders, stood on the stool and Nora joyfully said, "Oh my goodness!"

I asked," How many eggs do you see?"

"Two!" she replied.

Liam, my skeptical middle-schooler, wasn't taking her word for it.  He borrowed my phone, stood on the stool and raised his arms high to get a shot of the eggs down inside.  Here's what he saw:

From Nora's perspective there were two eggs, which pretty much to her means more than one.  Her perspective of numbers will one day change to a clearer understanding that 2 is actually the number between 1 and 3 but it is not the same as 5.

Even now, at 36 years old, my perspective continues to change.  I remember when Liam, my first baby, was born.  I felt like I was stuck in a newborn twilight zone and I would never again sleep three hours straight, cook a meal or make love again.  The early months seemed endless.

Then my second, third, and fourth babies were born and I realized that those early days are a blip, over so quickly and propelling you onward to toddlerhood, preschool and 1st grade before you are ready for it.

And the sleeping, cooking, and love-making pick back up pretty quickly too.

Not surprisingly, after living in Kenya for two years and returning to the United States for a year, my perspective on the US  has changed.  When our family returned 9 months ago, the one thing we were struck with was the excess of resources in the Unites States.  Before we left, we didn't give a second thought to clean water, smooth roads, or 732 cereal options.  I couldn't see those things until I lived without them.  I didn't know that I had a skewed perspective.

I didn't know what I didn't know.

But this is unsettling to me.

What else is there that I don't know that I don't know?

My temptation all year has been to climb up on my tallest step stool and look down at all the Americans who don't know what I know. Or at least what I think I know.

To look down at their excess.  To look down at their bigger remodeled homes.  To look down at their Pottery Barn porch furniture that is never used.

And when I'm up on that tall stool, rather than feeling lifted up and better, it's more of a sinking, desperate feeling.  Drowning even.  Up to my eye balls in judgement and bitterness.

Are there other things in life that draw us up on a step stool, up to our eye balls in judgement, to look down on everyone with a different perspective?

A cancer diagnosis? A miscarriage? A child with special needs? An aging parent? Suddenly, we know things we didn't know before and we see stupid people all around us that just don't know - stupid people saying and doing stupid things.

But what is that inside me? Irritation? Frustration? Anger? Ugliness? Insecurity? Sin?

"Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck.  
I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold.
I have come in to the deep waters,
the floods engulf me.
You know my folly, O God.
My guilt is not hidden from you."
Psalm 69

Can I be angry at Nora for seeing 2 eggs when there are really 5? Irritated that she doesn't know?

I CAN be angry.  But that is senseless! Waste!

What else is there that I don't know that I don't know?

I cannot know.

So I'm coming down from my tall step stool and laying myself flat on the ground.  Flat on the ground. Humbled. Flawed. B-team missionary Jesus-following mom person.  Or whatever my title is.  At least I can't see the neighbor's porch furniture from there...

"For God is greater than our hearts and he knows everything." 
1 John 3:20


  1. These are glorious moments. As I read your story of the eggs, I cannot help but recall an event in Hawaii in 1987. We were at Wednesday night service on a perfectly clear night. One of our 3 year old youngsters of the congregation was in my arms looking up at the sky with wonder. I asked her "How many stars are there?" She so sweetly replied "three." In my old wisdom I replied, "But really there are millions and millions of stars!" She smiled and said, " You don't know how many there are, but there ARE three!" Be strong!

  2. Alisa. I love your candor and frankness. Thank you for making me smile today. My prayers are over your family as you prepare for the next step.

  3. ...and your pregnant with baby :) :0!

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