July 4, 2008

It’s All Good / Patti Lamb

A productive day on God’s terms, not mine

Patti LambI was determined to have a productive day. After weeding and watering the flowerbed, I dressed and fed the kids. There would be a brief appointment in the morning, then several hours of errands.

The diaper bag was loaded. The coupons were clipped and sorted. I got the kids ready in record time. That morning, things were just going my way.

Or so it seemed—until it was actually time to leave. I had to reprimand my son to put the watering can down and get with the program.

“It’s time to go,” I gruffly told him. I reached into my pocket to grab the keys. They were gone. I had probably left them inside. I instructed him to wait patiently as I looked inside for the keys. (He was happy to have more time with the watering can.) The keys were nowhere to be found in the house.

I stormed outside to check the car for the keys. In the meantime, my son asked me to look at the garden. “There are pretty flowers. Look and see.”

“C’mon. We’ve got to find Mommy’s keys,” I commanded. “There’s no time to play. Our appointment is at 10 o’clock, and we cannot be late.”

I rummaged frantically through my purse. Nothing. I retraced my steps, one of which my son was directly blocking. Not so nicely, I urged him to step aside as I continued my search.

“Stop, Mommy. Come see the flowers.” He was insistent.

At that point, I looked at my watch and realized I was out of time. We weren’t going to make our appointment.

Meanwhile, my son continued to tend to the flower garden, oblivious to my concerns and schedule.

“I spy with my little eye something that is red,” he proudly announced, referring to the flowers.

I gave up. Frustrated, I sat down beside him on the sidewalk.

That’s when I saw them—right beside his left foot. There laid the keys. They must have fallen out of my pocket when I watered the geraniums that morning. If only I had stopped to look at the flowers my son was so adamantly trying to point out, I would have saved a lot of time and worry.

I started to wonder how often God is trying to show me something, but I fail to see it. I get so consumed with my own agenda.

Sometimes I hurry through the hours checking things off my to-do list, and neglect the present day and its company.

God’s beautiful creations are all around me, especially in the heart of summer, but sometimes they become like wallpaper and blend into the background. I don’t even see them anymore.

My friend from Illinois will be visiting this weekend. I don’t get to spend much time with her, and I commented to her that I would “savor our time together.”

I need to do a better job of that with my own family and friends whom I get to see every day. I cannot assume the luxury of having them close will last forever.

So I ditched our schedule for the day. My son and I played hopscotch and tag, and we drew with sidewalk chalk on the driveway. None of my errands got done, but I still considered it a highly productive day.

I think God did, too.

(Patti Lamb, a member of St. Susanna Parish in Plainfield, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.)

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