It’s not a common practice…me running into the street (Northwest Highway, to be exact). I tend toward predictable and safe. Taking risks? Not so much.
So when Quade yelled with excitement and pointed out his window toward an object on the ground he wanted, I considered saying, “no” and “I can’t get out of the car and get that”…but instead I chose “yes” and “brave” (secretly knowing the serious mommy points I would earn).
Maybe I’m making this sound more cavalier than it was. I didn’t jump out of a moving car into oncoming traffic or anything. We were at a stop light and the treasured item sat only a few feet away. Checking to make sure no cars were coming down the shoulder, I hopped out of the car and grabbed this:
You see, for the past week any time one of our clan spotted a Volkswagen, you heard the shout: “Fahrvergnügen”. (German for “driving enjoyment”… remember the VW commercials from back in the 90s?).
Finding VWs has become
an obsession a healthy competition. It’s kinda fun to have a “thing” we share as a family…like a secret Fahrvergnugen society.
You know what’s amazing is how many VWs we see now that we are looking for them. I know there hasn’t been a rash purchasing of Volkswagens in the past week. But no joke in a ten minute drive we’ll count like 15!
The counting and searching makes the car rides more enjoyable. There’s something to focus our attention (instead of begging for a different song to be played or whining for a toy someone else has).
The other day I thought about our little game and how it relates to my hard days at home. Those days when the baby unloads every cabinet in the kitchen and the boys can’t seem to remember to sit down at the table to eat. On those days I can’t wait for them to all grow up. Hoping the next stage of development will be better than the one I’m in.
I’m just hoping and waiting in the midst of my assumed “suffering” (a comparable ‘breeze’ to 99.5% of the world, mind you…but I digress). In Psalm 130 we read,
“I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the LORD more than watchman for the morning, more than watchman for the morning.”
So what more can I do than “wait” and “hope” during my long days with little ones?
The psalmist suggests I act like a watchman. A watchman is diligent, learns, studies people. A watchman is also confident that someone else owns the building he is watching.
“Waiting does not mean doing nothing…It means going about our assigned tasks, confident that God will provide the meaning and the conclusions. It is the opposite of desperate and panicky manipulations, of scurrying and worrying. And hoping is not dreaming. It is not spinning an illusion of fantasy to protect us from our boredom or our pain.”–Eugene Peterson (“A Long Obedience in the Same Direction”)
Pause before you read this next line:
“(Hoping) means a confident alert expectation that God will do what he said he will do.” -Eugene Peterson
Confident. Alert. Expectation.
Like the confidence, alertness & expectation my boys have when looking for VW emblems. There is no doubt in their minds they will see one while we are driving. Because every time we drive somewhere we see several.
When I’m home with the boys I need the same confidence, alertness, & expectation, that God will do what he said he will do. There is purpose in this season. And by “wishing” it away, it’s like letting all those precious VWs go by unnoticed. I have to make a conscious choice to see.
I know we’ve heard “sieze the moment” & “they grow up so fast” & “carpe diem”…but if you hear enough older women tell you something, I’m of the mindset that maybe we should listen.
So, for me, confident-alert-expectation means stopping and being present in the middle of a moment. Taking mental pictures. Or actual ones (although sometimes taking the pictures distracts me from really enjoying the moment…you know?).
Practically speaking, Instagram has given me eyes for these moments (if you want to keep up with our day-to-day on Instagram…find me here). Even if my past motivation has been social, the habit has been formed. I see life in snapshots (and gifts I count). I pay attention more to the details and the wonder of these amazing boys…like a watchman waits for morning.
What are you going to watch for today?
(perhaps we can coin a new “carpe diem” phrase…”Fahrvergnugen”…enjoy the ride)