You can tell who’s around the house by what clutter is on the floor.
There’s always something.
Last week, we had soccer cleats, dirty socks, books and whatever paraphernalia it takes to play Fortnight. My oldest daughter and her family of eight were camping at our place while their home was being repaired. The fumes were nasty.
This week, our mess runs more to building blocks, rubber balls and more Mickey Mouse figures than I could identify. Our daughter Tiffany and her family of four are here–younger children, less diversity of clutter. More toys and baby wipes, more little pieces that hurt like the dickens when you step on them barefoot.
I need to show up differently depending on who’s here. With the big kids, I can joke, tease, be in my snarky mode and they dish it right back. I can be a little more directive and not hurt anyone’s feelings. (I’ve got a tendency to be a bit of a straight speaker–nobody has to question what I’m trying to say.)
With the littles, I need to be gentler, more engaged, not assume they’ll entertain themselves. Cries of “Nana, Nana” are more prevalent with the younger group.
The olders would just as soon I leave them alone.
I love having family around. They’re entertaining in ways real life can never be. Three-year-old Ryken, getting ready for bed, had to go potty so he improvised by peeing into an empty water bottle. Two-year-old Brooklyn cheers for the Dodgers baseball team no matter what sport is on. Whenever anyone scores a goal in the World Cup, she yells, “Go, Dodgers!”
The older the kids become, the better they understand irony and sarcasm. When asked if he’d eaten anything healthy before heading out to soccer camp, fifteen-year-old Ethan quipped, “Yeah. I had two cookies instead of one.” Being Nana, not Mom, all I could do was laugh.
People aren’t one-sided. I recognize my need to show up differently depending on my circumstances. There are times when my wordiness is inappropriate and unappreciated. I’m learning to be quieter. (About time!) I adjust my conversation depending on who I’m with. In the presence of adults, I try to avoid slang that I hear from my teen grands all the time. (Not always successful.) With the littles, I’m more specific and clear.
Those who know me understand who I am. Few people who know the real me. All of me. With them, I feel safe to be who I am in the moment.
Not everyone is safe.
But God is. He can’t deny who He is. He shows up the same with everyone–holy, righteous, full of grace and mercy for those who choose to ask for it.
God doesn’t adjust His character based on who comes to Him. How He shows up doesn’t depend on nationality, language or stories. Our experiences don’t reflect who God is.
Who He is should impact how we perceive our circumstances.
Life will always be a revolving door. Being fully known is an open door of safety for me.
God is that open door. Anyone who seeks Him may enter.
Can’t get any safer than that.
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