Monday, August 4, 2014

Available to be stalked (catchy right?)

I stalked a woman. I did. I couldn't help myself. She was pushing what looked for all the world like  a triplet stroller and we had just been told I was expecting triplets. I made my husband circle the block three times -- certainly giving her cause to worry in our south-side Chicago neighborhood. Finally, when he said I needed to get out and talk to her rather than keep circling the block, staring at her in the hopes she would hold up a sign full of wisdom and how-to-helps, I got out of the car and approached her timidly.

"I'm sorry. I am sure you get this a lot. But are they triplets?"

Dear lady, rolling her eyes because of course she got that a lot, "Yes, yes they are," as she forcefully walked in the opposite direction from me.

"Um, I'm sorry. I am not trying to stalk you (who was I kidding? She had probably watched us circling for the last 15 minutes. We WERE in fact stalking her."), but the doctors just told me yesterday that I am having triplets."

The fear was obviously apparent all over my face. Dear G stopped her stroller and smiled the biggest most welcoming smile a stalkee could ever smile and introduced herself. We stood talking for several minutes...until her own triplets became anxious to move on and my husband had grown weary of circling the block.

But G gave me her name, number, and email. She promised to stay in touch and promised to walk me through this exciting, scary, overwhelming season.

And she did. She counseled me on sleep techniques for the three; she encouraged me when I was nursing and was certain my body would never in normal blouses again; she helped me learn to navigate my trio in public when the world wanted to stop and stare at them. And once a month she forced me out of the apartment to enjoy dinner with her and two twin moms in the area.

In hindsight, I am certain that G had a million things to do the day I stalked her. She probably had places to be, babies to feed and laundry to sort. But she gave no indication of any such thing. She stood and spoke straight to my expectant heart.

Last week, my kids and I were headed in a trillion directions with four to-do lists a mile long when we learned a friend needed help. Because God pushed me, I stopped what I was doing and offered assistance. My Claire was concerned about my to-do list getting done. And I realized my response to her is a lesson I need to not just teach but model appropriately:

"Oh my girl, if we don't have enough white-space on our calendar to stop and help a friend, then we have big problems."

Even as I spoke, I flashed back to G and her willingness to stand and encourage me all those years ago. I have not always paid her graciousness forward. I far too often let a busy overwhelmed schedule dictate my ability to stop and help a friend. But today as we begin adding activities back for the upcoming school year, my prayer is that I will remember to leave white space on my calendar.

My children do not need for every single minute of their lives to be scheduled, organized and activity-fied (I made that word completely up.) and you know what, your children don't need that either.

My prayer for this season is that you and I will be willing and able to sit with, stand for, or be stalked by a friend in need during this season. My prayer is that our children will see us being deliberate in leaving time for friends, and God-ordained moments, so that they can learn to do they same with their own schedules.

May God use all our moments. May God be reflected in the white space of our calendars. And May God be glorified in the way we use our time.

Carol - The Blessings Counter