Her curls stick sweatily to her neck and her bare toe traces a pattern in the dust. The toe with the Angry Bird Band-Aid on it because she was nervously picking at her toenails the night before draws swirls, patterns, and crazy "S's" which appear and just as quickly disappear under her restless foot.
Why does it hurt, Mommy? Why is the sun so hot that it burns my feet on the sidewalk and my legs on the slide? If the sun is to make the flowers grow, why does it hurt so bad?
I look at her dirt-streaked, sweaty face and say the only thing that comes to mind:
Growth hurts, my love.
We, I, am at a time of growth, and it hurts. The walls of our house groan with the strain of the growth that is pushing against them. Four growing children, one room mate, and two in-laws have this tiny house maxed out. For now, it is one in-law, since my mother-in-law is in El Salvador for the next month, but with the answered prayer that my father-in-law get a job, she will undoubtedly return to be with him here and to put even more pressure back on the cracking plaster of this old house.
But this house is an inanimate object. We ask nothing of it other than to shelter us and keep us safe from the storms. It is not expected to grow and change.
But I am.
Will I, as my mother always used to say, continue to repeat my mistakes until I learn the right way? Must I stay here, boiling under the pressure of it all until I learn?
What? What is it that I must learn?
I place my palms flat on the walls and feel the heat of the outdoor sun being transferred to the blue walls of the living room. Blue. Like the sky, like a great space, like our upside-down view of heaven.
And I know that I can not stretch these walls, these things of wood and drywall, but rather it is I who need to become smaller. Much smaller.
I need to shrink myself down to the size that will fit in God's palm.
I can say everyday that my attitude needs to be fixed. I can say that my reliance on God is what is lacking, but until I actually do something about it, then what are my words but an annoying fly buzzing in people's ears?
But growth hurts, and it is hard to pray for pain.
On my knees with downturned face and upstretched hands pleading for pain is the only place that I will find growth.
And until I am ready to do that, I can expect nothing.
But I know that as soon as I am ready to do that, then I can expect the blue walls of this little house to burst open with new space. Not that I will have more physical space, but rather that I will be turning this space that we do have over to God and trusting His infinite wisdom with the plan for us and our future.