Giving up self-sufficiency

On Wednesday, after the Saturday-night going away party, final visits with close friends, the rush of packing and cleaning, I was ready to just be finished and on the road. Numbness had set in and Dave and I decided we would finish packing the van and truck and head out late this night (Wednesday) rather than early the following morning.

But when we returned to the house from a last ice cream goodbye with some friends, and I walked into the kitchen and saw the chaos that still faced me–with my kids, hopped up on sugar, careening around me–I panicked. “There is no way, Lord,” I told Him, and I began singing “You are my strength” to keep myself from slipping over the edge.

Suddenly the Suttons showed up, followed by the Smiths. “Aah!” I thought, as I stood on the porch chatting with them. “We’ll be up all night.”

Then, blessing (God has this way of breaking down my self-sufficient, “I don’t want to ask for help, just be the one offering it” attitude), Brooke asked, “How ARE you?” And as she and Anne listened to my false bravado: “It’s all in the kitchen now. We’re on the homestretch,” they shot each other looks that said, “Yeah, right,” and they pushed past me and headed to the kitchen, both calling for their husbands to follow. Another friend pulled up just then and came inside as well.

Within three minutes, people were carrying already packed things outside, and Brooke and Anne were following me around with the kitchen with a big garbage bag asking, “Is this trash?” If I hesitated, the item went in the bag. “At this point, pretty much anything can be trashed,” Anne said, and Brooke laughed, nodding her head.

Within 15 minutes, the house was clear, and we were all gathered outside staring at the huge mound of stuff that needed to fit into our already pretty full van. Twenty minutes after that, it was all in, though Chai, Jake, and PJ each had only a tiny space to sit. The coat tree sat like a divider between the boys’ seats.

The Watneys arrived, took Jake and Maddie to their house to fetch their youngest son, Josiah, so he could say goodbye to Jake, and came back. We went through the house one last time, closing storm windows and turning off lights and then gathered in the kitchen to pray.

“Do you want a few minutes to say goodbye to the house?” Anne asked after Dave finished praying and I had tears streaming down my filthy cheeks. “Or do you want a rousing send-off?”

I glanced at Dave. A rousing send off seemed to be in the spirit of what God wanted for this last night of community.

Dave and the girls climbed into the truck, and the boys and I climbed in the van with Chai (she’d jumped in an hour earlier, wanting not to get left behind and had relaxed when I didn’t make her get out again.) Our friends gave us last hugs and well wishes, and we pulled out at 11:15 p.m. Who knows how much later it would have been had God not prompted Brooke and Anne to act on the question: “Do you need help?”

I want to learn to be more honest in answering it, not just in crisis but in everyday life.

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