This was my greatest secret weapon. My red stool. My mom and dad tell the tale of me using it in the dark of night, a toddler wobbling on unbalanced legs, dragging it to each light switch, mounting the stool, and turning on the light. By the time they wiped the sleep from their eyes I had managed to illuminate the entire 3 bedroom ranch in that Preble County field. A little red stool. I pulled it behind me to illuminate the darkness.
There are so many days that I long for that little red stool.
Six months here in Guatemala. So many days… and some days are simply a dragging of a stool to accomplish the basic. Today was somehow one of those days… and still, it was also an incredible day. A day that FAR exceeded any expectation.
Today my accomplishments were: awaken, cook a 4 egg omelet (that broke), drive to Antigua to purchase blankets, drive to San Cristobal to pick up my wife and children, drive to the capital city for a medical appointment, find dinner, and drive home.
But… in a different view (dragging my stool to illuminate the darkness) my day looked this way: bring together a school, a mission agency, and a Guatemalan family to accomplish the goal of delivering the message of Jesus to a community, connecting people in ways to fund a mission of pulling hopeless children into God's amazing idea of adoption… through internet coffee sales executed on a cell phone in transit, assuring my children that our love still holds them in this all out abandonment of mission and God's calling, and an amazing evening of simply being family with my mom and dad… watching them love our children.
I was struck tonight by my mother's efforts to comfort our youngest daughter, Sterling. Earlier in the day, while in a traffic jam in the capital, trying to get Caleb to his orthodontist appointment, I weaved defensively in and out of traffic, glancing in the mirror to see my mother shielding Sterling from the sunlight with a jacket belt in the beam. I commented at the moment… "the windows are tinted, she is fine!", and yet my mother's arms still held back the sun.
Later in the day… as Sterling's head bobbed from side to side as my turnings of the wheel shifted gravity within the vehicle from left to right… I saw my mother's hands comforting Sterling's head and cushioning it with a soft jacket.
At first I thought… this is meaningless, let the girl sleep. She doesn't need a pillow…
…and then I realized that this was my mother's desire to comfort her grand-daughter. The grand-daughter that she had been unable to hold for the last six months. Sterling… my daughter, mom… my mother. The two of them had been separated by 1700 miles these last 6 months… and now in this Christmas season, my mother was able to reach out and extend comfort and love to my daughter.
My heart melted. Yes. Yes… this is what so much of our life is about. This is what our calling is about. This is why we are here. This is the natural longing of our souls.
We long to provide love and comfort. It is natural for a grandma to want to ease the travels and sleepings of her grandchild… and it is natural for children of God to feel the need to provide comfort to the suffering.
This is why we are here.
Clarity shattered the obsessed nature of my mind that was concerned about negotiating the complex patterns of traffic and shouted to me at unbearable decibels… LISTEN CHAD… the message of God is here, at hand.
Carry your little red stool to the spot on the wall and turn up the light switch. Flood the room with my light. It starts HERE. It begins with your family. Love each other. Celebrate these moments. Pull them so tightly to your chest that your eyes squinch shut and your heart oozes out LOVE.
This is that moment… I flip on the light from my little red wood and straw chair… and I glimpse the reality that my God is the light that illuminates everything.