Friday, November 9, 2012

A picture that means more than all my words

Sometimes I see more clearly through a picture than in the reality that stands before me.  I took this photo to document a morning that had gone all wrong.  I was running late (yet again), and Maryn kept interrupting my mad dash to get ready, demanding that I put her hair in two ponytails.  I tried to get her to drop it to no avail; unfortunately, I had put her off the previous morning with the promise that I would do ponytails the following day.  I had already discovered after she got dressed that she had grown overnight and her shirt was about two inches too short whenever she dared to move, showing her (adorable, yet not usually up for public view) belly.  Her pants were not the sparkly princess ones she wanted (to her dismay and my relief), but they were also apt to show much of her rear end if she decided to do anything crazy like, say, walk or (heaven forbid) bend over.  But we were LATE and they would just have to do.  But the ponytail thing...sigh.  I am not a hairdresser.  And her hair is unruly like mine.  And she had picked out mismatching elastic bands.  Did I mention I was running late?

But there is no one more persistent than this saucy 4-year-old, so I paused to do her hair, and then quickly gave up as it just looked ridiculous.  I took it back down.  She continued to demand and beg and whine, and against my better judgment, I did the two ponytails to the best of my ability (and now you'll understand why my hair looks exactly the same every day).  I started to try to talk her out of it, but I saw the joy in her eyes and her smile and I stopped myself.  I took a picture, intending to send it to John for a laugh, but when I looked at it, I didn't see the raggedy picture I imagined, but a beautiful and happy girl with so much sparkle.  She was completely content with how she looked and who she was.  She wasn't concerned about how others would view her, but was excited to look just the way she had planned (well, minus the princess pants).  She was full of pride, and instantly I was, too.

The biggest life lessons for me have come in my two small, yet wise ones that have turned my expectations upside down.  Previously, one of the greatest frustrations in my journey has been being confronted with just how little I have control over.  And yet, each day, these beautiful children teach me the gift of surrender, of letting go.  There is so much to be gained by not getting my way, and by opening myself to learning to live in their rhythm.  The more I follow them, the closer I get to that "childlike faith" that draws me further in to the kingdom of God.

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