I was talking to Jesus one night before bed and told him that his will for my life appears fairly willy-nilly. What are we really doing here, God? This? That? Does it even matter? It’s as if he thinks I can read the signs he sends. I can’t even read a map much less fold one, so why he thinks I can discern his will is a mystery to me. Still, I come back to that longing to know. It’s like a kid the night before their birthday trying to figure out what their gifts will be. It’s a sleepless mix of exhilaration and anticipation and longing for the relief of just knowing. What a gift the knowing would be.
The next morning, my son had an appointment to have his high school senior pictures taken. I had reminded him the night before that mama doesn’t iron and he needed to have his clothes ready. When I saw him half-dressed in a half-ironed shirt, I was wholly annoyed. He explained that he had ironed his shirt and the wrinkles weren’t coming out. He said he was going to wear it a bit and that would make the wrinkles come out. Lord Jesus, I am supposed to send this child to college in a year? I told him to give me the shirt and I would iron it.
It’s not that I am unwilling to iron, it’s just that most things that have to do with domesticity fail me. The day before I texted a friend to ask how long to boil corn (10 minutes). It’s frustrating to do things that we aren’t good at. When I was a little girl, all I wanted to be when I grew up was a stay-at-home mom. I know in today’s world that is terribly lame but that was my wish, my will. While I’ve been able to do that and mostly love it, I can’t say I am particularly good at it. So, there I was ironing the already-ironed shirt wondering why the heat and the pressing and the willing weren’t working. Since we were running short on time, I called a friend for advice. She reminded me she was in a different time zone and still asleep. I explained my domestic emergency and necessary disregard for her slumber. She suggested that I spray the shirt with water. It turns out the spray bottle under my sink is a mix of soap and water so when I sprayed the shirt it bubbled up like a wound doused in peroxide. I just can’t imagine things like this happening to June Cleaver.
In the end, I was able to get his shirt ironed to an acceptable level of mediocrity, but it didn’t matter because right before we left he changed shirts anyway. The experience made me think about my prayer the night before, the urgency we sometimes feel to have the answers, the frustration of knowing there are stubborn wrinkles even when we get exactly what we hoped for, and the peace of accepting that God’s will is like those gifts I longed to open as a child – still a mystery.
What about you? Do you feel like you are still discerning God’s will for your life? Did you ever get what you want and wonder how it can still be so messy? Did you know it takes 10 minutes to boil corn?! (Also, I hear if you add milk, it sweetens it. Look at me, doling out cooking tips!)
Want to read more: Mercy at the Bus Stop