I need a do over. I woke up this morning, determined to write. Neglecting the much needed cleaning that had to be done before the flurry of daily activities began, I found a piece I had worked on before but wasn’t happy with. It had been on my heart, so I tweaked it and found it good. And hit publish. Then I sent it out on Twitter. And in that moment I knew, it was crap.
But it didn’t matter because my house was still trashed and now I had to leave and wouldn’t be back until dinner. Adam has class so it’s feed, bathe the girls, and clean the house by myself before a dozen moms and their children come at 9:29 am for small group in the morning. But I ‘m paralyzed, feeling like crap, because I wrote like crap. And here I am using the word crap, over and over. Crap.
I check my Twitter over and over, running my phone battery down hoping someone will say they saw it and they liked it. No such luck. Instead, I see words that are probably innocent, but make me feel like what I’ve been doing for months wasn’t enough.
I want to leave this computer and walk into the dining room to see a friend sitting there with two cups of coffee and a piece of German Chocolate cake. I want to talk to her and tell her that today just sucked. And I feel like a complete failure. And I just want to be able to share my heart with people. And she’d smile, refill my cup of coffee, and ask me to share my heart with her. She’d ask me what I would have said this morning if I had a do over.
And I’d tell her.
I’d tell her stories of our two trips to Egypt. I’d tell her of the orphans we played with (little boys love arm wrestling). I’d tell her about the dirt roads, the mangy cats, and the taxi cabs that turned my Catholic as I’d said dozens of Hail Mary’s riding in them. I’d tell her about losing our cell phone in one of those death machines and how the taxi driver found us to return it and became our friend and tour guide the rest of the trip.
I’d tell her about Arabic classes, about the flat we stayed in. I’d tell her about hearing the Call to Prayer echo in my ears. I’d tell her about how it felt to be a woman with blonde hair, being stared at even when I pulled it back and kept myself covered. I’d tell her about going to church only to be distracted as armed police man circled it the entire time.
I’d tell her about walking along the sea and praying for the girl with the flower. I’d tell her about how awkward it was to give a “sermon” to those teachers who didn’t speak English. I’d tell her that Nescafe and Barley drink taste delicious half a world away. I’d tell her about the food, and how it felt like home.
I'd tell her of train rides, of monastaries, and of mosques. I'd tell her what it is like to be in a mosque during prayer as a woman.
Oh, and those Sudanese refugee children. I would stick them all in my suitcase and take them home with me if I could have. I go back to that afternoon coloring with them so often, wishing it would last a lifetime.
And then I’d tell her how they asked us to stay. But I had just a week earlier accepted a job at my church, and I couldn’t let them down. But we planned on coming back. And we made posters, and postcards, and wrote letters, and started raising money….but it was too late. It didn’t work. I’d tell her that I wonder if I missed it, and that if given the chance I’d go back to that moment and I’d stay.
I would cry hot tears in my coffee and my friend, she’d hug me and tell me that what I’m doing is important. That opening my house to mommas and their kids once a week is Kingdom work too. And that teaching those preschoolers on Sunday is changing lives in ways I’ll never know. And what about my kids and my husband. That’s holy work right there. I’ll smile, knowing she’s right, but knowing I’m right too. That somehow I missed that big God moment. And I feel like I’m paying for it.
Some days I really want a do over.
And so I leave the computer, and go to the dining room, and there isn’t a friend sitting there, just the dishes from dinner. And so I clean, and I do the work I’m given, reminding myself it is good and it is holy. And I get ready to open my home, my life, to the mommas who’ll be here in the morning. And I try not to think about do overs.