It's raining here today. Not scattered showers, but all day duck drowning rain. There's no chance at all that we're going to be playing outside anytime soon. Lucky for us, the kids did an awesome job cleaning the basement toy room yesterday, reaquainting themselves with some otherwise forgotten treasures, and opening up plenty of floor space to really get down and play. I was busy in the kitchen for a good part of the morning, preparing a meal to take to some friends later today. About halfway in to my cook-athon, it dawned on me how quiet the house had become. This is usually a warning sign that someone's up to no good! I snuck down the stairs to find nine kids (Lucy was hanging close to Dad) playing beautifully together on the floor. Nearly every toy was being incorporated into a giant Lego, Lincoln log, Little People, army man, farm animal village complete with castles, roadways, farm tractors, and much more! It was amazing. I'm not sure which inspired me more, their creation, or their teamwork. Ahhh. I love these moments! I hurried back upstairs to chants of "Mom, don't look! We're not done yet!!" and listened to their excited mumbles..."John, we need more blocks here!" Or "Rosie, help me put the Barbies over here!" Music to my ears.
Unfortunately those moments can't last forever, and as they hurried to make things perfect, shouting began, followed by accusations and frustration over little ones knocking things over. Before long it was all-out war, and I was forced to intervene to have them put things away, and find something new to do. Before I stopped them though, I couldn't help but find a certain similarity between what was transpiring between them, and my own reactions to things in my life. It seems that we are all given gifts, "good things" to share, that are only more perfect and good when shared with others. Just as the kids enjoyed working together, and were more creative and kind while they were sharing, we too find peace and goodness in sharing our time and talent with others. I think it's how God intended. (The whole "It is in giving, that we truly receive" thing.) But somewhere along the line, we become aware of our treasure, and place value on what it means to us, rather than how it could be helping others. Perhaps through sin, perhaps because of fear or anxiety, we reign in and hold tight to what could otherwise be a blessing if only shared. Lord, may I realize the gifts you've given me, not for my own but in service of others most in need. May I embrace the goodness that comes from doing your will, and recognize that only through You do all good things come. (Let me play nice with others, and not spoil the fun!) Amen.