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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

beauty on the inside

last week i traveled back east to help transition my momma home.  my momma, who underwent knee replacement surgery in november and spent the duration of the next 60ish days in skilled nursing was deemed ready to re-enter her home environment.  it was my pleasure to get to walk through this part of the journey with her.

on our first day together in her home environment, i noticed she kept looking down at my ring.  my momma, always on the more practical side of fashion, tends to notice my gravitational pull towards the trendy.

"tasha, what is that ring you are wearing?"

"it's a geode.  nothing fancy.  just a little costume piece i am liking right now."

"oh.  it's interesting."  (that's what my momma typically says to me when she is questioning how a trend-loving girl could be "her" girl.)  she went on with what she was doing but kept eyeing my right hand middle finger adornment.

"i have something you should take home with you.  go to my bedroom windowsill.  it's sitting there and bring it to me."

i obeyed and walked into the next room to retrieve the object.

i smiled as i reached behind the curtain and discovered what I knew she had sent me for in her bedroom and anticipated the story that i predicted would follow.

"mom, tell me about this."

paraphrased... "tasha, i bought that rock a while back.  it's really interesting on the outside.  but a rock- not much to look at, right?  but when you turn it around, when you look on the inside you see that it is much more interesting.  hold it up to the light.  it's prettier than you can see in this lighting."

i did as she told me to.  i held it up to her kitchen light, and when i did, the colors popped.  shades of blue emerged and a glistening of yellow and sparkles of white and a depth that was not present prior to the light being shown upon it beamed to the forefront.  beauty emerged.

"mom, this is beautiful!"

"it's a geode, tasha.  it reminds me of your ring, but it is far more spectacular ."

"mom, why do you have this?"

"it reminded me of so many important things.  it reminded me when you were little that i desired to pray for each of you girls for you to find your geode.  i knew that i was called to pray for each of you and that finding the 'right' husband was imperative in your life fulfillment.  somehow, i knew you each needed your 'geode'.  the world would call you towards the shiny man on the outside- and that would be fine.  but i also knew that, more importantly, each of my daughters would need a shiny man on the inside.  at first glance, the outside is appealing.  it is a rock, after all.  a rock is good.  and when you initially look on the inside, that is good too.  but when you add light, pure beauty emerges."

she had me captive.  i don't always listen to my momma, but this time she had my attention.

"tasha, very specifically, from the time that you were little, i prayed that you would find a geode.  i prayed that you would find the man that would be interesting on the outside, sparkly on the inside, and would illuminate your life when eclipsed by the light.  do you know what the light is?  it's jesus.  i prayed you would find a man who loved jesus, and that when you did, you would find him to be the most beautiful thing you had ever seen."

i paused and in that moment thanked God for a momma who prayed and for finding my own geode.  i am married to that man.  he is interesting and shiny and sparkly.  and i was thankful.

she asked me to put the geode in my suitcase and to take it home and follow suit.  she encouraged me to pray the same prayer for my three littles.  i told her i would.

so often, i find my prayers focused on the immediate.  i lift up my requests to a God i very much believe in in the here and now.

"help e to be kind to the person that isn't kind to her."

"help d to make the team."

"help p to obey."...

and i know those are valid prayers.  but this was a beautiful reminder that i need to pray beyond.  i need to reach into their future and train today with my actions and let God guide their future by praying into it.

the weekend went on and my mom and i shared lots of dialogue.  she had a lot of little gems that she shared with me that weekend in the midst of adjusting to her new normal.

one of my tasks that weekend was to complete the final interviews for her care team.  currently, my mom can't exactly "live on her own".  she is dependent on others for assistance with her daily needs.  to expect her to dress, bathe, bathroom, cook, clean and even mobilize on her own is out of her ability.  because of this, we needed a secure and competent team in place to assist her with these tasks.  after a series of interviews and meet/greets, we found a team.  it was comprised of four people- an am week girl, a pm week girl, an am weekend girl and a pm weekend girl- who would assist her.  by the end of the weekend, these people were secured and put into place- with one caveat- we weren't totally "sold" on one of the caregivers but a better option had not emerged.

yikes.  what to do?

as i was preparing to leave on my day of departure, my momma mentioned that i had forgotten to pack the geode to bring home to my girls.  i sat at her kitchen table and looked at the rock.  we had just been discussing the girl we weren't sure of when clarity kicked in.

"mom, what if the girl we aren't sure of for you care team is a geode?  maybe she doesn't 'present well' but is the perfect person for you?"

and my momma smiled.  she responded with what i should have anticipated.

"tasha, i prayed for this care team and i believe that you might be right.  when you ask for a geode, God tends to give it to you.  and if it doesn't happen right away, He'll provide what you need when the time is right.  she's going to be a geode."

tears sprung into my eyes, tears the i had been holding back for the better part of the past five months, and i knew she was right.

God gives us what we need, when we ask for it, in His timing.  His ways are better than ours.  we don't always understand the hows and the whys.  most often, in the midst of us shaking our head in confusion, He is carving the way for us.

i packed the rock into my suitcase and left for the airport.  as i left, i hugged my momma.  she isn't always the most emotional touchy feely kind of gal, but that day, she called me back to her.

"tasha, give me one more hug.  do you know how much i love you?"

"yes, mom, i do."

"i've prayed for you my whole life.  God has been good."

and as i sat in my uber riding off to the airport, i pondered my mother.  she is often prickly, often feisty, but filled with so much goodness.  her heart is beautiful, and with the light of God shining through, she is radiant.  and then i thought of my family.  my husband became my geode the day he met Jesus.  i loved him prior, but i knew he was MY HUSBAND the moment he took a step into "light".  and i thought of my girls.  they certainly are geodes- often ridiculously rough on the outside but ever so shiny when they let the light illuminate their goodness.  and there is SO MUCH goodness within them.  and i thought about prayer.  it is the place, the posture, where i who can control NOTHING am given the opportunity to tap into a power that i don't understand but am certain transforms.

the next morning, i showed my girls the rock and then flipped it over as i told them the story that granny had shared with me...  i hope it sticks.  i hope that they find someone interesting and and shiny and filled with LIGHT.

for the past few months, so many thoughts have stirred beneath my surface.  our world is strange right now.  but the geode speaks to me on that level as well.  i truly believe that in the light we are all beautiful, made for goodness.  it lies in our core and is simply waiting to be cracked wide open.

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