Ask me what’s up and I’ll say, “nothin’ much” or something like that, but what you really should know is that I have a penny in my freezer.
I have very slowly gotten on this parenting bus. There was a lot of confusion about why it didn’t come when I dutifully waited at the bus stop. I even started worrying that I wasn’t standing in the correct spot. Then there was the fumbling around in pockets because, geez, I didn’t know that I needed correct change. On board I panicked and felt like the driver should have given me some sort of orientation before tearing out of there at speeds that should be reserved for seasoned bus riders. At some point I figured out by watching the other passengers that I had to settle down and take a seat, for the love of all things Homeland Security.
Which brings me to the day many months ago that I stumbled through my kitchen, sidestepping items that had no business in such a culinary establishment, and zombie dragging a wailing child barnacled to my leg. I reached for the freezer door, all my hopes and dreams wrapped up in cellophaned frozen waffles, and there it was-a not so shiny penny parked right in front of the icetrays. Clouds descended over my eyes and a storm of confusion swirled (probably) with mysterious girl hormones, and I was undone.
I cried over that penny and there was no explaining it. I spent an unacceptable amount of time on the question: how did it get there? It condemned me from its chilly shelf: this is your life now. Everything is out of place and you have no control over anything. You are failing at most things. You can’t even keep your freezer free of currency.
These thoughts take over some days. They hang like frost on my heart and I try to discover if I believe them or not. It would be easy to explain them away as just circumstantial. This is that hard working time of life that requires a complete body, mind, and soul donation (100% of your donation goes to feeding needy children). But in truth I know that this is a place I return to often. From that first day home with a crying baby boy I have alternately fallen into and gotten back out of dim, cold ravines of fear. Becoming Mother has extended my emotional range on both sides. It has brought me into light so clear and wide that shadows remain properly underfoot. But sometimes clouds come and it gets darker, shadow takes the place of clarity and truth. I know what I’m missing then. I know what lightness feels like and this isn’t it.
I consider it grace that I’ve known that truth illuminating light-that clear beam of assurance that what I am doing with waffles and zombie walks is roots-down-deep meaningful. Sometimes a well lit memory is just what I need to find my way out of the shadows. The penny is that memory, it is that grace. Those worn out days are adding up wealth that no freezer can hold. Even one cent of grace can remind me that lightness is the burden intended for me and total control is a shadow at best. Grace is a burden lightener, a strong arm for the weary. She effortlessly shoulders stress, failure, and insecurity so mothers can lift those things that are actually weighty. And this is where I continually and imperfectly give myself over to that light and vow to live there always, seeing what is really there, away from distortion of shadow.
For a while I meant to get rid of that penny, feeling it a cruel reminder that things are not always the way I want them to be. I looked at it with hard feelings for many weeks, but I never touched it. Then one day I opened the freezer and it wasn’t there. My eyes were accustomed to scanning the penny each time I opened the door. With a frenetic search that far exceeded the situation, I jerked at the ice trays and discovered it still there, safely tucked away from the likes of me. I acquitted my husband from serving time for the crime. I realize he doesn’t know much about sacred freezer pennies.
i love this.
My mind was wholly on your writing so seriously about the day to day struggles and the Grace that God gives you. I’m eating up every word and trying to figure out how you can write the way you do to make someone like me, who is a much more shallow person, understand the depth of your thinking. Enjoying it – but it is serious reading until you get to the part about “the husband”. I had a good belly laugh then. Thanks for the insights!