As I’m writing this, it’s the last week of school and my mind is full. Just this morning, I’ve forgotten my hair stylist’s name when I was trying to reschedule an appointment, and I sent Lilly’s dance teacher an email three times because I kept forgetting to include an attachment.
The less-structured and (hopefully) lazier days of summer are on the way, and I couldn’t be happier about that. But before we turn the calendar page on another season, here are a few things I learned this spring.
♦ Ever since we moved into our home six years ago, our noisy dishwasher kept people from falling asleep at night, interfered with conversations in the kitchen, and basically sounded like a freight train was rumbling through the house whenever it was running.
I wouldn’t normally recommend replacing an appliance simply because it’s too loud, but the racks were starting to fall apart too, so that made the decision to get a new one a little easier.
We like to measure things around here, including sound levels. And here’s what we’ve discovered, thanks to our recent appliance purchase. When it comes to dishwashers, there’s a huge difference between 73 decibels and 46 decibels.
The new dishwasher is so quiet we barely notice it’s running at all. Now all we have to do is figure out how keep the “cycle completion signal” from going off in the middle of the night.
♦ Most of these seasonal lessons don’t involve actually learning how to do something. If you’ve been following along with me lately, however, you’ll know that I really did acquire a new skill this spring—I taught myself how to bake homemade bread.
And after spending my entire adult life avoiding recipes that contain yeast, I can’t believe how delightfully therapeutic it is to dig my hands into a soft, warm mound of dough.
♦ I am capable of sitting in a waiting room by myself while my husband has a scary sounding procedure done on his heart. It might sound silly, but before Randy’s heart ablation in late April, I struggled with whether I should ask someone to join me as I waited that morning. The hospital’s long hallways are too hard for my parents to manage, but I’m sure I could have found a friend who would have been happy to accompany me.
I woke up one night with this thought pressing on my mind: I don’t know if I want to brave it alone. Almost immediately, the still, small Voice whispered: “I will be with you.”
Peace followed, and my quandary was solved.
As it turned out, I wasn’t alone in the waiting room after all. God was with me, and His presence calmed my anxious heart. Friends and loved ones were a quick text away. And, as you may recall from my recap of that day, a couple of total strangers kept me distracted and (at times) secretly amused for a good part of the morning.
♦ On the last day of winter—an 80-degree Sunday in March—I went running with Lilly and Molly on the bike trail near our house. I do most of my exercise on the treadmill, so running outside is a bit of a challenge. I set a goal for how much I wanted to run, and I was so excited about actually meeting that goal that I failed to notice the uneven ground where the paved trail meets the sidewalk that goes back to our street.
My foot hit the edge of the sidewalk and I went flying, sliding on my knees on the rough concrete until I came to a complete stop. I didn’t break any bones or tear any ligaments, but I did learn this: Skinned knees heal much more slowly at 46 than at 10. And I still have the scars to prove it.
♦ When you pray and ask God to show you what you need to see, He does. I’ve found this to be true in my role as a mom over the years, and lately, I’m finding it also applies to the help I’m giving my parents.
When thoughts pop into my head—check this, ask about that, probe a little deeper there—I’m learning to follow up on them. Sometimes, it’s nothing. Other times, though, what I discover enables me to nip something in the bud, assist more effectively, provide comfort or encouragement, or alert others to needs they can meet.
♦ Last summer, the serpentine belt on our van broke soon after we returned home from a lengthy road trip. We got it fixed, but around this time, we also started noticing a persistent rattle. I just chalked it up to wear and tear—we had driven a long way on some pretty mountainous roadways, so I figured our van was finally starting to show its age.
When it comes to cars, I don’t embarrass easily. Bird poop on windows, stained floor mats and slightly dinged-up back bumpers don’t bother me at all. But over time, the rattle started getting on everyone’s nerves, including mine. It was so bad that Molly once correctly identified our van coming down the street before she even saw it.
We had resigned ourselves to the fact that we’d probably have to spend a lot of money on some difficult engine issue, but we hadn’t scheduled a service appointment yet. Then one Saturday, Randy decided to give the problem one last-ditch troubleshooting effort.
“I’m just going to look in there and see if there’s bolt rattling around,” he told me.
He didn’t find any bolts, but he did find a socket that must have been left there when the belt was replaced last August. He removed it, and—much to everyone’s relief—the rattle disappeared.
The moral of the story is this: Sometimes, to solve a persistent and annoying problem, you just have to find and remove the leftover socket that you didn’t even know was there.
That’s my list. What have you learned this spring?When you pray and ask God to show you what you need to see, He does. Click To Tweet