Slow Down…Today’s lessons from the storks.

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My two year old delight is walking around with pretzels in a Boleslawiec pottery bowl.  She is in yesterday’s dress, a dirty face, grubby fingers, and static hair.

She has huge eyes and is divine.

Her brother is flying Batman around the house and has told me on a number of occasions today that he is NOT hungry—he just needs chocolate chips, ice cream, and chips.

Apparently, those are NOT food items 😉

I offered to put my kids in the shower.  Because, when you are a mom, you know your shower is not your shower.  It is sprinkled with bath crayons, rubber toys, cups, and other assortments of water-proof items that make the perfect island escape.

Or Alcatraz.

Depends who is looking at it.

Island escape:  Kids.

Alcatraz:  Moms.

But, you see, the thing is today, outside my kitchen window, I saw a stork soaring over my home.  In circles.  It was so peaceful.  And lovely.  I watched it for about 5 minutes.

I was awestruck at the pace it soared, at the heights it went.  At its perseverance to go around and around and around.

It was lovely and serene.  It was divine.  And it reminded me that I have a job to do that does not require rush.

It requires:

Strength

Perseverance

Patience

Time

And finally…Devotion

We have two extremely large stork nests just hundreds of yards from our home.  I get to watch the divine birth of new stork babies summer in and summer out.  And, yet, I still have so much to learn from them.

One:  Storks are devoted to their mates.  They are willing to travel the world to find the other and build a family together.

Two:  Storks build their homes together.  Piece by piece.  They don’t get everything they want overnight.  It takes hard work and time.  They gather and hunt and place and piece together their home === stick by stick.  This takes time.

Three:  Storks are patient.  The gentle circling to climb higher and higher was peaceful and encouraging in the same breath.  Oftentimes, we want to summit in a sprint.  To truly summit a mountain, however, takes patience.  My husband climbed Mt. Elbrus on the Russian/Georgian border.  It took extreme patience and step-by-step determination to reach the top.  But they made it.  In good shape.   One of the highest peaks in the world.  They did it!  But, had they rushed, their bodies would have given out and they would have gotten sick or worse.

Patience…that’s what I saw this morning when watching my neighboring stork.

Four:  Storks may travel up to 20,000km to go from home to home.  Which means they persevere.  Through it all.  To get where they need to go.  Enough said.

Five:  Lastly, I have seen a stork up close.  It is large and majestic.  It walks without fear and flies unafraid of the neighboring hawk in the sky.  It knows it is brave.  It knows it is strong.  And it knows that it has one job to do:  raise its family right.

Today’s soaring stork reminded me that I don’t need to rush my children into perfection.  That I need to guide them into little people who will, one day, leave the nest when they are ready.  In the meantime, I should enjoy the task at hand.

Now, if you don’t mind…My Littles are running in circles, holding hands, and dancing in the kitchen.  And I was just invited to join them!

I think I shall…

They can definitely HAVE THIS DANCE!

 

Totally judgmental…Completely humbled.

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Our neighbor’s home is scary.  There are Danger No Trespassing signs all over the property.  There is a sign that says Beware of Dog.  Another that says I Will Shoot Intruders.

His windows are boarded up and only a tiny peek hole exists in his door.

My husband and daughter brought him a Christmas card this past Christmas.  But he didn’t answer the door—let’s just say, Richard was relieved.  He was afraid of what was on the other side.

But today, nearly a year later, at the bus stop, waiting for my daughter to board the bus, the neighbor came out.

He was an old, frail man with tremors in his hands.  My husband had the privilege of meeting him.

We will call him John, and he is an aging and lonely man.  His wife left him for a drug addict years ago.  His son followed in his mom’s footsteps.  John has been left virtually alone, in his little wooden house, on a street that has gone from a horse lane to a speedy car lane.   The world, once his friend, is now full of strangers for this elderly gentleman.

Neighbors that once seemed close, now with his disability, seem far.  Life is hard on him.

And he began to open up to my husband addressing all of the “issues” that we’ve previously had with him.

“My signs,” John states, looking around at his property (about an acre+, mostly dirt), “I put those signs everywhere because people on horses come out and ride on my property.  And I am afraid one time someone’s horse is going to trip in a pothole and someone is going to get hurt.”

Logic begins to replace fear.

Then he took my husband to his garden and with great difficulty pulled some green peppers off of a plant.  “Here, let me give you some of my peppers,” he said extending the peppers towards my husband, his hands trembling violently. 

“Well, at least I shook the dirt off for you,” John says with a smile as my husband humbly accepts his offering…

John then invites my husband in for coffee, but Richard has to get going for today.

But tomorrow…hopefully we will see John again tomorrow.

And, no matter what, today John has taught the two of us a lesson in humility.

So often we see the surface and are quick to judge.  What we fail to do is take the time to go below and meet the person behind the barriers.

The people like John.