Thursday, April 1, 2010

When Will It Be Fixed?

All the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe ... get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the Cross.

—Colossians 1:20 MSG

Life was an adventure when our kids were ages five and under. Brett was a busy pastor, and I did my best to meet my editing deadlines while keeping all three kids—an infant and two preschoolers—happy, fed, and, well . . . alive. Sometimes my biggest accomplishment was just getting through the day!

At the time, we lived south of Austin, down by the hill country. It provided for some beautiful landscapes, but when your days are an exhausting whirlwind of changing diapers, refereeing squabbles, cleaning up toys, folding endless piles of laundry, and searching for the missing lids to sippy cups, you don’t want scenery. You want your mommy.

So I was thrilled when my mom called in early March to announce that she was spending spring break with us! I looked forward to seeing her and letting her enjoy the kids. Plus, my mom has that Mary Poppins–like ability to swoop in, delight the children with stories and songs, and even make a game out of cleaning the house together. (How does she do that?)

I eagerly picked up Mom from the airport, and on our way home, I gave her a quick tour of our community. As I drove past the dance studio where the girls took lessons, my three-year-old daughter J.J. wailed from the backseat, “Oh no! We forgot to go to dance today!”

“No, darling, there’s no class today,” I reminded her. “It’s spring break.”

I continued chatting with Mom as I showed her our church, the kids’ preschool, and so on. As we were nearing the highway to head back to the house, J.J. piped up, out of the blue: “When will it be fixed?”

“What?” I looked at Mom quizzically, and she just shrugged. I declare, having preschoolers is enough to make you think you're losing your mind.

Apparently J.J. thought I was not only crazy but also hard of hearing. So she repeated her question a few decibels louder. I said, when will it be FIXED?

I still didn’t get it. “When will what be fixed, honey?”

Exasperated, she said, “Spring! When will spring be fixed? I want to go to dance class!”

Oh! Spring break.

As realization hit, I couldn’t control my laughter. And neither could my mom. Pretty soon, we were both laughing so hard we were crying. I have no idea how I managed to get on the highway through all those gales of giggles.

Somehow, between guffaws, I managed to reassure my concerned (and befuddled) three-year-old that spring wasn’t broken. It was just a time when schools took a “break” and gave kids a week off to have a little fun.

This year, J.J. is in kindergarten and will experience her first actual “spring break” as a school-age kid. And believe me, she’s looking forward to it! We’re taking the week off as a family to relax and have fun together.

Still, I’m amused by the memory of J.J.’s innocent question: When will it be fixed?

Spring isn’t broken, of course. But if we’re not careful, our hectic schedules and everyday stress can distract us from taking care of what’s important. Amid the swirl of carpools and deadlines and sports practice and office politics, we can lose track of the things we care about the most—our families, our friends, our faith.

So while spring doesn’t need to be fixed, it is a chance for us to fix the things that are broken.

This year, take a few days off work and spend them with your kids. Whether you’re playing Wii or building block towers or shopping at the mall, take time to listen to them—and to tell them how much you love them. Surprise your spouse with a date or the romantic getaway you’ve been talking about. Meet a friend for lunch, or call a long-distance friend to say hello.

Maybe you’ve been saying that one of these days, you’ll get back in church. So why not today? This spring—and the Easter season—is a great opportunity to join a community of believers and refresh your faith in the One who gave His life for you and loves you more than you can imagine.

After all, He’s the only One who can truly give you rest from your weariness and burdens. 

And He’s the only One who can truly fix what is broken. 

This article appears in the March/April issue of Haslet Style magazine.