The tot and I called an audible this morning. Rather than hopping into the car to conquer our weekly errands blitzkrieg-style, we unfolded our aging, well-loved umbrella stroller and hit the sidewalks.
Lest this sound too picturesque, you must know a few details. Phin decided on re-wearing his Chargers jersey and oversized football socks with little grippers on the bottom (the grippers justify not wearing shoes, you see). I had neither showered nor brushed my teeth, which placed me only slightly ahead of the worn stroller in the appearances category. We were a pretty rag-tag trio on an ordinary walk. We didn’t walk to Starbucks for a coffee in cute Yoga clothes and then head to an all natural, local corner grocer. We hit up a poorly kept, semi-dirty playground and a chain grocery store on foot. It wasn’t beautiful, but it was profound.
Life at stroller speed was just the gift I needed this morning. At stroller speed, I notice flowers and trees that I drive by everyday ignoring. At stroller speed, I have time to pray for quirky neighbors as I walk by their even-quirkier rock garden art and yard gnomes. At stroller speed, I smile at people who smile back and am reminded of the great sea of humans with individual stories unfolding who live and work all around me. At stroller speed, I stop at the not-so-lovely neighborhood playground and meet lovely people I would otherwise not have known. At stroller speed, rather than plowing through the knotty problems in my life, I actually spend time letting the Lord disentangle them a bit through prayer.
Life at stroller speed has gifts to offer.
Gifts like a tender conversation in the entirely-too-long Post Office line in which a middle-aged women shared her sorrows and advice with me. “Hairspray these days. They go by so quickly; life doesn’t always do what we want it to.” A strange but welcomed word for a mother who tends to focus on the product and miss the joy of the process. Hairspray the morning, I shall, my stranger friend.
Gifts like experiencing tender exchanges between a beautiful abuela and the tow-headed, pig-tailed little toddler she nannies. Phin and I shared swings, giggles and Spanglish conversations with them that ended with adios’ all around. Sometimes I forget that despite its broken sidewalks and the trash that litters our streets, our neighborhood is a lovely place to raise our children. Life at stroller speed reminded me to love the place where we live, a place of diversity, a place that is not even trying to perfect, but is perfectly real.
In a society and with a soul that tends to rush through the means to get to the ends, a morning at stroller speed reminded me that I serve a God who is not rushed. I serve a God who lets time tick rhythmically and steadily, as He folds into each moment the trials, treasures and tenderness His children need. I serve a God, who rather than dumping His salvation or revelation in one great load, chose to progressively unveil His fullness to His creatures. I serve a God who sent His son who was outside of time into time to live an ordinary life in an extraordinary way. I serve a God who progressively, slowly sanctifies me, while enjoying every second of the work.
Life at stroller speed opened up gifts for me this morning; those gifts led me back to the Great Giver of gifts. This Monday morning, I am thankful for the perfect gift of a perfectly ordinary morning.
Every good thing given, every perfect gift comes down from above, from the Father of Lights with whom there is variation or shifting shadow.James 1:17.