When Light Shines Through The Darkness

What to say? What to say? Today was quite the day. At least in the way of a little adventure I went on with the kids this evening.

Zi and Kella
Zi and Kella

I take Monday’s off. Even after I’ve been away on break like I was this last week, with friends and family up in South Dakota. Especially when I ended up working out a bunch of camp details early in the week. I got a lot of help but still ended up taking a good day’s worth of time working those details out.

Yesterday I was wiped. It was the typical “I-just-got-back-from-vacation” and a long drive home weariness. The house needed some attention and cleaning and I was just too tired to mess with it. After church, I needed a nap and I took it. Then that evening, I had an awesome time with the students at Sunday Night ENCOUNTER, and then came home and went to bed early.

My plan, today, was to do some of that cleaning I didn’t do on Sunday. I was going to work on my bedroom — which has been an explosion of clothes for a few weeks now — but Deanna beat me to it, so I decided to focus on the main level. I had to do a big project for my district job in the morning, so I did that first. Then I cleaned up a lot of the stuff that needed attention in the kitchen and the kids came home as I was finishing up. They immediately said, “Dad, it’s your day off. Wanna play with us?!” 

I responded, “I play with you on the days I work, too”

They responded, “No you don’t!” 

Not true, and I stated the fact, but… “Yes, of course.” I will play with my children.

I must have been still feeling a bit weary and worn because we didn’t get too far before I lost my cool. It happens.

We had decided to go into Durango to find a park because I also needed to make a run to the grocery store. They were pumped and I was excited to get out and do some exploring/discovering with them — one of my favorite things to do. But we hadn’t even gotten out of Dove Ranch, checking the mail, before the two of them — Kella and Zion — were whining and arguing in the back seat (Bella stayed home to catch up on some homework). Like typical siblings, they can sure get into it sometimes, and I think Kella has been experiencing the “middle child syndrome” a little bit lately. Her patience with Zi has been wearing thin. But so has my patience in hearing my little loved ones bicker and fight.

I raised my voice and expressed how it was “NOT pleasant!” to be in the same vehicle with my two children who were treating each other so poorly. I said I didn’t want to hear anymore of it and that was that!

The drive to Durango was quiet. Until I heard Zion say to Kella, “Why are you crying?”

No response. 

Oh, Cheez Whiz! Good job, Shawn! This will be a fun trip.

Then I heard the sobs coming from the back seat. Hoo-boy. #fatherhood

As we drove into town, we passed a park. “How about that one?” No response. I look back and Zion had fallen asleep. Kella was obviously not feeling like talking to me. Great.

And then I receive a TXT from Deanna: “Something to discuss…” Which can only mean something important, I’m thinking. A few minutes later she calls with some really bummer news. But I’ll share more about that later… 

As I kept driving, I asked Google to take us to a nearby park. It took another 10 minutes, but before we got there it starting raining. Hard. 

I hear the sobs start up again. I knew that Kella was lamenting the fact that it was raining and that our park adventures might not happen. I kept driving anyway, hoping that it’d just stop.

The rain didn’t stop. It actually started raining harder. But that didn’t even matter because Google took me to a park without a playground! Oh, my Lord! Have mercy. I asked Google again, and it took me to a similar park a few miles away. Beautiful, but no playground.

That’s when I said towards the back seat, “How would you like to go eat somewhere?” I figured I had to come up with an alternate plan and, at the least, maybe get inside somewhere to wait out the rain storm. Thankfully, I heard a voice from the back say, “Yeah!” So we did.

Zi was a little crabby when we woke him up and was even more so — to the point of tears — when we told him it was raining and we couldn’t go to the park just then. Well, that was thankfully all made better when we got inside and got to sit down and just eat and enjoy each other’s company.

It’s the little things sometimes, huh?

After that, GUESS WHAT?! The light shone through all the grey clouds and darkness! It had stopped raining! I TXT’d Deanna and let her know we’d be a while longer than we had originally planned. We decided to visit Animas City Park — even though the newly constructed playground was not quite ready yet. I thought it would be fun to have them play on the xylophone instruments and explore along the river walk. And thank God, it was! Their smiles and laughter and running and skipping was immediate. Ahhhhh... THIS is what I had been hoping for! And they were getting along like best friends, too, which warmed my heart.

All that to say… I guess I could have just posted pics and said, “Great fun at the park in Durango!” And nobody would have been the wiser. But that would have been disingenuous. Much like a lot of selfies we see. Fake smiles. Set up to look casual, but very scripted. Down to the angle, lighting, backdrop, filter and quote someone has to come up with to go along with it. It makes me nauseous sometimes. Narcism at it’s cultural best.

So here’s my trying to be a little more genuine. But not too much, because I like my filters! SO SUE ME. Grin. 

I’m looking at these pics as I sit on my couch before bedtime and am smiling because I know that this little 3.5-hour trip to Durango and back will be looked upon fondly as the years go by. We had fun. We played! We discovered lots of cool new places to adventure. And when we got home, we all worked together to clean the house, too. So I got what I wanted at the end of the day, in addition to enjoying some quality time with the littles.

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If you made it this far, you’re probably wondering about the phone call? Yeah, we received some unexpected and unfortunate news today: when Deanna dropped off our rent check, we found out that our landlord/property owner is coming back to Bayfield and will be moving into the house we’re currently in at the end of our lease. The end of our lease is July 31st. 

For those of you that remember the story, this house has been a huge blessing to us. And God gave us everything we needed at the exact time. As urgent as this feels now, I am trusting that He will provide for us again. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years through my relationship with God, it’s that light shines through the darkness, even when it’s least expected. Just like the light broke through the dreary skies earlier on in our adventures.

Today was a doozy in a lot of ways, but it ended beautifully. And I’m trusting Him to keep proving Himself faithful as we move forward.

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