03 January 2014

Finding Beauty

My eleven year-old and nine year-old boys joined a swim team this year.  We thought this was a good idea since it is so very chilling to think of taking them out for exercise every day here in northern North Dakota.

The pool is a block or so from our home but still I pick them up because walking home in freezing weather while wet is not smart.

It seems that in this small town (relatively, compared to towns in general, not towns around here, around here it is rather large).  Anyway, in this town, it seems that most activities involve required parental "volunteer" hours.

For my oldest's school, it is 40 hours of volunteering for the year or you pay extra.  For the Sea Lions swim team, it is earning $150.00 of booster bucks or you pay extra.

So last night I set out to earn $80.00 of those bucks.  By cleaning the pool.  I will tell you that this town is in the process of completing a gigantic, state-of-the-art community complex complete with an Olympic size swimming pool.  When it's ready, the pool a block from our house may be the next place the firemen a block away from it on the other side pick to practice on.

Have you ever seen a building on fire in -10 degree weather?  I haven't, but I saw a picture of one after it had been sprayed by water.  Weird.  Ice on it till the spring thaw.

What I'm trying to say is that the pool is falling apart.  Literally.  I swept up many pieces of black something that looked like building material of some sort.

Right before we started cleaning my dear, dear friend whom I miss so much sent me a picture of her view of Mt. Hood.  And told me she wished I was there.

As I swept the boys' locker room, picking up underwear and dirty band aides, the contrast held in my mind, and I felt I had the raw end of the deal.  Someone somewhere wanted me in a beautiful setting.

The evening progressed and I found myself next to a mom squeegeeing off the deck of the pool.

She has five kids.  I asked their ages....three boys out of the house, one younger boy still at home and an eight year-old daughter adopted from China at age five.

Her eyes glowed as she told me about her daughter, about how they'd had four healthy children and so decided they'd help a very sick child this time around.  She was twenty-two pounds and five years old when they brought her to the states.  To this town. Open heart surgery helped her survive and thrive the past two years.

But just before Christmas she spent thirty days in the hospital with complications from the surgery.  Her mom's face shined love as she spoke about how wonderful it was to be with family and out of the hospital for Christmas.  About how she didn't know what was next but she was so happy to have her daughter.  The doctors are talking heart transplant.

As we completed our work and I walked back out into the frozen world I realized God had given me a picture of beauty, too.

As amazing as Mount Hood is on a clear evening, sun setting behind lighting it up, it can't compare with the beauty of sacrificial love.

Addendums for gracious reader-friends:

This is of course not to say I wouldn't be extremely happy to sit beneath Mount Hood again sometime.  Preferably soon.

I realize that this post has quite a few rabbit trails that I would normally make into their own posts.  In the interest of time and desire to impart all my thoughts on you, I'm cramming them all together.  Feel free to research apartment fires in subzero temperatures for yourself, consider overseas adoption, ponder the beauty of being loved, or check out Williston's new ARC (Area Recreational Center).  

Happy New Year!


Anonymous said...

Yes, God's beauty is everywhere. Thank you for the reminder to be open to it, to HIM.

Anonymous said...

I love your rabbit trails! Dad says they weren't 'that rabbit!'
Keep blogging! We look forward to visiting you in Williston soon! Mom

Sarah Jackson said...

I like your rabbit trails, too. :) They don't feel rabbit-y at all; they feel gracious and relevant and interesting.

Thanks for your reminder that sacrificial love, in all its mundanity (is that a word?), is sparkling and winsome.