You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 116:11

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Frankly Phyllis

Cows!

Little Hazel was just at the end of being two when her twin siblings were born. That was seven months ago and she's figuring it all out, amidst moments of angst. This summer, I volunteered to watch seven grandchildren, including Hazel and the twins, so the six parentals could enjoy dinner out. They took me up on it, leaving popcorn on the counter and one of those "please let it just be over," juvenile DVD's to buy me time if I needed it. Their parting chorus as they walked out the door was "Our cells are on if you need us!"

I didn't need them! By the grace of God, all went well. The twins were asleep when their parents left, so that was a cinch. The other five were delightful. We played games after the popcorn ran out; Hi-Ho Cherrio comes through every time for little ones. Finally everyone was in bed but the last two, three and four, who went into a professional stall, way beyond another drink of water, more bedtime prayers, songs I used to sing them when they were little, and "when will mommy and daddy be home?" I somehow convinced the four-year-old to close her eyes until I came back from the three-year-old's room.

I cut three year old Hazel a little slack - after all, she'd been uprooted by twins. I pulled the old standards that always work without fail... they didn't work. She was way more awake than I was at that point. And she was way more determined to win the "stay up until I see mommy and daddy" game.

So I said, "Mommy and daddy will have a cow if you're awake when they get home, and I'll be fired!" That changed everything. "Where is the cow?" she wanted to know. I told her it was pretend and picked up a wee book about farm life with a cow picture in it. I'd say, "What is that I hear? I think it's a cow. How does the cow go?" And so on. At last we giggled ourselves to a sort of sleep, and I left her in bed with another book saying I'd peek in very soon.

All's well that ends well, so I could honestly report the kids were great and all in bed when the parents came home. But I was busted the next day when little Hazie told her mommy, "I couldn't sleep last night." Why not? "The cows kept coming in my room!" What did you do then? "I closed my eyes so the cows couldn't see me!"

Isn't that "udderly" adorable? Now I don't want to milk this for more than it's worth, but I'm the one with the column and this cream is rising to the top! There has to be a life application in here somewhere. Besides, that is, you thinking "Are you crazy? Seven grandchildren for an evening?" Hey, after raising four for 20+ years, this was a piece of cake for just a few hours!

Are there things in your life that you close your eyes to avoid seeing? What do other people see that you refuse to see? Your choices, behaviors, yeses, and nos. Are you lost about something, needing to be found? Are your "cows" imaginary some of the time? Like feeling guilty about something you don't need to carry or angry about something that happened a long time ago? I heard the best definition of anger recently. I'm paraphrasing: holding on to anger is like swallowing poison expecting it to kill someone else. Doesn't that nail it?

If you close your eyes, spiritually, you think that "cow" won't get you. Better moooove on, because it will. I've found healing by taking my "cows" to the Lord in prayer. I confess they make me angry or hold me in their grip and I want to let go of the gripe! As a result, I sleep better, without a lot of excuses to keep me awake! Frankly, you can hide behind or from whatever it is that interrupts who God wants you to be 'til the cows come home. But you don't have to!


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