A Clamorous Life!

Volume 5, Number 17

The clanging crashing sound was deafening. It pierced through our eardrums and settled itself deep into my bone marrow. I stood there in shock for about a half minute, and then realized, "Here I go again. This is who I am—a calamity waiting to happen!" Follow me around for a few weeks and you’ll get an even better view of the how the comedy of errors seems to accompany me wherever I go!

I was visiting the beautiful and tranquil beach town of Pawleys Island, South Carolina. We stopped in one of those tacky tourist shops where one could buy anything and everything with Pawleys Island on it. Standing in line waiting to buy ice cream, I noticed a set up of innovative umbrella stands. This caught my attention. You attach your beach umbrella into corkscrew-like apparatuses that keep the umbrella secured and immovable in the sand. Wow, how clever! When I grabbed one, just to check it out, all of the remaining umbrella stands came crashing to the floor in fluid motion. I tried to stop them, but they came rushing off the rack as if coming off a conveyor belt. The sound was thunderous. The whole store, including Elvis singing over the piped-in stereo, came to a complete halt! Finally, as I crouched—trying to grab each one of the umbrella stands to prevent them from falling—I just gave up. The aftermath of silence and stillness was even more deafening! Friends who were with me scattered in opposite directions of the store, pretending they didn’t know me. Finally, my friend Jerry saw a man sitting on a bench nearby who had witnessed the whole fiasco. He told him as he walked by, “You wouldn’t believe it if I told you what she does for a living. She’s a neurosurgeon.”

Weeks later, I can still hear that clanging metal/plastic hitting the cement floor! Sometimes, when I think about it, I just laugh out loud, because it was purely one of those slapstick unplanned Jerry Lewis-like moments! I felt like a kid again!

Other sounds, too, make me reminisce with a smile. Here are a few encouraging words for young mothers everywhere: take note of the sounds; let them resonate in your head and heart, because soon the bearers of the obnoxious noise will grow up!

When my son David was a toddler, we would all come running whenever we heard a loud crash followed by him saying, “Uh-oh”. This was a good policy that we stuck to:

1. Keeping one cabinet in the kitchen just for play dishes, toys and things that our Annie could play with while I was busily making meals was a hit. She always knew this was her space to be loud, have fun and pretend.
2. I would suggest never making a big deal out of spilled drinks or accidentally dropped plates with your kids, especially in public. Their embarrassment is already enough, without a public display of scolding.
3. Be very aware that those booming ear-splitting moments of kids coming and going, slamming doors, spilt milk cartons and flying dinnerware and an infinitum of crashing sounds will soon come to a halt. One day, as the empty nest reveals its deafening silence, you’ll look back and be grateful for those moments of a full and clamorous house!
4. Record your kids’ and grandkids’ voices. Hear them sing, play, make noise and ask you poignant questions. Record yourself telling them stories too, especially the ones when you did something quite foolish, clumsy and loud!

Jesus called over a child, whom he stood in the middle of the room, and said, “I’m telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you’re not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in. Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God’s kingdom. What’s more, when you receive the childlike on my account, it’s the same as receiving me (Matthew18:2–5, The Message).

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