Singing

I tell the boys to clear the table of the detritus of another afternoon– school papers, drawings, broken crayons, a sippy cup, a rogue fork from breakfast that never made it to the dishwasher. My hands are deep in soapy water as dinner simmers on the stove. The little one is running in her wobbly toddler way back and forth from me to them; getting in the way, throwing more things onto the table, yelling “CUP!” at me and “EAT!” at everyone.

The boys are arguing. One son moves something out of the reach of the other with a mocking smile, and the whole of the house is filled with the yelling.

I want to yell too.

I have yelled too much lately. I have felt at the mercy of moods I can’t control; frustrated and irritated and annoyed by every little thing. Unkind words have poured forth from these lips that are supposed to model my Heavenly Father. I have showed no grace to these children of mine, so precious to my heart– even as I have begged for grace from Him.

I bite my tongue. I will not yell tonight.

They are hungry and tired and ready to eat, but dinner isn’t ready yet, and this witching hour will be no easier if I add my own  frowns and impatience to its already grumpy mood.

I remember when they were little, when Bubs was three and Stinky was one and they would be fussy and cranky and irritable and I would sing. I interrupt another argument with a deep breath and a loud voice:

I’m so happy and here’s the reason why– Jesus took my burdens all away!
Now I’m singing as the days go by– Jesus took my burdens all away!

They are not convinced, and I have to stop singing to correct actions and attitudes. But I don’t stop for long.

Once my heart was heavy with a load of sin;
Jesus took the load and gave me peace within!
Now I’m singing as the days go by– Jesus took my burdens all away!

They have heard this before, many times. Squeezy looks at me and laughs and runs away. The boys roll their eyes as I continue my happiness medley.

And I’m so happy, I’m so happy!
I’m so happy happy happy happy happy happy happy
I’m so happy, I’m so happy
‘Cause Jesus is a friend of mine–

I’m in right, upright, outright, downright happy all the time;
I’m in right, upright, outright, downright happy all the time;
Since Jesus Christ came in, and cleansed my heart from sin
I’m in right, upright, outright, downright–
in right, upright, outright, downright–
in right, upright, outright, downright happy all the time!

The dishes are nearly done; the dinner is almost ready; the table is close to clear. But I’m not done yet. They’re still not convinced, and when I break into “I’ve Got the Joy” they are only halfhearted in their “where?s.” I don’t care. No one’s fighting.

The happiness medley leads into the songs about heaven they sang at Grandma’s house; and they aren’t as loathe to join me as I sing “I’ll Fly Away” and “When We All Get to Heaven,” and by the time we are bellowing “I’m going to heaven and IIIIIIIIIIII CAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN’T WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAIIIT!!” they are bringing the house down and the living room is clean and the table is set.

One more song as I bring food to the table– and they are echoing me and singing back to me and everyone is smiling now and the house is cleaner than it’s been all weekend and I wonder why I choose to get grouchy when it is within my power to change the mood within this place so quickly. And Art is home, and we are gathered around the table, heads bowed, eyes closed, hands joined, and this is a good life, a blessed life, and I remember again.

We pass meat and bread and vegetables and under my breath I am humming–

Oh, how I love Jesus!
Oh, how I love Jesus!
Oh, how I love Jesus–
Because He first loved me.

tuesdays unwrapped at cats

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13 thoughts on “Singing

  1. Awesome!! I think this is a great small thing to celebrate! I think my singing, though, might CAUSE arguments….and weeping and gnashing of teeth.

  2. Hmmm, maybe I should try singing as I clean out the garage tonight. Unfortunately, you or the grandkids won’t be there to join in.

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