I went into Mack’s room a few days ago, saw his scrapbook on his dresser and sat down to look at it. It was full of fun summer pictures. When Mack visits my mom, they scrapbook together, such a sweet thing between the two of them. As I looked through his book, I found myself crying and feeling regret. I had nostalgia, but also regret. You see, I missed a lot of the moments in the pictures because of my expectations. Expectations have really ruined a lot of things for me. I don’t ever remember resting and taking in these scrapbook moments. I remember wishing the boys were behaving better, they weren’t so messy, so loud. I remember wishing I looked better in my swimsuit or that I was a better mom. I remember wishing I wasn’t so tired all the time, wanting the boys to stop fighting. I wanted the birthday party just right and the wet, messy kids to leave my house. Because of all these expectations, I missed it. Looking through the scrapbook I saw it. I saw the smile on Mack’s face as he went down the zip line at camp. I saw the soap bubbles all over his angry birds swim suit from the massive slip n slide covered in Dawn. I saw the watermelon seeds and stains on Ben’s face after a hot summer day at Gigi’s.
As I lay on his bed this morning in a quiet house, I did not miss the dust on his nightstand. There it was, and I had just dusted a few days ago. Frustrated, because dust shouldn’t be there after I just cleaned it, another expectation not met. Dust that will always be there, but pictures of memories that are gone. And I missed them. I was not present. I know God redeems all things, and I am a good mom, but I am sad. I have regret. Expectations can ruin things. They keep us hoping for more while missing the good in front of us, the great that surrounds us. My boys, my family, sweet memories I cannot get back. Thank goodness my sweet Mack chose to scrapbook with his Gigi.
I was reading in Matthew 9 and there was another story of expectation and a missing. While reading, I saw this ribbon of love as Jesus walked through his days, calling people to follow him, eating with them, healing them, just loving those right in front of him. He didn’t miss them. It’s so beautiful. He calls Matthew, the tax collector, out of his swindling to follow him and then they have dinner together. He calls a bleeding woman out of her hiding and heals her. He then calls her daughter when no one else would even say her name. He raises a man’s daughter from the dead. The funeral music was already playing and he just breathed life in a dead girl. He heals two blind men who chased him into his house. He didn’t ask them to leave because he needed a break, he just healed them. He didn’t miss them. And he just keeps going, spreading his love, seeing the people right in front of him. Not thinking ahead to his death, or his glory in heaven after this hard season was over. He was present and miracles were happening. He had no expectations of these people or even himself. He knew he belonged to his Father and that was enough. He just loved what was right in front of him. I don’t think he had regrets.
Maybe being present is a breeding ground for miracles. Maybe expectations cause us to miss the miracle.
Of course the Pharisees were there to judge and criticize. They had lots of expectations for him, for themselves and everyone else. And they always missed it. Expectations can ruin things. These men had the living God right in front of them and they missed it. They did not miss the dust however. Dust is really all they saw. They saw the rules to follow, the chores to be done, the expectations not being met, and they were angry. And they missed the miracle, they missed the Savior. They couldn’t see the ribbon of love he was sharing, the healing he was offering. I believe some of them may have looked back when it was all over and they had regret.
I don’t want to miss it anymore. I don’t want to miss the grass stains, the smell of dirty boys, the sand in the back of the car from our beach trip. Sam just woke up and walked in holding his Bible. He said, “Mom, do you know who is my favorite friend? It’s Jesus because he made all of the people and he came down here to be with us.” That’s it. Sam is not missing it, and he got it right. Jesus just came to be with us. That’s where the miracles happened, when Jesus was just being with people. Immanuel- God with us.
Mary just sat at his feet, while Martha was worried about the dust. I wonder if Mary knew Jesus was leaving soon, is that why she sat with him, wasted that perfume? The dust would always come back, always be there, but Jesus would not. Is that why Jesus loved so hard? He knew he was just here for a short time and he wanted to love and touch all the people he could.
What if we did that? What if we lived like we knew we only had limited time? Loved Jesus with all we had, sat at his feet, taking him in, not worrying about the dust for now. What if we loved people like that? Knowing we only had limited time with them, just being with them, noticing them, loving them with no expectations?
Just being with people is where miracles happen. I don’t want to miss Jesus. I don’t want to miss the people he has placed right in front of me that I can love, and maybe offer some healing to. I want to just be with them and just be with Jesus, just sit at his feet. I don’t want to just see the dust and be frustrated. Expectations ruin things. I want to be present and look for miracles, maybe be part of God’s miracles. Don’t you?