This played out this afternoon at our house:
I was attempting to get the homework train on the track for Nickels and Hooman. Much distraction enters our house during the post-school hours, so I am reigning in silly boys who hear my voice as a mosquito they want to shoo away from their head. Unless, of course, I am offering snackage.
The office phone is ringing, broadcasting the name of the company with which Mike contracts. Mike isn't answering because he is in Omaha. The Babe finds himself walking through Daddy's office and inexplicably decides to answer the phone.
And time slows to a crawl as I realize what has just happened. After all, this is a BUSINESS line. And it is currently being answered by a kid whose voice sounds like a soprano who just inhaled helium. Ain't no way that voice is passing for anything near an adult.
Older brothers start laughing hysterically. Of course, they are both in time out for infractions, so this is a no-no. I am glued to my chair, sizing up this train-wreck-in-the-making, trying to decide how to best get the phone from The Babe while shooting stink-eye at the twin time-outers.
Then it happens again. TB: "Hello?" This time with a bit of questioning, as if to say "Is anyone there?"
Me: "Aaron. Bring the phone to me." He hands it to me and I greet the caller.
Turns out to be the owner of the company. My heart falls into my butt. The noise level in the kitchen reaches fever pitch and now three kids are laughing at how bold The Babe acted.
Me: "Well, Mr. Owner. What can I say? He's seven years old and Daddy is in Omaha."
Owner apologizes, through his laughter, for not knowing my honey's whereabouts. Says he'll send an email and call Mike's cell number.
You know, something always reaches rock bottom when Mike travels. Sometimes it is my diet. Sometimes it is my stress level. Oftentimes it is my kid's behavior.
The class bully has reared his ugly head almost without fail when Mike is gone. My kids seem to pick fights with the neighbor kids, too. Uniform parts go missing, homework levels reach Mt. Everest heights, and things are, generally, kattywampus.
It dawned on me that, when Mike travels, the head of our household is gone. We are a ship with a missing rudder. Certainly, the winds sustain us, but we just aren't the same. I truly believe that is why things always seem to be a bit off.*
Likewise, without the head of our lives, Christ Jesus, being a daily part of the picture, we also find life veering off course. We make bigger, dumber, more lethal mistakes when we don't follow Christ.
We exist in a world that is waiting for us to fall into the traps of envy and greed and malice and murder and adultery and all sort of sin. And, if we refuse to acknowledge God's sovereignty or ignore His word or become so prideful we think we can go it alone, we are to blame. We can't do life without a solid, reliable rudder.
I'm pretty sure we'll land like a cat in regards to Mike's boss. I think we'll survive the next day with him gone. And I know that the absence will make all our hearts fonder as a result.
I just pray that this lesson, this decision to daily choose Christ as my rudder, is one that I will take to heart.
*Interestingly, the same reaction occurs when I leave for a while. Seems that we are both necessary to this venture of raising kids. Maybe that's why God gave kids two parents?