Tuesday, November 1, 2011

On Hindsight

[This post was originally written in August, but, ironically, I've been too busy to edit and finish it. Ha!]

As I write this, I am soaring through the clouds at 32,000 feet and 454 knots on my way to Phoenix for a conference. Flight is amazing, isn't it?

So once again it's been a while since my last post. There's a very good reason for that. I've been...well...busy. For those of you who know me, I know that's hard for you to take in. I mean, I always have so much time on my hands [insert sarcasm here].

In a matter of 10 days, I had four major events happening, each within a few days of each other. I've been busy before. In fact, some people tell me I define busy. But it has never been anything like this. I should be zonked out on this 4-hour plane ride right now. But, alas, I've had this post muttering around in my head for a few days and I can't rest until I get it down.

Here's what that ten-day span looked like. Brace yourself.

Monday - Drive 11 hours with the family, puppy, and injured elbow back to NC from Florida. Dread the upcoming week.

Tuesday through Sunday - Jam packed week with planning for upcoming events and meetings/rehearsals/coordination for said events.

Monday - Prepare and host leader training for American Heritage Troop I just started (Think Girls Scouts on spiritual steroids - check them out here.)

Tuesday through Thursday - Final planning/rehearsals/directing for Thursday night event. (Which was awesome, btw. You can see pics here.) Oh, and squeeze in two trips to the car dealership, having only one car for a few days, making a visit to the doctor for the injured elbow, and bringing a meal to friends who spent a horrible weekend at two different hospitals. (Remember that part.)

Friday through Monday - Friday was my anniversary and my husband and I managed to enjoy an incredible dinner out, thanks to a gift card. It was about the only down-time I had in this madness. Then cram in final planning and host first troop meeting on Monday night (remember this part, too.)

Tuesday and Wednesday - Cram in final lesson planning for the high school health class I am teaching at our homeschool co-op. I've never taught before (except my own offspring.) It was....a challenge. And showed me just how much planning I don't do for my own kids. (Yikes.)

Thursday - Teach said first high school health class; race home at 3pm, throw stuff in suitcase, kiss the dog, wipe away the little one's tears, and here I sit...at 32,000 feet.

I'm exhausted all over again just writing everything I've done the past ten days. (And putting it into words in front of me makes me wonder how it is I'm still walking upright.) See why I haven't posted in a while?

I do have a point. Hopefully you haven't collapsed from reading about my crazy self.

My husband knew better than to comment on the past few days. He just shook his head (well, mostly he just shook his head.) I have no idea what I was thinking. It wasn't a conscious decision to schedule all this madness in one fell swoop. Some things were on the calendar already when others came up and there was no changing any of them. After all, none of them revolved around me. I was just the one in charge of most of them.

The only thing I added after the fact was taking a meal to friends. (Remember, I asked you to remember that part?) But I had meals in the freezer and they had a great need. How could I not respond to God when he puts that on my heart? As crazy busy as I was, and as little time as I had that day to thaw, cook, gather, and drive a meal to someone, loving on people in need fills my tank. It forces me to focus on someone else, even if just for 30 minutes. It forces me to spend some time away from the madness, loving like Jesus. I. Love. That.

Now, that other part I asked you to remember? That one led to this blog post. 

I'm sure you've heard the old saying that says something along the lines of "He who thinks of it gets put in charge." I'd heard about American Heritage Girls from a friend two years earlier. I had looked into Girl Scouts but never felt led to enroll my daughter despite her deep desire to be in a scouting program. I couldn't really put my finger on the reasons for my hesitation (I was a Girl Scout growing up); it just never seemed a good fit for our family. I had looked for an AHG troop in our area but there weren't any in our whole county at the time (and I live in the biggest county in the state) and only three existed in the state of NC! I decided to wait and check again the following year. I did, and though there was now ONE troop in my county, it was clear on the other side of the city and I wasn't willing to make that driving commitment every week.

But I really wanted my daughter in AHG. It was a program I felt, wholeheartedly and without hesitation, was exactly what I was looking for in a scouting program. I checked with the home office and there were no applications for upcoming troops in our area. No one even had a rumor of one on the horizon that I might pursue.

So.....what's a mom to do? Well, he (or she) who thinks of it...

Fast-forward eight months and here I was...watching all the leaders and their daughters file in for our very first troop meeting. 54 girls in their uniforms with excited looks on their little faces...many of them knew who I was and greeted me with a hug or waved and yelled, "Hi Miss Cheri!!" But I was getting pulled in a hundred different directions. Everyone had something they needed or a question they wanted an answer to and I was the only one who could provide it. Girls were running around waiting for their rooms to be ready (and this is in a small office!) Parents were dazed and confused at the chaos as more and more girls arrived. It looked as though we hadn't done a thing to prepare. I was a little overwhelmed, to say the least.

I went into the storage room to get one of the many things the leaders were asking me for, and I stopped and just stood there. I wanted to cry. In fact, I'm pretty sure I did cry for about 30 seconds. I wanted to run out the back door and go home where it was peaceful and quiet. For a moment, I stood there...frozen. And I seriously thought to myself, "What have I done?" I mean, really, what did I get myself into here?!? Admittedly, I hate chaos! I don't respond well to it at all, physically or mentally. And lots of different noises going on at the same time and at ear-piercing decibel levels puts me into auditory overload and I must retreat quickly and fervently to avoid a migraine headache. So....What on earth was I thinking?!? Hindsight is 20/20.

I snapped out of my little pity party for one and headed back into the chaos, planning my immediate resignation and choosing a successor to take my place along the way. 

And then, something remarkable happened.

Drop-off had finished and the girls were all sitting together in rows, waiting patiently for the meeting to start, a look of excitement and anticipation on their little faces. Our troop shepherd was about to start the welcome and prayer. The leaders lined the perimeter of the room. Most of the parents had gone. The moment I had been waiting for over the past two years (and planning for over the past eight months) was upon me. I watched as our troop shepherd hushed them into complete silence. Their eyes were upon her. All attention was turned to her. She welcomed them. Smiles were on their faces. And I heard a voice whisper something in my ear.

"Look! Look what you've done!"

And I started to cry. This time, tears of joy. 

All the things I wanted in a scouting program for MY daughter were exactly the things all these girls' moms wanted for THEIRS. And because no other troop in our area existed, I was led to be "put in charge." If I hadn't taken that leap of faith, none of these girls would be sitting here in front of me.

I didn't start the AHG troop without prayer and consideration, counsel or research. And, in hindsight, had I known then what I knew standing in that storage room, I might not have been so bold as to jump in with both feet. But then I wouldn't be staring at all these sweet faces who need this troop. And, in hindsight, what a lost opportunity that would be!

If we waited for the times when serving would always be convenient for us, or when our vision is completely clear, we'd wait for quite a while. In fact, we would probably never be able to fully experience the joy of serving. Whether it's a last-minute meal for friends or months of planning something big, there is always a component of faith involved. If we knew every detail or outcome, we might never take the risks that lead to great things. And when we only do things that will serve ourselves, we miss out on incredible opportunities to fill our tanks and feed our souls and the souls of those we may or may not know. 

They say hindsight is 20/20. But, I think, it depends on the glasses you are wearing when you look back.

Go check your vision, and see what opportunities God has waiting for you.