This discovery brought pure joy to all of our hearts. A tree! My children imagined climbing. My husband imagined shade. I imagined glorious spring blossoms and majestic fall leaves. Now our house really feels like a home. We have a tree!
One morning later my sweet daughter’s voice sang, “Mommy, Mommy! A robin! We have a robin in our tree!” And our feet ran to grab the fancy camera lens to capture a memory of our new friend.
A split second later the winged creature was gone and so was our perfect picture. I set the camera on the ledge to wait for his return.
And then it happened. Moments later, I would experience the first of many a “hard eucharisteo” that Ann Voscamp describes in One Thousand Gifts.
That same sweet daughter, fleeing her schoolwork, wisks her beloved toy off the ledge, and simultaneously knocks the new, expensive camera off the ledge, and it crashes onto the hardwood floor.
I scream, “NOOOOO!” and I hold more words back, and my heart sinks a thousand depths. I hold my breath as I fumble to turn it on, but nothing happens. I inhale slowly, and this time I do not scream. I think, “My daughter’s heart is more important than this camera.” And, “That’s why there are camera repair shops for times like this.” And “I’d rather have a broken camera than a broken daughter.” But I really, really, really want to scream and cry and hit my tear stained pillow. Instead, the little one runs upstairs and does this for the both of us.
I try to convince the boys to return to their schoolwork while I attempt to console her. My emotional middle son knows, though, and asks, “Can I please come with you and help? I think she needs some love right now.”
We talk her through it. We pray together through it. It’s only a camera. We have more blessings than we can imagine, and it’s only a camera. It’s only a camera.
And then it happens. Big brother suddenly appears and announces, “LOOK! I got it to work. It’s working! It’s working!” And we cry and hug and laugh and breathe again. A small miracle happens to my camera. A bigger miracle happens in my heart.
And I begin to learn the new language lessons of giving thanks and discovering joy in everything. Even the hard things.
Later that day, I hear my sweet girl’s words one more time. “Mommy! He’s back! He’s back!” She quietly asks, “Can we take a picture now?” And we run to get the camera. And we miss him again. But this time, we know better where to leave the lens while we wait for his return. Now we are thankful God has given us new eyes to see. And we count our blessings again.
29. Our first tree and first robin
30. A working Canon Rebel T1i