Present Tense

Lately, so many little things seem to annoy me:

The never ending mess in the house. Clean up one room, turn around for five minutes, and it's dirty again. The sheer frustration of mopping the floor one afternoon and that evening walking around with black feet because the dirt has crept in under the door and soiled the floor all over again.

The one tiny little Lego that maliciously crept to the middle of the stairway just as I was innocently walking down the stairs barefoot. The tidal wave of stuff that threatens havoc on each of the rooms in the house. Seriously--where did it all come from?? We didn't arrive here with much, I promise. It's worse than those obnoxious kid's meal toys that accumulated around our previous house faster than rabbits.

The endless amount of homework and studying. I'll shortly be 38 years old, and I have a husband and four kids to be a wife and mom to. Who has time for homework or studying? There ought to be a law prohibiting homework after you turn 25. You can easily spot the third trimester students on campus. We're the ones stumbling around like the walking dead, mumbling conjugations under our breaths. Most of us have absorbed so many of the these that they've squeezed out other information in our heads. Information that used to be important---like our names, for example. I had a middle name once, but who can remember? I can remember my kids' full names at this point only because they insist on writing them out on every drawing they make.

Never being able to go anywhere as a family without walking, stuffing ourselves on city buses like sardines in a can, or shelling out the big bucks for two taxis. The feeling of truly being hunters and gatherers as we patronize at least four different stores each month just for our grocery staples. Sometimes the one thing I miss the most about our life in the States is the ability to drive (drive!) to Kroger or Walmart and purchase everything on my list without breaking the bank.

Probably the biggest thing that annoys me right now is the waiting. Waiting to finish language school. Waiting to get to Mexico. I've gotten so focused on the next step that I've mentally checked out. After all, haven't we been waiting 14 years for this (from the time we received our calling to Mexico way back in college)? I think a little excitement is allowed, right?


And then yesterday I was dumbfounded when my youngest son began crying in earnest. Thinking he was hurt, I asked him what was the matter. "I don't want to leave!" he wailed. He and the other children have, in our short time here, really embraced Costa Rica and the people they've met. This is home to them. Their thoughts are not already in Mexico, as ours are. They are here. In the present. Living each moment to the fullest extent. There are friends to play with, friends to say goodbye to. Tests to take. Parties to enjoy. Still an entire summer to be enjoyed.

I realized tonight that if I spent every waking minute cataloging all of the things that annoy me, or allow myself to mentally check out of my time here, I will miss a great deal. I'll miss meaningful relationships. Miss valuable lessons God may be trying to teach me. God has placed us here. Now. For this duration. Yes, I'll continue to be tired. Would that change in Mexico? Probably not. Yes, my house will continue to be messier than I'd like. Will that change in Mexico? Definitely not. True, I won't have homework. But there will be a number of things that require my time and attention as well. And if I continue to focus on the negatives--things that I can't change, by the way--I'll essentially be letting my grumpiness steal the joy I could find in each moment.

We've spent a lot of time in my grammar classes studying the past tense. It's complicated. There are three forms to describe past tense. We've also studied future tense. It's not a picnic in the park, either. Perhaps the easiest to work with is the present tense. I think there's a lesson there. Not that life now is easy. Far from it. The present tense has it's irregularities to deal with. Just like daily living. But taken as a whole, if I focus on enjoying each moment, each day, things are a lot less complicated.

Just like the present tense.

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