"You always say that, Mom," my daughter chuckles as again I explain my fascination with shoes. "Look how each designer had the same amount of space to work within," say, the length and width of a Size 7 shoe, "yet they each created something different with a similar amount of space and materials." I have the same thoughts at bakeries, ice cream shops, and while walking down the street in New York City noticing and enjoying all the different scarves women have chosen to drape over their outfits. Sometimes I wonder why a certain combination works when it shouldn't, wondering why a woman chose that scarf to go with that outfit. But she walks confidently as though the scarf was made to be worn with her clothing.
Within my sibling group, we have a phrase we use: "It's way important," we will often say, repeating something my nephew Christopher would say when he really, really wanted to play with a toy one of his cousins had. With much intensity and with every cell in his body involved in the expression of his feelings, he spit out to his mom after she explained he would have to wait his turn to drive the Little Tikes car, "But Mom, it's WAY important!"
Something became "way important" to me this week as well. Preparations had been made for my son's Kyle's book-launch party—who was bringing what, the time we would gather, food we would eat, games we would play. Balloons were filled with helium, inhabiting most of the space in my car. But something was missing. I had to bring a decorated cookie.
I called the cookie place where Brent purchased a cookie 34 years ago with writing on it that said, "Can I marry your daughter?" he presented to my dad. The same establishment had decorated a cookie for us bearing the image of a purple blow dryer as we celebrated my daughter-in-law Destiny's receiving her beautician's license. That fifteen-inch-in-diameter of goodness bore varied messages of celebration over the years. I learned, however, the company had gone out of business. I looked at Wal-Mart and Sams Club, but both places had pre-decorated cookies I would have to un-decorate in order to create the bumblebee-themed cookie I envisioned.
So I purchased a tub of chocolate chip cookie dough and some tubes of yellow and black frosting. I baked the cookie then pulled it out of the oven, and we drove to Kyle and Destiny's house while the cookie cooled. Destiny was wearing a shirt with the symbol of Kyle's website on it, a bee, so she sat as a model while I traced out the image with frosting onto the cookie, and she cheered me on while I worked.
The word that keeps visiting me as I write this is, "within." I tend to imagine that life would be richer if there weren't limits but am learning to value to what can happen within those limits. What is God inviting me to within this seemingly too short half hour I get to share conversation and coffee with my daughter? or the only one night away with my husband? What would God have me do with the paycheck that is smaller than I expected or with my energy and time that never seem quite enough? What will the designer draw in this limited space?
The Psalmist in scripture says this: "The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places." If I live stepping into the path of this truth, I can also live believing what is meant to be will happen within those places, things that, like my odd set of chairs, maybe shouldn't even go together.
But somehow they do.