Grumbling in the desert

Nothing like a dose of humility served with ingratitude by your daughter in front of all your friends.

As we give her the stage (because she like to talk or be the center of attention, but she doesn’t have all the filters in place, because she is still a kid, she is still 7, going on 15) she says she like being at this conference because the food is better than home. And at home she doesn’t have too many people to play or talk to. She likes the kindness she feels here. 

One who doesn’t understand the backstory may draw the wrong conclusions. 

Her 7 year old peers (most of our new neighbors are boys fierce on competition) are not as generous and kind and attentive as a large group of young adults who hang on every word she says. 

Right now I feel the hurt and injustice and embarrassment. 

Then we will move on to address the cause of it, and improve my cooking if and as needed, my empathy, my involvement in the neighborhood matters.

Jackie complains. It seems to me that most often it’s unfounded. She doesn’t appreciate how good she has it. Not compared to her old life. But to everyone around her. Her peers. 

And as we’ve heard before. Comparing your backstage mess with everyone’s polished presentable show is not realistic. 

If she wouldn’t complain off stage at every request, reminder, plea, her comment about the food at the conference being better than home, would be a wash. 

But I give it my all. And during this pandemic putting healthy diverse food on the table has not been easy. But I did it with commitment and determination. I mustered creativity and energy to cook every single day this past excruciating year. 

We have a brand new home. With everything necessary to make it comfortable, welcoming, but that is not enough either. We have given above and beyond to our kids. But compared to pre-pandemic times we did not have as much fun together. We’ve been busier with finishing the house. And we’ve worried financially. And I admit this shortcoming. 

Jackie said at home is not as fun as here. Of course it’s not. This is the Adriatic coast, and we live in a beautiful hotel with 40 friends who entertain us with their company. The sea is at our doorsteps and the weather is perfect. Somebody else cooks and cleans for us. We just show up

And do what we like. 

Going home after three weeks of heaven is really hard. I felt it as a kid. It was actually my turning point to ask God in my life because only after a Christian camp (which was not as luxurious as this)

I tasted true loneliness for the first time. 

Now when her disappointment is pointed at me, her mother, I don’t know how much growth there’s going to be. My tendency has been to try a little harder for my kids. I would not have done this for the adult relationships in my life. 

These days Jackie has been complaining about how one or two people received nice gifts from their secret angel. And instead of looking at ways she could be such an angel herself or that she has received the most attention among the kids, she grumbles. 

Oh my, the grumbling of God’s people in the desert caused them to wander for 40 Years and angered God. To the point of not letting them into the promised land. 

The whole adult generation that came out of Egypt died, and only their children inherited the promised land.

My sweet daughter
Freed from Egypt
Renew your mind.

My heart aches for you
Your words hurt me
I worry for our future of peace

Your grumbling
Keeps you away
From tasting the Goodness of God

The red sea parted
So you could cross onto the other side
Be free from your pursuers

The joy was shortly lived
You soon made an idol
A golden calf of expectations

We bring God’s word
God’s law is good and just
To keep you safe to help you grow

You repent
But no too much time passes
And you complain about the food

God gives you Manna
Every morning
generously spread in front of you

But you long for the Egyptian pots
A distorted memory
Of misunderstood freedom

So you grumble
And you hurt your Heavenly Father
And he lets you wander through the desert

There are a handful of stories in the Bible
When God was hurt and angry
The 40 years of wandering

In all His wisdom
He didn’t know how to change their heart
So it would be grateful

God waited. Hurt.
He pleaded and gave you more.
Moses took responsibility.

Dear God,
Let not Jackie’s heart be hardened,
Like your chosen people in the desert.

Soften her in Your mighty wisdom
Help her see clearly
The gift you have bestowed upon her

May deeply seeded gratitude
Be the gift of spirit for her
May she see your Grace and be humbled by it.