Falling Through

Most days in life seem to simply pass.  Wake up, shower, breakfast, work, lunch, home, dinner, kids to bed, read, light out, fall sleep.  Most days come and go and leave only a subtle trace that they have been, and gone, like kids walking across the top of a hard snow drift.

But there are handfuls of days which we will not forget, days when our feet fall through and leave deep craters, days which somehow manage to steer the course of those that follow. 

September 4th, 2009 was one of those days.

My painting business was struggling.  All year Maile and I had spoken in hushed tones about worst-case scenarios, what it meant, where we were headed.  But on that Friday we suddenly realized we could not pay some huge marketing bills that were closing in.  Our mortgage payment was due.  And while we could pay the things we had to pay (cash flow is not a problem for most painting businesses in September), a huge mound of debt was rising up in the background, it’s shadow falling down all around us.

“Do you think we should move in with your parents?” Maile asked me, eyes filling with tears, not because my parents would be terrible to live with, and not because their basement is a dungeoun filled with devices of torture.  She was sad because we were comfortable in the life we had created, and it would be difficult to leave. 

Whew.  These are the days we do not forget.

Then, two months later, another day.  Another falling through.

I backed the moving truck up to our townhouse’s garage.  It was so large that it swayed precariously as the large tires bounced up over the curb.  I walked around behind it and let down the ramp.  It grated like fingernails on a chalkboard. 

I stared into that empty truck.  Our friends would be arriving soon, folks we had grown very close to during the previous four years:  folks from our small group, my friends, Maile’s mommy friends.  And they would help us load our life into a truck, and we would drive away.

Just then my two oldest kids ran out through the garage, up the ramp and into the huge expanse of loading truck.  They ooooh’d and aaaaah’d over the sheer size of it.  They jumped up and down on the wheel wells, making it sway back and forth.  They laughed as they shouted their names deep into its recesses, and their voices came richocheting back.

“Lucy!”  LUCY, Lucy, lucy . . .

“Cade!”  CADE, Cade, cade . . .

And then I saw.  They didn’t have a real worry in the world – this was an exciting trip back to the place where their daddy grew up, back to where lots of their cousins lived and there were farms and cows and snow in the winter.  Back to where their Mimi and Papa Smucker lived.  Plus, their Mimi and Grampa Silva were there with us, in person, helping with the move. 

They had absolute trust that I would provide shelter for them, and food, and anything else that they needed. 

They were excited, because even they, at 6 and 4 years old, could tell that we were about to embark on our greatest adventure yet.  I didn’t see it then, but, looking back, something makes perfect sense to me.  I understand a little better what Jesus said about children:

“The Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these”


To read the continuation of this story, click HERE

28 Replies to “Falling Through”

  1. i still drop by and catch up on all your little musings! always enjoy it.

    glad your home, would love to see you more. (looks like i will be seeing Maile at our girls weekend this May! You dare trust her with me?! Oh my!)

    1. thanks for checking in kara. unfortunately i did not know that you were going to the aforementioned girls weekend. maile is no longer permitted to attend.

  2. :) Thanks for bloggin fellow blogger :) I’m sharing your page with my FB friends as it’s a frequent stop on my weekly reading!

    1. thanks for spreading the word, kristen! i’m looking into and thinking about your idea of doing the workshop on skype . . . let’s stay in touch about that

  3. children are incredibly resilient, especially when the parents are facing challenges. i know how you feel…its been a roller coaster ride for us since matthew was injured 5 years ago, but faith goes a long way. and isn’t lancaster county a lovely place to bring your children to grow? i can say after living abroad as well, that i just don’t see the values here repeated anywhere else.

    will be praying for your family!

  4. Hey Shawn,

    Its been a while since I was rolling pretzels (badly) in Victoria Station with you. Hopefully this finds you really well, and I am guessing from your writing, it is. Just wanted to say, I have really enjoyed reading this and enjoy how you write. Your post on the 31st was awesome, looking forwards to the next one.



    1. Wasn’t that about 278 years ago?! You were never THAT bad . . . it takes time . . . (: Congrats on the wedding – really happy for you guys. Thanks for following along.

  5. Great story. Some excellent writing: “…a huge mound of debt was rising up in the background, its shadow falling down all around us…”

    I trust that now, 8-10 months later, you have adjusted well to your new life.

  6. This is uber rad stuff, Shawn. It gives me a lot to ponder on from where I’m at in life right now. I’d love to get together. I’m wondering if that would work some weekday. Do you ever have lunch breaks or a general chance to step out and chat? Feel free to email me at shatterblade@gmail.com

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