I wake up some days already ready for bed. I don’t think I am completely alone. All it takes is children, especially children who wake up at night asking for Mommy or a piece of toast or wanting their pacifier back to feel as if you’ve spent half your day’s energy before you dropped back into bed at 3 am.
It’s days like this that I need to remind myself of God. God is good at math. Stay with me – a blog is a terrible place for a deep-dive into algebra and I am aware of it. God knows how many hours are in a day. Twenty-four. Ask him. He’s not stupid. He also knows I have kids. Two. An even easier number to count to than twenty-four. But (and this is where the numbers get tricky) with two kids pulling you different directions every waking moment, twenty-four hours can begin to feel more like forty-eight, or even (hang in there) like forty-eight hours that require seventy-two hours worth of energy. That’s three days and we can stop climbing there because you get the picture.
So suddenly the really simple math of one day = twenty-four hours is less simple. It’s less like addition and more like the quadratic formula. Once it was “8 hours of sleep = 16 hours of energy = 8 hours at work + 2.5 hours for meals + .5 hours of exercise + 1 hour of driving + 2 hours of in-between things and down-time + 2 hours of eating the food”. Now it’s more like “6-ish hours of sleep + 2 cups of coffee (drunk cold because of children) = 12 hours of energy + 1 dinner of cold cereal + 2 childrens’ and 1 adult meltdown + a quick trip to the Starbucks drive through = negative 3 attitudes”.
Things don’t seem to add up anymore. And that’s without dividing by 2 months quarantined at home, or raising to the power of 3 legos stepped on. I could go on. If you feel tired just looking at that kind of math, you’ve got the answer right. Tired. It’s tired. I’m tired. Tired is the answer even if you sneak in a third cuppa (luke-warm this time.) I think the quadratic formula involves imaginary numbers and I’m equally confident in guessing that your energy by the end of many days feels equally imaginary. (Also, can we please just raise a red flag about imaginary numbers in math? Seriously WHAT THE HECK. Ok, rant over.)
The math, I reiterate, is exhausting, confusing, and doesn’t seem to add up. This is where it’s nice to have a God who’s good at math. He can solve for X. Or for Mom, which is more important. He knows how much energy I need to get through a day. I mean, if he can number the thick hairs on my head (constantly changing as I enjoy what seems like postpartum balding), then surely he can figure out how much energy I’ll need after laying awake in bed for an hour, and getting up two times during the night. He hasn’t left me without resources. I have the strength of Christ waiting to be availed. I have hope that one day, in heaven, our attitudes will never slip into the negative and by all that is gracious I will never step on a sharp toy again.
I think of the woman with her unending jar of oil or the five loaves that filled five thousand bellies. There were two mites dropped into the offering box at the temple – all the widow had to live on – and I’m betting you she didn’t go home and starve. Maybe the prayers muttered over a morning cup of coffee have a power of multiplication just like the legos. Maybe the quiet of two kids napping simultaneously has spiritual power to calm the wind and the rain. I’ll probably never beat God at the word problems that read as long as a Thursday afternoon, but I begin to understand that the math will always add up. The bottom of the coffee cup with it’s dried brown rings is always steaming again in the morning like a very promise of God: there is always enough energy for the hours.