Every few weeks or so we announce it’s “Fend Night” around here. Usually Fend happens when Brad and I are tired of the complaints about stinky fish and laments about “Soup? Again?” Or when the cupboards contain a single stick of Juicy Fruit and a can of refried beans.
That’s when I’ll declare, “Iiiiiiiiiiit’s Fend!” and the kids cheer because they know what it means: Fend for yourself, people. You’re on your own. Scrap around, figure it out. Scrape together what you can. Make the best in less-than-ideal circumstances. The only requirement of Fend is that their dinner include one serving of vegetable. Usually the kids have a bowl of cereal and a side of sliced red pepper. Classic Fend.
I realized this week that sometimes my spiritual life looks a little bit like Fend. The truth is, sometimes I have to make do with less-than-ideal circumstances. I don’t always have the proper array of spiritual ingredients: morning quiet time, Bible study, small group, worship, prayer. Sometimes I have to put together a smattering of what’s available, when and where I can grab it. Sometimes my spiritual life looks a little slap-dash, like Cheerios and sliced red pepper.
Such is the case with my morning quiet time. During the last two years I’ve carved out a half hour or so every morning to read the Bible and pray before the kids get up and bedlam descends. That all changed, though, when Noah transitioned to middle school this year, which has a one hour earlier start time than Rowan’s elementary school. Suddenly my morning quiet time was disrupted by lunch making and chopping lettuce for the pet lizard. Suddenly my morning quiet time wasn’t very quiet.
For a while I simply bailed on the quiet Bible study time. Getting up an hour earlier was not an option. Even the good Lord knows I morph into Medusa Mother when I am short on sleep, morning Gospels or not. So I slept in for a couple of weeks. But then, as I settled into the new drop-off and pick-up school routine, I discovered a new sliver of time – 20 minutes between Noah’s pick-up and Rowan’s.
And so, for now, I Fend. I make do with what I have. Quiet time in my car isn’t ideal. It’s awkward as all get-up to write with my prayer journal splayed out over my steering wheel. Thanks to Nebraska’s volatile weather, I’m alternately sweating or shivering in the driver’s seat. Plus, half the time I forget my glasses and am forced to squint beady-eyed at the tiny NLT script. I’m considering purchasing a pair of reading glasses to keep in the mini-van. Clearly I am now officially old.
You know what, though? For all its inconveniences, Bible study in the mini-van works for now. It’s good enough. And sometimes, in matters of both physical and spiritual sustenance, we simply have to pull together what’s readily available to get by. Sometimes we have to Fend in order to survive and thrive. Sometimes good-enough turns out to be more than enough.
Do you ever have to Fend in your spiritual life or otherwise? What does Fending look like for you?