The phone kept ringing.

A customer. A friend offering to bring us a meal. A potential babysitter. My husband. Another customer. A telemarketer.

By the time the boy scout rang the doorbell, I had a blank stare on my face. I felt like my head was spinning. “Would you like to buy some popcorn?” he asked cheerfully.

I looked at his smiling face. Then at his boy scout uniform. Then at his mom standing on the sidewalk with a young child in a wagon. Then back at his smiling face. He was waving at my kids.

I was speechless.

My mind was racing. Where would I possibly find the checkbook? And how would I decide which type of popcorn to buy? Would he deliver it? Would his mom bring it in the wagon?

Too many questions for my mind to process.

“I’m sorry. I just can’t right now.”

I closed the door and felt like I would cry. How could I have rejected that cute boy scout. What if my son was a boy scout and someone looked at him with that blank stare. And his nice mom trying to teach him the value of, of… going door-to-door and asking complete strangers to buy popcorn. How could I be so cruel?

I should have just posted a sign on the door. I should have changed my outgoing voice mail message.

“Please don’t disturb. The woman living here is in survival mode.”

No matter how hard I try to prepare myself, I always seem to get like this when my husband is gone for a while. A long while.

All of the little things that are so small and manageable on their own become a major crisis. I LOVE it when my phone rings. I love it when someone wants to bring me a meal. I love it when a customer calls. I run to the phone when I see an international call and know it’s my husband. I don’t even mind to buy popcorn from boy scouts.

But that evening, the ringing was like a siren.

My daughter wanted to use her new water paints. The water is dirty again. She needs more water. That darned history test. “It was Persia and the MEDES!” My middle child crying. Just crying. Everything was making him cry.

Then the phone. And then the poor boy scout with his popcorn.

When I get into survival mode I can only seem to handle the things that absolutely have to be done. No more. Nothing extra. It’s like my brain has a filter: Not necessary for survival, tune out.

Then I have to start reciting: His grace is sufficient for me.

It all seems like too much. But I know it’s not. His grace is sufficient for me.

People ask me all the time how I get through these long days, weeks, even a month.

His. Grace.

It’s sufficient.

It’s enough. It will get me through.

(And please don’t stop calling! If I’m in survival mode, I’ll just call you back later.)

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