Thursday, June 26, 2008

A surfeit of hours

A day alone...just hugged J out the door to drive my car across the state to Hoop Fest, which he's only been anticipating for an entire year; practically shoved the Beve and SK off to mow. V's out with friends for the day, so I have this day--this whole day!--to do with as I will.

The thing is, I have grown used to a surfeit of hours, the luxury of time alone. The dogs and I settle in--they to sleep, and I to read, write and pray. To be with God for as long as my tea lasts--and trust me, my tea is stone cold by the time I finish it. Then I get up, pull out the book revisions and get down to 'business.'

In the early years of my children's life, I was never alone. A mom never is. I remember the first day of kindergarten for SK, after taking the three to school. As I stood outside the door of her classroom, watching her bounce through the door and into the world of school--which she'd been dreaming of since 'Sissy' had started many years before--other moms were crying. Not very quietly either. In fact, there was an aid there to reassure them. But what made SK so excited, couldn't make me sad, could it--not for long, anyway. When I got home, I began the regular tasks of my life. And as I walked down the hall of our house with a large laundry basket of dirty clothes, I dropped the basket and let out a whoop. Freedom. There were no demands for snacks or a different game, I didn't have to help with clothing or coloring or fighting. I stood there a moment. For the next two hours I could do whatever I wanted. The laundry would get done--there are plenty of hours in a day. I grabbed purse, keys and Bible, and went off to have coffee with Jesus.

And you know, I've been a better mom as my kids have grown. It's not a hard equation. The more time I have with Him, the more I have to offer the rest of the world. And the better me there is to offer. Lately, with the house full, even though I love our company--both those who left yesterday and the ones coming Sunday--and especially though I adore having SK home from college, and the Beve out for the summer, time alone has been whittled away, or edged into the post-midnight hour when my brain is full of cobwebs. And when there is ministry to be done, especially right here in my home, that isn't enough for me. Hearing God's voice is a muscle to be exercised, I think. Practiced in the quiet so that when there is cacophony, I can recognize Him under the din. I've been mean-spirited and sarcastic lately, quick to find fault rather than to extend grace. It is not well-done of me, reveals an absence of dwelling in His Spirit.

So these hours, these precious hours--like balm to Gilead.

The question is begging to be asked, however: what about those whose lives are like mine with those three little children, hovering at my knees? Or with a grueling job and no respite at the end of the day? I wish I had an easy answer for that. A friend of mine would say, "Simplify, simplify, simplify." Maybe there are things that take up space in your life--your time and energy--that have little or not value. They're just clutter. Maybe those things need to be sent off to Goodwill, metaphorically. I don't know. I only know it's better for us--well with our souls--when we spend intentional moments with Him, when He has the time with us He longs for and waits for. It's like a balm to Him as well.

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