Saturday, August 18, 2012

What I learned this summer

How many times have I said this lately?
I'm having a quiet morning with the dogs.
Not many.
And with a five-month-old lab, it's really not all that quiet, now that I mention it.
But I am home without human companionship and that's something.
And the sun is still shining. And that's also something in this rainy old world where it rains nine months of the year.
And there are still two whole days before Beve goes back to work. And that's something too.

So, a few things I learned about this summer:
1. There's always room for one more around the table, or on our back deck, or even in an extra car. We can set up a tent--expand our tents, really--and add another potato to the pot and it only makes the conversation more interesting.  The number of people we both entertained or were entertained by this summer (without our own kids) was over 50. And, as long as I didn't have to sleep on the floor, it was sweet and pleasing.
2. Grampie's face most of the time. I loved that he loved being with his kids and grandkids. I loved watching him take in all of us talking, and even when he couldn't follow or got confused about the most simple of topics, he was right there in the middle, breathing it all in.  His large and mobile smile was ready and even that half-moon frown could make me smile because he was so like a little boy. Like the little boy-old man that he is now.
3. The range of conversations with the variety of people. It's been a feast. A banquet. I feel blessed and honored and overwhelmed by the plethora or riches of such sharing with others about their lives.  THIS is what I live for. Really. I'd gladly have such conversations every day, forever. Oh wait, maybe I'll get to.
4. Having so many people around takes a whole lot of planning. Someone to administrate, co-ordinate, organize and do the logistics. And that someone isn't going to be me. Not in my wildest dreams. Forget about it--I just can't do it, don't want to, am no good at it, and the whole ball of wax will crash down if we're counting on me. Dinner? Really? Someone has to eat again in a few hours? Didn't we just do that?  The bottom line is, it bores the living daylights out of me.
5. My oldest child IS born for (see above). It was hard-wired into her. A switch goes on and she just does it. Gladly--for both of us. It makes me soooo thankful. The things she planned, the organizing she did, the meals, the work, but also the fun she encouraged and engaged us all to have--we were all blessed by her.
6. SK, in contrast, was born to be the bright light of such a gathering. We were sitting at the table, sharing rather quietly, calmly, when she drove up her first day. The energy that was infused into our company was something to behold. Talk about a switch going on--in the whole company. You wouldn't believe it. It's like we all had a drink of Red Bull, because suddenly we were talking and laughing, from one end of the house to the other. And her laugh keeps me/us going...all the time. I need to bottle that sound and market it for those in the hardest of places. I'm telling you, you can't keep from smiling when you hear that woman bust out laughing.
7. J was a good sport. That's an amazing thing to say, really. If you knew how hard he has to work at spending time with people now, you would understand that his effort was the most sacrificial of anyone's this summer. Really stunning, actually. I thank God for J's hard work, his continuing hard work at regaining his health.
8. Beve.  This season--well, long before summer, of course--has taken a toll on Beve. On us, I should say. We've had an easy marriage, generally. That's what happens when two old friends marry each other. Friendship is easy to maintain. However, there's been very little time for our own relationship in this last year, and we can feel it. There's a creeping separateness that makes us a bit more on edge with each other, more likely to snap than understand, and to NOT communicate. I wanted to admit this straight out. Sure, it'd be easier not, easier to pretend we're perfect, and have the perfect marriage. But we don't. We're human, and we've had the hardest year imaginable. And such a year takes its toll on the most primary of relationships. Of course it does. And yes, I know the enemy would like us to dwell here, to allow this separateness to grow and lodge rocks between us. But we aren't governed by the enemy. We belong to Jesus Christ.

That's what I know about this summer. My as-always honest list.  Here's the thing you have to know about me, though. For every thing I'm willing to share, there are things I keep only for God.  That's the secret to being content, I think. Being transparent with those around me means not being afraid to say anything because I've said everything to God and HE tells me what and when to share them. My words are here governed by Him.  This might not always be true in person (I certainly am sometimes very impulsive) but it's ALWAYS true here.

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