Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Running Away From Home

I have an incredible friend who offered to keep my boys for five days.  (No, I will not email you her contact information :)).  Today is Day 3.  I talked to them last night and 2/3 wanted to come home.  This morning I texted with a friend who I am planning to sit with during her chemo treatment this afternoon.  She is the mother of ten.  Incredibly beautiful, holy, and wise.  When I told her that I would be there unless I had to pick up my kiddos, she said, "I never talk to my kids when they are away in the evening.  Things always look brighter in the morning."  Lesson learned.

Anyway, the past two days have been incredibly quiet, extremely productive, very relaxing, and awesome, in general. However, considering my time may end shortly, I've been thinking about what I enjoy most about being "free". 

*I like waking up early and not having to be quiet, for fear of waking someone up.
*I like choosing what to do next.  Filling up the hours of the day is fun, when you're not dragging a string of little people behind you.
*I like being able to run away from home.  Somewhere other than on my street, because I don't want to be out of earshot when my kids are home. 
*I like eating lunch out of town, just because I can.

In a word, I like the ability to "Go".  I never feel more free than when I'm heading out to cover some great distance.  Over the years (and prior to children), this has been on horseback, on foot, in a canoe, on a bicycle, or in a car.  On horseback, I competed in endurance riding.  Riding 25, 50, or 100 miles in a day.  My first experience with the sport was driving a truck and trailer for a lady (in a group) who did this across the Pony Express trail.  We were gone for two months, and they rode 2,000 miles.  Prior to that, I biked across Kansas the long way (which is about 400 miles), with a guy who pushed his way in a wheelchair.  After kids, almost every summer, my husband and I drive a long way, to hike a long way, in some part this incredible country.

One day, I'd like to walk across England (an article in a magazine that gave me that idea), the Appalachian trail, or the Continental Divide. 

I've never really thought about why these things appeal to me so much, but if I had to guess, it would probably be because I like to feel free.  I find God most easily in the quiet and in His Creation.  And when I spend a prolonged period of time in the quiet and in Creation, I find Him most profoundly.  There is also something planted deep within me that tells me I am made for a journey.  And when I perceive with all of my senses that I am covering distance with my Creator, that something rings true. 

We were not created to lead drab, narrow, or constricted lives, but to live in the wide-open spaces.  We find confinement unbearable, simply because we were created in the image of God, and we have within us an unquenchable need for the absolute and the infinite.

Interior Freedom, Jacques Phillipe

However, as much as these first thoughts are noble and true, there is also part of it that rewards my selfishness - the shedding of responsibility.  The escape.  Which just goes to prove that all godly things don't have to feel bad.  They can be good for God, and me.  And they usually are.  But, it doesn't really put life (especially a very blessed one like mine) in a very nice light - to talk about it as something that needs to be escaped from.  It is not a prison, or a plantation before the Civil War. 

Monotony, stress, exhaustion, etc... are only some of the accidental effects of any given vocation.  What you need to get hold of, and examine, and pray about, and give thanks to God for, and not allow to go to waste is the substance.  It is the vocation itself about which you must be sure:  when you have got the cause right...You will begin to see a pattern about your life.  It will not be a muddle of dreary duties that are mercifully interrupted every now and then by pleasures:  it will be a related whole; it will have unity.

The greatest pleasures in life are not those that are superimposed - any more than they are those that represent escapes.  The greatest and most lasting pleasures are those that emerge out of life itself.  They are these that come in virtue of the vocation, not in spite of it.  The taste of the fruit is not the sugar you put on it...As a rule, it is not that the fruit is bitter, but that we have a wrong idea of sweetness.

Holiness for Housewives (and other working women), Dom Hubert Van Zeller

*Note:  A vocation is a strong inclination to follow a particular course of action; a divine call to God's service or to the Christian life.

Back to unity and reality...I have three kids who have zero interest in riding their bikes beyond the park that's only two blocks away.  So, how do I create unity between these critical parts of who I am to them and what I want/need for me? 

For now, I will work it out in little ways.  Take the dog to Lick Creek park and "disappear" for a couple of hours.  Go swimming at the local pool until I can't pause long enough on the end to catch my breath.  Drive an hour to the National Forest and hike until I'm ready to stop.  Canoe the Brazos.  And of course, continually take my kids with me, as far as they're willing and able to go.

Which reminds me -  I am at home.  Alone.  And the day is stretched out before me.  Catch you later.

Dear Heavenly Father and Author of All That is Good,

Thank you for time to reflect on all of the good things You have given.  Thank you for the phone call while I was writing this that said "All is well. Everyone wants to stay."  Thank you for being available to me every second, of every minute of my lifetime.  Thank you for the wisdom of mothers who have raised ten children or any one child, well.  Thank you for a husband who I love to soak up the time with.  Thank you for the beauty and wonder of Your Creation, and the way it draws us to You.  Thank you for all of the opportunities in my life to set out on a journey.  Thank you for the journey I'm on now, and for those to come.  Please forgive my selfishness and help me always to recognize the substance of the work You have blessed me with.  Please bless all parents!  Especially those who are at home with little ones, who take two naps a day.  Please bless those on the other end of life who are dying from loneliness - The ones who would give anything to spend a day with a child.  Especially, Ms. Eva.  Thank you for this day, and all days.  Thank you for a home to be comfortable in. A home that I'm happy to leave and even happier to come home to.  I love You.  Amen.


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