My husband recently blessed me with an entire afternoon to myself. Looking at it as a mini-retreat helped me to narrow down how I wanted to spend those hours.
I decided to park in the downtown area and do as much walking as possible. This was the best decision I could have made. Less time in the car meant less driving in traffic and more time to clear my head.
I spent the first hour, at least, just reading in our new central library and standing on the rooftop looking out over the harbour. I was struck anew by the blessing it is to live in a coastal city. I found a little gem of a book on Saint Therese of Lisieux and let my heart be reminded that when I am over-stretched and over-spent, what I really need is an infusion of Divine love. To be reminded of who’s I am and why I live the way I do.
This led to a leisurely stroll through our city’s public gardens where I literally stopped to smell the roses. It is perhaps the thing I miss most about doing anything without children. Lingering. The slower pace of walking, taking in the sights, the smells, the sound of the birds and the wind in the trees. Deciding on a whim whether to go left or right without feeling pushed or pulled in all directions, or stopping to sit and just breathe it all in.
Imagine my surprise then when I found all but maybe a handful of people staring into their phones instead of appreciating the beauty that surrounded us. I am just as guilty of being on my phone at times as the next person but I couldn’t believe the number of people that didn’t look up from their phones once. Someone actually walked right into me because they had their eyes on a screen. That was enough to keep me from my phone for the rest of the day.
I don’t want to miss the gifts God is trying to give me. I don’t want to miss His voice trying to break through the noise of my daily life. I know it’s there. I have heard it. Felt it.
I remember spending many of my single days much like I spent this. Afternoons spent this way were a regular, normal, no-big-deal occurrence but now? All a gift. My time is not my own in the same way anymore. I am armpits deep in parenting and trying to keep some sense of myself, Katie, the person. The one that God made, loved, called and shouldn’t be left behind now that I am a wife and mother.
I am a child of God. Why is that so hard to remember? I think it’s because as primary caregiver and educator of my children, it’s easy to let myself believe that it is all on me.
For this, I have Jesus. He calls me to come away even for a few short hours to be reminded of His goodness and provision and love. When I know who I am, I look at my husband and children differently. I know who and who’s they are and it makes me a better wife and mom. When I know who God is, I can rest in His love. I can be sure that He is at work in my life and in our home, helping us to become more like Him.
This is strength for the journey.