It is the very silence I wished for all morning. After three hours of rocking, bathing, feeding, hush-hushing, and swaying my infant daughter, with her three older brothers living life at boy-volume in the background, this is all I have wanted all morning. Silence. Really, this is all I have wanted for weeks. Years, maybe.
A mama’s heart yearns for her children. Her heart yearns also for stillness. This afternoon the house is quiet. The baby finally sleeps. My husband packed snacks and fishing poles and boys into the car and drove off. With their departure, I found myself standing in the middle of our living room, eerie silence enveloping me. And it feels rough. The quiet I have fought ugly for, it doesn’t fit right. Because as I slip on leggings and pour another cup of coffee, wondering just how long this hush will last, one thought won’t leave my mind.
One day, this will be my normal.
One day, the house will be quiet.
One day, I won’t try to cram all of my work and rest into inconsistent, unreliable pockets of quiet.
One day, I will want the noise.
I don’t think I am ready for One Day yet.
It ends up that all those strangers I pass in the cereal aisle or at the playground are right.
I will blink, and this will pass.
I hear it mostly from those with children grown and gone. But here I reside in this middle place of chaos and noise, and the tension already threatens to unravel me.
I heard it again this week on the radio. Joanna Kraft, author of the book Just Too Busy, named ten of her tell-tale signs that she and her family are trading a life together for a life claimed by busyness. I listened as I pedaled my bike down the path by our home. “Number one can make me cry,” she explains, “because number one was: ‘I blinked, and my daughter was 17.’” I kept pedaling, thinking of my own babies at home. Thinking about how I come nearer and nearer each day to this sentiment rolling off of strangers’ tongues. One day my house will be quiet. From where I stand in this silent living room, that day feels a lifetime away. But I know, when I stand on the other side, in the home that finds itself mostly quiet, I will look back at a blink of time.
Time is perspective, after all; life lived at whatever pace we choose, whether by intention or default.
In eighteen days my oldest boy will turn seven. This week his wide grin lost another tooth. This week he spoke words I myself had to look up to define. I watch him struggle in this achy in-between place of boy and man.
He is seven. My life before him seems like another life. But also, only a blink.
Picturing him at seventeen looks like another life, too. But, as well, only a blink.
Yesterday we passed by a memorial. Flowers planted under a fence line next to a crooked wooden cross. A name, and “6.21.18”. A man of thirty-one years lost now to the river his cross stands beside. I thought of his tragic end, and then pictured an infant boy with his mama, a toddler boy running barefoot and wide-grinned in the grass with his siblings. Life is a blink.
The Psalmist warns us of this:
“As for man, his days are like grass;
As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
When the wind has passed over it, it is no more,
And its place acknowledges it no longer.” Psalm 103:15-16
I have often wondered about this, why God paints a picture of time so solemn and wanting in the Scriptures. A ‘handbreadth’ the Psalmist writes in chapter 39, which equals two-and-a-half to four inches long; this is the measure of our lives.
Wind. Grass. Here today and gone tomorrow.
A cross planted at the river.
But what about those three words nestled in between grass and wind? “So he flourishes.”
I am beginning to see this blinking business in a different light. A calling to grasp each grain of sand in the hourglass and make it count. A calling to flourish, as a flower, knowing that so soon this season will close. When the wind passes….. but before it does, we flourish.
So today I will sit and listen only to the quiet melody of the dishwasher whirring and the neighbor’s lawn mower, but I won’t become too comfortable with the silence. And I won’t long for its lingering. Because really, I don’t want it yet. My day will come, when the house is quiet. But right now? I wait for the baby’s cry to call me back to where I belong.
Raising kids stirs something deep in our souls — an innate knowing that our time is finite. Taking my kids outside in creation, I’m discovering how to stretch our time and pack it to the brim with meaning. God’s creativity provides the riches of resources for teaching the next generation who He is and how He loves us. Join our adventure and discover inspiration and resources for refusing rush, creating habits of rest, living intentionally, and making the most of this beautiful life!
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