And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.-- Colossians 3:15
The other night I took a moment (literally, one minute) to myself and sat on my new-to-me wicker set on our front porch. I drank in the remarkably cool June evening air, listened to the cows ripping up mouthfuls of lush grass, the chorus of cricket frogs & bullfrogs & American toads trilling, the distant booming of pre-fourth of July fireworks. I watched the blinking of fireflies and breathed out tension from the day.
That was all I needed.
Then I returned back inside and was greeted by the heartwarming sight of my children crowded around their father, pouring over beautiful rocks that he had tumbled when he was a child himself.
The stillness of the evening, and the "me-time" was only so valuable because it was balanced by the wonderful fullness of our life. The busy fullness gave it its value. And I was thankful for the perspective it gave me, and the happiness I felt to be able to open the door to the cheerful din of children's voices.
Even without five children, life can very often feel rushed & chaotic, at least at certain times. Envision the "classic" Thanksgiving meal where the family gathers around the table... muttering and exhausted. The times of plenty are also the times of hard work.
Apparently this perspective was just on my heart, because I also thought of it as I was in frantic house cleaning mode earlier that day. Scrubbing off crayon scribbles on the walls and grubby fingerprints on the stair railing. Instead of giving in to the natural response of having a grumbling spirit, and dwelling on how much work the kids make for me, I reflected on how overwhelmingly thankful I was to have children to put grubby handprints all over the house. I am not always so successful in directing my thoughts, but when I am, what a difference it makes! Cleaning up after our busy, rambunctious family left me feeling grateful instead of griping and disheartened.
The breaks and little vacations that we give ourselves -- the little moments of quiet, the escapes away from the day-to-day -- are valuable, but not because that is how we want our life to be all the time. They are valuable for the breath of fresh air they can bring to our "real" life, for gaining a refreshed spirit so we can better dive into the daily grind. They are valuable as a time to reflect on God's goodness and all the blessings we have to go back and enjoy.
So, "..give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!"
-- Psalm 107:1