Last weekend while Tad was enjoying his golf mecca, my homegirlbestfriend, Erin, came for a visit with her children. Not exactly a “girls” weekend, but close enough. Her older two are in the same grades as my older two (although the genders are swapped), and her baby is now old enough to “keep up” with my baby…I guess with having an older sister and brother, you just learn to keep up.
You know how it is when you have company–the host thinks they have to entertain. ESPECIALLY when there are six children involved. Also, gotta get the house in perfect order. Which, on a normal week for me, is hard, but during a week when I’ve been gone three days, and then the remaining two I’m at my kids’ school, makes it REALLY difficult.
PLUS, I decided this week, I’m ADD. Yeah, at 40-something I’ve decided that’s why I clean my house like I do (bouncing from one room to the next, never quite completing a task, and usually getting bogged down by looking at pictures, reading WHATEVER is in that room to be read, or deciding for some strange reason to begin an organization project–closet, drawers, you name it! ANYTHING to avoid finishing any one thing).
The GREAT thing about Erin–the reason I know her friendship is a gift!–is she really doesn’t care about the above. House doesn’t have to be “perfect” and an itinerary doesn’t have to be planned. So, although I wanted to “honor” her by some level of preparation, I wasn’t stressing. What got done, got done, and that was enough. No white glove treatment from her.
Here’s the funny thing, though. I STILL felt a need to plan something FUN for the kids. As it was, I felt bad ’cause there were family things we HAD to do–a school program Friday night and a soccer game Saturday. So, to “make up” for those “obligations”, I wanted something “fun” in the mix for her kids….they did endure 6 hours in the car to see us. Oh, yeah, since Erin works full time, my first thought was SHE needed something fun, too, by way of area entertainment not available to her in SC. My initial thought was coming up with something touristy in our area to see or do.
As I threw out possibilities, Erin didn’t readily jump on any of ’em. We talked til the wee hours of the morning Friday into Saturday, and as I went to sleep, I thought “Tomorrow we’ll do something fun……………”. Saturday we slept as late as we could, went to soccer and then came home for lunch; my thought was that we’d head out early afternoon.
But guess what? We never did. Lunch came and went…and we just talked… It was a BEAUTIFUL day, and somewhere in there, we decided to play tennis (our ‘hood has courts). I was THANKFUL that on one of my insane-bargain-shopping-binges I had bought enough tennis racquets at 75% off for ALL of us to play (and by “play” I mean we went to the tennis courts with racquets and balls, but I’m not sure what we did would qualify as tennis, lol. There was a version of ZacTennis going on, but that’s a whole ‘nother story). The big boys stayed at the courts and walked home, but the rest of us went back and began cooking dinner. I don’t think I had cooked in over a week, that being gone and scheduling thing going on, so home-cooked was more attractive than going out.
After dinner, we just kicked back on the sofa and continued the conversation. Later that night, Tad returned (a day early) from golf, visited with us a while before crashing from his 7-hour drive home, but Erin and I kept going til maybe midnight.
At some point, I guess because I’m s l o w, I realized THIS was what she wanted. The kids WERE having FUN just hanging and being kids! No agenda, no itinerary, no entertainment venue….basketballs & soccer balls & tennis balls & a wonderful creek & snacks & sleepin’ late & music & DVDs & games & (for the girls) stampin’…all right here.
And Erin and I…this beloved in my life who I rarely get to SEE…had EVERYTHING we needed…each other. It wasn’t just two girls talking non-stop, some of the time it was just “being”. Flippin’ through magazines, cleaning (with six kids, there WILL be stuff to clean, ADD or not), being in the presence of each other.
As I’ve savored the memory of Erin’s visit this week, I couldn’t help but think THAT is what God so desires of ME! Just to BE with Him. I don’t totally get what that means, but I think I saw a glimpse of it during my visit with Erin. At least a parallel of it.
Our culture doesn’t begin to understand the art of “being”; there is so much … NOISE … competing for our attention, I think it’s easy to lose your ability to HEAR anything! We’re over-stimulated, period. You know this, I don’t even have to explain further. And, yeah, I think many would agree that it’s not just “culture” that doesn’t understand “being”…it’s prevelant in the church as well. There’s just as much “noise” there–DO your Bible study, PLAN your quiet time, SERVE in ministry, ATTEND weekly worship services & choir & children’s programs…all that stuff. By while we’re doing all that…well…”doing”, have we missed intimacy with the Almighty? I have at times. It’s like I’m treading water while the stability of dry land is right in front of me… but I’d rather tread water because then I’m DOING something.
It reminded me of when the Lord spoke to Elijah:
“ “Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the LORD told him. And as Elijah stood there, the LORD passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. “
The winds and earthquakes and fires of life can consume me with their noise, at a minimum distract me from the better choices. But, oh, how I want to be still enough to hear the gentle whisper instead. I think King Solomon had a few things to say about spinning our wheels, too, but I’m tired of writing and I’m sure you’re tired of reading by now.
Oh, yeah, one of the COOLEST things was when I was talking to Erin about the thoughts I’m talking about with you…she had the same ones :). Kindred jinxes are the greatest!
p.s. A blog I came across (who knows how, but it’s where I got my Word Cloud from) had some interesting thoughts on how you can be still….great ideas, but sometimes it’s much easier for me to see why I can’t do something, than how I can.
p.p. s. Doesn’t Eugene Peterson in The Message crack you up with some of his translations?? “Step out of the traffic” for “be still”–you’ve just GOTTA love it! 🙂