All three of my girls have been gone all week long. Sarah is still making her way around her new (albeit temporary) life in Germany, with new friends and strong new bonds with family. Shannon and Sydni have been in Knoxville all week with the World Changers group.
David was with a friend Thursday night and Daniel went up to see his dad in Mechanicsville. Last night, both boys stayed with their dad.
So I had the house to myself.
It is striking to note the difference in my life, my mind, my way of thinking - pretty much EVERYTHING - when there are no children in the house. I miss them - sort of - but I also have this sense of reclaiming my self. Longer, coherent thought processes. A complete night's sleep. No energy extended towards managing their lives, spurring them on to good deeds, referreeing disputes. A little less clutter, only my own trail of life left in the various rooms of the house.
Oh, and the laundry's done!
I love them deeply, profoundly. And when I get a moment to breathe, it seems that I can love them from afar in a way that allows me to find myself outside of that love, rather than immersed and overwhelmed by the actions it requires. That's a fresh perspective for me. It's easier, sometimes.
Peterson's take on a bit from Ephesians in the Bible is interesting:
"Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that." Ephesians 5.1-2 The Message
"Mostly what God does is love you."
Love can be exhausting, in the 'giving everything' and the extravagance. It can be costly. If I'm to take this seriously, it seems that framing the intensity and distraction of my day-to-day life as a parent within the context of extravagant love alters the context somewhat. Rather than claim the current quiet of my house and my mind as 'normal'and the object of aspiration, perhaps I should consider it nothing more than refueling, refreshing and rest for the next round of love.