'The greatest gift God graces a soul with is His own presence.' - Ann VoskampIf that's not true, I don't know what is.
And it's the truth that I find the hardest to make real, the most difficult to remember. I have lived all these days upon this earth and there are some things I know.
But this...this blessing of presence that fuels and fills; this is the thing that slips beyond my grasp, all too often.
Today, I had the gift of time. Long, luxurious, uninterrupted. And I think to myself that if only I could live like this...then I would feel that I had a life. Something that mattered.
And then I think to myself that is nonsense. Your life matters.And it does, of course. I do meaningful work.
I'm just not paying attention.
I don't feel like A Woman Who Does Too Much, although it is true; I am always busy, always in motion, always working in snippets and snatches of time. But these days, they feel so differently to me. The ebb and flow of what seems like a grown-up world, where the moments are ordered according to me and my schedule - rather than that of my children - this feels unusual. And freeing. But harder, a difficult freedom.
Here's the problem I am seeing, slowly, as the light of Advent burns just a bit brighter: The real, raw work of motherhood - though it stretched and tore me at times - was manageable and measurable. Place to go, conversations to have, projects to finish. Things To Do, with collaborative feedback and a walking, talking, living evaluation. Tangible results, in the children born to my arms. Granted, I am still a mother; but they are all older, and it is different. The needs are different - not necessarily lessened, but quantitatively on a whole other level.
And so what matters? I see it and feel it, but in fits and spurts. I soak in it when all my offspring surround me. I ache for its absence when they are gone. And when you have five children and the bulk of the last 23 years has been grounded in the raising of those five kids, the sudden 'freedom' opens up to a lot of uncharted territory.
Ann Voskamp quotes Charles Spurgeon in The Greatest Gift: "It is no use for you to attempt to sow out of an empty basket, for that would be sowing nothing but wind."
Well aware of that concept, I am. But in these waiting moments, in this Advent, God whispers a new setting for me, a new call to be filled and to be still.
To be with.
To be made new.
This, exactly, is what I need. It is the emptiness, defined.
It is the fullness, promised.
"...lingering enough to really listen - to everything..."
I am waiting.