It’s late in the afternoon and I am busily preparing dinner. The kitchen window is open. We’ve been given a spring-like day in the middle of winter and the fresh air has filled the room, pleasantly mixing with the aroma of dinner cooking in the oven. Breaded chicken breast smothered in tangy Italian sauce and Mozzarella cheese. Warm rolls. Steamed vegetables.
As I pull hot baking dishes from the oven, I hear the sound of keys unlocking the front door. My daughter, purse and tote bag in hand, walks through the door and into the kitchen. She plops her bags on the bench in the hallway, hangs up her coat, and joins me in the kitchen. “I’m starved!” she says “Man! It’s Thursday already! I can’t believe how fast the week has gone!” I greet her with a hug. “I know! This week went so fast!” I say. “It seems like the weeks pass so fast lately!” We sit together and talk about our day. We sip refreshing cold liquid out of mason jar mugs, and breathe in the fresh air.
I am acutely aware of how fast time has passed – how fast it is passing – and as much as I enjoy the fresh air, I am intentionally breathing in the moments I have with my grown daughter. I know that it won’t be long before she will have her own home, her own kitchen, and her own people to greet her in the late afternoon while she busily prepares dinner.
I am in a quiet season. A time of rest, reflection, evaluating, and prayer. This season is changing me, sobering me, and quieting me so that I can hear and see more clearly. It is a season of accepting and learning contentment in a deeper way. I still have my family around me, but they are grown and busily running in and out of the house–to work, to school–their hearts now drawn to new and different loves. I have been offered more time to think in the quiet.
Most of the time I love the quiet. Yet, there are some days that I want to recoil from the reality that is thrust in front of me because of it.
There are seasons in life when time seems to stand still: Waiting for that college acceptance letter or to hear about a job you want. Wondering, “Will I ever meet Mr. Right? Is he the one? When will he propose? When will we get married? Will I ever be finished with school!”.
Then you begin to wonder if you will we ever be able to afford a home, you find yourself waiting for the pink line to appear on the pregnancy test, or you are two weeks past your due date. Will your newborn ever sleep through the night? Will your toddler ever learn to go on the potty? Will your 1st grader ever learn to read?
Exhausted, you find your self wondering if your kids will ever all be in school at the same time, so you can have some time to yourself. You wish the challenging teen years would end. (Oh the drama!) And, you wish they’d just grow up! Will she get a job? Will he get accepted to that school? Man! College is expensive! I’ll be glad when they’re done!
Time seems to stand still.
In this quiet season I am reminded that time is always passing, always changing us, always changing those we love even when it seems like it has stopped. Even when it feels like we are in a holding pattern, the reality is that time is always passing. Holding patterns don’t exist. Every moment has purpose and is fleeting. Time may seem to stand still, but it is moving. Always moving.
Breathe it in!
Breathe in the moments of your youth and the simplicity and freedom that come with it. Breathe in your singleness, the challenge of learning and studying, the mystery of dating, the excitement of new love, the anticipation of planning your new life together.
See the purpose and the meaning of each moment. The lessons learned while saving money for your first home, learning to trust while wondering if that pink line will ever appear on the pregnancy test, and the miracle of carrying a baby for two weeks longer than the doctor anticipated.
Embrace the moments with your newborn, your toddler, and your 1st grader. Relish the time you have with all your children at home, the opportunities to celebrate your not quite adult kids. See the opportunities you have to stand – and kneel – beside them in prayer, as she waits to hear if she got that job, and he nervously wonders if he will get into that school.
Breathe in the hard days, the every day mundane, the heart break, and the loneliness. Celebrate the little things, the small victories, the spring air, the normal, every day realities. Be intentional. Breathe it ALL in, and remember that time does not stand still. Our lives are made up of ALL the moments. Each moment is a building block that is molding us into who we are becoming. All are vital in the making of who are meant to be.
“Thanks for dinner, Mom!” She says as she rinses her plate in the sink. “You’re welcome. Thank you for being grateful!” I answer. She picks her bags up off the bench, and heads back to her room to get ready to leave again. I wipe down the table with a soapy sponge, fling it into the sink, and make my way to my own room to get ready for the evening. I am grateful for the gift of a spring day, a warm meal, and a few moments to breathe in TIME with my daughter.
And I am even more aware that time never stands still. It never has. It never will.
Breathe it in!