Finding Joy


photo credit:  one of my kids--I'm not sure which one

I am compelled to write down what I am feeling and thinking . . .

Each day is so utterly overwhelming as to be impossible to describe . . .

I cannot think beyond any single hour . . .

Anything more leaves me breathless . . .

Though I do meal plan and grocery shop one week at a time.

I've felt sad and tight and angry and trapped for many, many days . . .

Then this post appeared about a week ago . . .

And I wanted to cry because I am struggling to love my family life--struggling to find the joy I once had.

I had no idea what to do . . .

Nor how to do it . . .

I just kept putting one foot in front of the other . . .

And I couldn't even pray about it . . .

My prayers have been utterly incoherent jumbles of gratitude for surviving the day and pleadings for the next day's survival . . .

But a loving Father knew the soreness of my heart and answered . . .

"Slow down."

Slow down?  I'm so slow as to be barely moving!

Nonetheless,

"Slow down."

The babies have refused to nap well, so I've been rocking them and singing to them for longer and longer periods of time . . .

That has slowed me down.

Ladybug's social worker has refused to make a decision about bringing her home, so we're indefinitely moving forward with school.  I have to wait for her bus to arrive each day.  There is a half hour window for drop off.  I need to be ready and waiting for her, so each day I pick up my unfinished knitted wash cloth, and one row at a time, while I wait, I've finished the wash cloth (made of melon-colored cotton) and have begun a winter scarf (of soft gray wool).

That has slowed me down.

Yesterday afternoon was summer warm.  The kids begged to fill the wading pools with water.  I said yes and sat on the porch while they played.  I packed away the chicken I'd cooked for dinner for another night, cut a watermelon from the vine on which it was growing in our garden, sliced some cheese, tore some bread in pieces, and served an impromptu picnic for dinner . . .

We skipped baths--after all, they'd been playing in water for 2 hours--and went straight to jammies when we came in all shivery and cold . . .

Later I made and served fresh oatmeal cookies for a bedtime snack . . .

That was a slow and lovely evening.

In the slowness I am finding peace . . .

I am finding joy . . .

Along the way I'm still getting the laundry done, the kids fed, the doctor's appointments kept, and having a bit of school each day . . .

I hope it is enough . . .

It will have to be enough . . .

Because I just have to have joy to live.

Comments

  1. I promote the slow-down movement--what I call the "sitting-on-the-front-porch-watching the-children-play-and-watching-the-world-go-by" movement (like when I was at my Grandma Belle's farm as a child, sitting on the porch after dinner, watching evening descend, everyone "just being")--but the way you so perfectly and beautifully describe it brought new inspiration for the fruit of its practice...

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    Replies
    1. Yes, it is in sitting on the front porch that I find myself breathing out the frustrations and seeing the children with joyful eyes.

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  2. I'm bookmarking this post to reread when my baby arrives. We are in such a lovely routine right now (everything is working pretty much!) and I know that is all going out the window in a few weeks. I'm excited that baby is coming but I dread the upheaval and feeling like I can't keep up. I don't look forward to the acting out on the part of the little ones who suddenly have to share momma with another person - one who gets first dibs. Or the sleepless nights. I know slowing down will be the answer. I just need to remember it!

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    1. I'm terribly excited for you! And I know just what you mean . . . it always seems that our schedules and lives fall into a perfect rhythm just before a baby arrives, and I have to work hard to remember that the changes that come with a baby are a blessing. I wish you joy in your final weeks of pregnancy and I wish you a wonderful delivery!!!!

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  3. I love a slower life. I love sitting and rocking babies and crocheting (I haven't demanded of myself that I learn how to knit yet) and just being. I don't run kids to endless activities. I love to curl up with a good book. Perhaps the blessing of a new baby is the required stillness to feed him. You have 4 new babies. I think stillness to learn about them each is wisdom. Things will smooth out and routines will emerge.
    Surely this is one blessing of homeschooling, a flexible schedule. Your Sons of Thunder, I'm thinking, might need some stillness too. I love reading about your dear ones. You are exceedingly excellent. No sprints or marathons, just life and love.

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