Last night we sat watching our daughter sing at her Christmas concert. She was radiant and beautiful, but of course, we are biased. We are also exhausted. Bill is physically tired, all the time. He looks better at 48 then he did at 28, bulging with muscles and finding his shirts too tight on the arms. That's what comes from hard, heavy labor, from swinging a hammer, from holding up sheet rock, from construction and remodeling. After dinner, he is usually falling asleep on the couch by 7pm. I don't begrudge him a single moment of that blessed rest.
The only muscles in my body that are tired are my mental muscles. My brain. I am mentally weary, right now. Perhaps even emotionally weary. I have been taking in a lot of info, but not really responsible to decide anything by what I hear. Listening is hard work. Listening means hearing something but not always having something you can do about what you hear.
So this morning, after I got everyone off, and Harry threw his toy around the room in an unusual burst of energy, I walked around my little house, hearing the icy rain come down, feeling so utterly grateful for the silence. And even feeling thankful for my little house.
I have not always been thankful for where I live. I never liked this house. I barely looked around in it when we told the realtor, two and half years ago, "We want to make an offer on it."
We had just returned from a year living in North Carolina- a type of sabbatical we had created for ourselves. It was a year where we delighted in southern warmth and graciousness, hated living in a house rental, and tried to find if down there might be a path for us that continued onward. When we returned to the great northeast (hear my sarcasm?), the housing market was hot and heavy. Crazy, really. We knew enough about housing values to not try to compete and pay top dollar for something that would decrease in value within a year or two.
So when we found our ugly ranch for sale, and found out the low asking price, we thought this could work. We spent more time looking around the full walk-out basement than we did looking at the ugly upstairs, because this is where the potential was. This is where we would do something, where we would finish off the lower level and create a little extra space for us to breathe.
Two and half years later, it looks like a warm, rustic retreat in the woods. Turkeys and deer cross our back yard. Squirrels frolic and birds fly from tree to tree to tree. It is my own personal retreat center. Not my dream house.Not my spacious place to stretch out in- but it is home. We've lived here longer than we thought we would because we have not sensed it was time to go on to another remodeling project.
Waiting is hard work. Waiting to do something significant and meaningful can feel like an elephant sitting on your chest or like a muscle man holding back your arms. But there's always work to be done while waiting.
Even if you are waiting for an opened door, a sign from God, a way to go, there is still unfinished business to attend to. I'm not just talking about filing, sorting and organizing. (I have come to hate that word- organization. Too much is praised as being organized. An organized life- what is that?! An organized family- I've never met one. I've only met people who think their life is tidy and organized. They are, though, just one step away from a sudden turn in the road that throws their planning out the door and opens them up to the unknown).
Unfinished business can include settling your own thoughts about a relationship, deciding how to view yourself in light of something or someone who might make you feel not so sure of yourself or your freedom. Maybe it includes finally deciding how you will "redeem the time" while you are waiting for an open door.
Some of the most determined people I know don't go around saying how determined they are. They just wear a look on the face that says I mean business. My kids have seen me wear that look. When their playful taunting of me enters into a different territory, watch out. No matter how weary I get, don't press me too far in disrespecting me. I'm your mother. I may be petite but I mean business!!
Now I'm not sure what unfinished business I have to take care of. I only know that I do have some to deal with. I can tell because I am walking slower, dreading certain encounters, and not wanting to talk much. I am very conscious of my sub- conscious understanding that there is a cost for declaring your priorities, your values, your progress that you intend to make. The progress includes walking away from any falsehood, especially lying to yourself. The truth will set you free, but it will also catapult you into new territory that you already know is rough terrain. Not impossible terrain, but rough, uneven.
I found this passage in the Message version of the Bible. It says what I'm dealing with, what my heart longs for:
Barricade the road that goes Nowhere;
grace me with your clear revelation.
I choose the true road to Somewhere,
I post your road signs at every curve and corner.
I grasp and cling to whatever you tell me;
God, don't let me down!
I'll run the course you lay out for me
if you'll just show me how.
When you deal with things that hold you back, you wind up walking or even running in the path of His commands. Graced with clear revelation, you decide to deal with things that must be dealt with, so that you can walk a step farther on the true road to Somewhere.