A week ago, I packed a suitcase, my parents came over to watch the kids while Jason worked, and I headed to a retreat center for the next 36 hours. On my own.
I spent my time resting, reading, praying, painting, resting some more, and wandering the grounds. When I got there, I turned on my camera and it was blinking “low battery.” I took that as a gift, walked around got some pictures in the first hour. Then when it died, I put it away with my suitcase and focused on where I was.
Everything in my mind stilled. I got a chance to look at some thought patterns that I have from a place of quiet. I got to dwell in God’s love.
One of my favorite unexpected things was the bit of freedom I tasted. If I wanted to go for a walk, I went for a walk. If I wanted to rest, I rested. If I wanted to paint or read, I did those things.
I wouldn’t trade this season of young kids for the world. I just didn’t realize how much of my life revolves around their schedules and needs. In normal life, if I want to rest, I need to pick a time that they are resting. If I want to read, I need to pick a time that they are resting or happily watching a show. If I want to go somewhere, I need to get all of our shoes on, make sure every one has gone potty or been give a fresh diaper. Then I need to think proactively about the needs that might come up while we are gone.
For those 36ish hours, I got to just be.
The presence to each moment that I experienced while I was at the retreat is something that I’m trying to bring back to daily life.
If I am rocking Ruby, I’m trying to be mentally present instead of thinking ahead to my to-do list for nap time. If I’m hanging out with Judah, I’m trying to be fully there in the moment with him. If I’m cooking dinner, I’m trying to notice the smells, sounds, tastes. When I drive I am paying attention to the feel of the wheel in my hands, to the houses and trees that go by.
It’s a discipline of slowing down and living the abundance of every moment. Good or bad.