early on in all this weekly travel we made his homecoming an event. in typical sarah elizabeth fashion, our middle daughter one friday night created a welcome home banner, complete with plugged in christmas lights. "i want to make sure he can see it when he drives up to our house in the dark," she explained. she knows her daddy returns tired too. his week is long. his days are longer. the distance from his family grows greater each week. how many more months of this long distance living?
dinnertime without dad is another thing. clearly we need his steady presence at the end of our oval shaped table. it has been strange these past months eating our weekday meals without him. i suppose the silver lining is now we all fit comfortably around the kitchen table intended to seat six. with rick gone, and one less body, it works. but not really. i'd much rather be smooshed together with one child perched on a pulled up stool, than have the extra space from a father on furlow. but it is the dance we are doing right now. this tricky dance of transition where we attempt to balance what we are leaving and where we are heading. we all feel it in some way. it is different for my husband who comes and goes, then it is for me. not easier, not harder, just different. then there's our teenage daughter. oh, how my heart breaks for her. people keep telling me how resilient and adaptable children are. and i have to agree, they are. but teenagers aren't really children and they aren't really adults and no matter what anyone says right now it's painful. it's just a plain old hard dance for her these days.
so we move on through our weeks in the whirlwind clash of closing down and gearing up. all of this as we approach the month of may -- the busiest season of all for those with school aged children, mind you. and when i peek into my calendar something in me wants to shut it back tightly and sneak it fast into the bottom drawer of my desk. something in me wants to pull those covers back over my head and pretend i have nothing to do and nowhere to go. how do i open my hands wide and willingly accept the long list of items in need of attention? mom's attention. my attention. how do i look across the breakfast table and meet the eyes of all five kids in need of me, one woman. how do i step into the dance and embrace this season of change. this season of mondays and fridays, of comings and goings, of the comfortably well-known and the utterly unknown. i'm not sure. if i'm being honest, i'm just not sure how to do it somedays.
but how about you? what's the dance you're doing right now? we all have them. mine might be unique to me, but the dance of life is intended for each one of us. we all have some kind of swaying which takes place in the midst of our given number of days. God hasn't left any of us to be perfectly still and sluggishly at ease. He wants movement in our life. it is part of the dynamic way He has created us. sometimes the dance is about living in the moment and wrapping ourselves fully around the present...and sometimes the dance moves us forward, faster than we'd maybe like to go, madder than we'd like to be, headlong into the future.
i don't know when i will get to it all. somedays i stare at the pile and realize i have no plan and begin to feel discouraged and clumsy. spinning. twirling. dipping. it all seems too much, feels too fast for my simple steps. it is at these weary moments though when i am most reminded about the reason we dance.
"let them praise HIS name in the dance; let them sing praises unto HIM with the timbrel and harp." (psalm 149:3)
i am reminded that it is not about dancing gracefully, but dancing gratefully. i don't dance for myself or even for my family, i dance to bring Him praise. and even a stumbling, clumsy gal like myself can do that when i keep my eyes on my partner...on Him. and my weary, overwhelmed self can rest in His arms when i stop trying to direct the steps and allow Him to lead. it may not be a slow country ballad...but even this wild dance can be a sweet song...a love song...when He leads.
there is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn
a time to mourn
and a time to dance.
(okay, i'll admit, shameless sharing of my girls and their ballerina photos...
emily and sarah - both in 2nd grade. bella's first recital is next monday!)