It’s Friday morning, the sun is streaming through the windows our living room, highlighting the vast amount of small people smear marks all over the place. I shall resist getting out the window cleaner until the sun disappears tomorrow and the marks are hidden once more.
I’ve just been for an 8k run up and down the green hills around the back of our house.
Martyn Joseph is pounding out of my speakers in an effort to drown out the loud silence all around the house. For the first time in a year the house is still. There is no-one asleep upstairs, there are no small people running around demanding I play with them. There is just me, a hot cup of tea and a whole load of space. (actually 3 hours of space but still, 3 hours…)
We have had a week of starting to learn the art of long distance running. We have slowly figured out what combination of routine works best in the morning, how to get us all dressed and fed in fairly good moods and ready to head out of the house to face the day. Mostly it works when I have coffee and Bible first thing, then shower, then interaction with my lovely family. Mostly it works if son1 gets dressed before husbandface leaves for work. Mostly we are learning.
Son2 has settled into the world of nursery in a week of great change, no longer is the beloved Daddy around all the time and now he is hanging out in the place he’s briefly visited for over a year. Now he has a book bag of his own and can choose a book each day to take home. Now he has his own lunchbox and water bottle. Now he gives me his huggle, kiss and a smell and then heads off to play. I now return home three times a week with no children around me. I think this world will take some getting used to.
Already I feel lighter, more able to cope. Already, though, I have all the feelings about this new stage, relief that we’ve made it through the baby and toddler years, gladness that finally I have my craved for space after 5 years of waiting. Wonder that we’ve made it this far, amazement at the two delightful boys who trail up the hill together. I also feel the fear of sending them out into this world, knowing I cannot control the choices they make, knowing that they will get hurt and hurt others. I feel the call to make this home their safe refuge in the midst of all their storms. I feel the terror of what next and the hope of what next and the daily daily daily just keep putting one foot in front of the other and we’ll get there. I feel the call of the ordinary wonder, the meaning in the unseen, the reality of a God who is in All Things.
I ran and ran today, not chasing the speed of the sprint but the long long long slow pace of someone who just needs to keep moving. This appears to be my metaphor for the year, long and slow. Not rushing. Being here. Loving the people around us. Not wishing time away in dreams of a converted van (one day, one day…), not scared of what this empty space means, not rushing to find the meaning because the meaning is already here. The meaning is in today. Looking up, looking around, noticing the world and having the strength to keep on putting one foot in front of the other.
I have no idea what shape the space of these hours will take but for now there is a book and a sofa awaiting me before I eat lunch and pick up the smallest of our team. That’s a good kind of small.
How’s your week been?