Friday, November 09, 2007

Wildly wide awake

Friday night is "movie night" in our home, and while this once might have included overpriced popcorn and previews too violent for open eyes, of late it has been movies like "The Rookie" or "The Muppet Movie" with microwave popcorn for four. If my week has been like most of my weeks are, about 15 minutes into the movie, I'm attentive and watching, and about 30 minutes into the movie, I'm sound asleep.

Being awake on this Friday as the clock pushes on toward midnight feels positively reckless....particularly when I need to be at work at 8am for a conference. But I'm awake, nonetheless, and wild though that concept might be, tomorrow evening will bring a nap, I hope. Matt and the kids are away, visiting his parents while I trudge through a variety of work and school events that would have me feeling like a poor, absent parent if they were home, but attentive and loyal to my employer with them away.

It's strange to be alone in the house. I'm never alone in the house. When I open the door at 5:30 or 6pm each evening, I see Matt typically standing at the stove, and the first child to see me yells, "Mommy's home!" and comes rushing toward the door for a hug. It is a moment of bliss in days that are sometimes stressful and long. So what to do when they are away and there are no sounds, no hugs, no dinner on the stove when I come in?

First of all, I attended a concert. It was more the type of concert I would have attended in college than now--Bethany Dillon, Sanctus Real and Steven Curtis Chapman. I've been a casual fan of the music of Bethany and Steven for some time now, though, and they were playing down the road for a more than reasonable price. I won't enter into the full existential crisis I experience when I attend so-called Christian events and try to determine my current fit in that crowd. I will simply say that I enjoyed the message of love--the message that right now in this moment I am being are being loved...we are all being loved. And I enjoyed that Steven was up there playing with his two sons in the band--the 18 year old on guitar and the 16 year old a maniac on the drums. It was a wonderful illustration of how we might grow and learn and change with our kids. It was a reminder that I really, deeply, truly love my family. As I drove home, I did something I almost never do--I spoke aloud to God. I asked God--whether Being, Force, Big Person on High, Bold Idea in my Mind, Energy, or Pure Love--to open my eyes wide to the gift of my family.

I returned home to a still-quiet abode--listening attentively for any scratching or scurrying to indicate that the mouse Matt cheerfully released from our basement earlier had returned. Luckily no sounds--and so far no mouse. (I told Matt he would return home to a feline member of the family if a mouse pops in for a visit while I'm here alone.) I walked down to the basement (showing the mouse I'm not afraid!) and noticed for the first time all the wood Matt has been diligently stacking in the basement to keep us warm through the winter. It is literally stacked from floor to ceiling, and with it, the woodstove hums happily of heat for the whole house. Signs of Matt's love for us and his care for our home are everywhere, but particularly evident these days in the basement. We have an extra refrigerator/freezer combo stacked with food primarily purchased by him to be prepared almost exclusively by him. Where piles of laundry could sit are stacks of empty baskets--the clothes are clean and put away. And yes, of course, there is all that wood--as much as my eyes could take in. God was answering my prayer--I was noticing, seeing, and fully appreciating this member of my family.

I came upstairs to write this tale of love, of prayers answered, of satisfaction for having what I have and being where I am, and suddenly an alert popped up to add my in-laws' Skype address to my contacts list. As I was writing about the bliss of this knowing and noticing, I actually had a chance to see and speak with my muse of the moment--and now my eyes are not only open, I am wildly wide awake. Noticing. Appreciating. Feeling grateful.


Sue said...

What a beautiful post -- I'm glad you stayed up to experience it ... and write about it. I just hope you're not paying for it today! :) Ever since we moved here, after our experiences, I have been speaking/praying aloud more and more (in the car, usually, like you) and I find that it's a truly powerful thing to do ... to trust that you CAN indeed speak, and God listens -- always. It's always with caution that I pray to have my eyes opened to something or other, but in your case it was a beautiful gift. It's nice to be reminded of that love, and how truly you have been blessed. I doubt you would have had this same experience had they not been away for this short period of time. "Alone-ness" can, at first, be unsettling (mice and all! At least they're not BATS) ... but you saw the treasure in it. I'm glad for you.

OK, I kind of got stuck on the fact that SCC has children who are of those ages -- 18 and 16??!! Is it possible? Yikes ... why does that feel so WRONG?! :) (Considering the fact that he dove in the good end of the gene pool, not looking much more than 18 himself ...). I'm glad you had a chance to go to the concert. Can you picture me doing that? Alone? With lots of people?! I'd rather stack wood in a basement ... :) hahahaha!

Love you ... Always.

Grampa Peter said...

On Thursday when I was saying good-bye to Father, and talking about our special bond..he said to me, "Peter we have been in a lonely vocation, but we have never been alone." There IS a difference between loneliness and being alone. I struggled when Mom died being lonely and alone...I still live 'alone' but as I told Father on Thursday, as I kissed him and gave him my grateful blessing, and received his, thanks to him, and God I'll not ever be alone, and included Nana in that blessing..and I can come into my small apartment, shut the door and celebrate the aloneness. I'm grateful that you and Heather are my daughters, that Matt, Kyra and Lucas compliment this wonderful family...