Our family is experiencing changes faster than the post office raises rates.
Adjustments to our new schedule carry both widening space to exhale and twinges of tightness as old patterns of thinking and living become too small for a new routine.
I hear coffee chug, steep and steam at the fifth hour.
There are still three more before he leaves.
Number one son rises, silent, at the sixth hour and there are two more before he leaves.
Number two daughter wakes with words to spare at the seventh and there is one more before he leaves.
Number three son, always the wild card, bounds down the hallway and there’s still time for one more cup before he leaves.
He’ll return before dark. There will be lessons, meets, dinner, and homework before the order will reverse and they return to their beds hour by hour.
Can you hear it?
The deep driving rhythm of a daily routine drawing straight lines around a dashed life.
It’s difficult to keep life between the lines when they’re invisible. In our old, non-routined life, it seemed as if each time I caught a solid glimpse of steady, a giant eraser would drop from the sky leaving behind gaping holes, interruptions and life-sized eraser jib.
These are changes that can’t be heard with a neighboring ear. These are the kind that can only be felt in the center of a family and they have me drawing sheer panels over my windows and silencing iCalls.
A good friend once told me that she could sense my pregnancies, before we’d announced them, by my silence. In the extremes of life, I tend to draw inward. I’ve come to understand that honoring my soul means to give it space to process both heartbreak and elation.
Time alone, to silence the voices from the outside, allows us to walk through our own feelings and clearly sense the voice of God, in the middle of change.
As a verbal processor prone to indulgent self-doubt, I tend to over-share. I’ve learned the hard way that my emotional acuity remains pliable in times of transition when I give myself room to organize my thoughts. Time to pull apart layers of complex feelings, that when left unprocessed, form fiery licks of anger and cold, slimy contempt.
I haven’t always known this and spent years looking to friends and family for affirmation of my own perceptions and experiences. Verbal affirmation is heroin for my people- pleasing addiction. Learning to batten down the hatches has taught me to take my feelings of scrambled anxiety to the feet of Jesus and keep looking straight at him as my emotional DT’s subside.
I’ve learned to know and love myself in new ways by valuing how I’ve been created. And I’m beginning to love my family differently, better, as we dance behind drawn curtains to the beat of new lines and the occasional iRing.