"Being in a hurry. Getting to the next thing without fully entering the thing in front of me. I cannot think of a single advantage I've ever gained from being in a hurry. But a thousand broken and missed things, tens of thousands, lie in the wake of all the rushing.... Through all that haste I thought I was making up time. It turns out I was throwing it away."
Ann Voskamp 1000 Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are
I look for art, books, stories, people who feed my soul, and whose life serves to feed my mind and heart long after I have left them. And so, I love how God has crafted Ann Voscamp into such an artist. Her words feed and deeply touch my soul. I am so grateful she leans her ear toward His voice and then faithfully paints word pictures that express my heart. If you haven't bought her book, you must be sure to do so. Here is where you may order it.
This summer, I am teaching myself to linger. It is not natural for me, one who is and has been in a hurry for so long. But in the hurry, I have missed the miracles of moments.
Now, however, my every day with my children is a gift. They are vibrant, strong, idealistic, godly, loving, fun and wonderful. They still make messes and even sin once in a while, but oh, what life and beauty permeates my home with their presence. But when they give me a day, I am blessed. All will be gone except for Joy this fall, and so I am trying to groom myself to listen, to look, to love and to really see the miracle before me.
I learned this lesson many years ago on the occasion of a birthday.
On Joy's fifth birthday, I planned a party that I thought I would please her. Too much effort to clean the house so that the moms of the kids I invited would see an orderly house, kept me from focussing on my precious birthday child. I was Martha-ing about putting out cake, balloons, favors, making finger sandwiches, planning what I thought she would like--all the while looking at the day from the grid my adult eyes.
The children came and in just two hours, they fought over the toys, spilled the red punch on another little girl's favorite dress, one little boy threw a toy across the room and hit another little girl in the head and made her cry. It was a memory of messes, crying, friction, stress and Joy was unhappy the whole time, feeling that she was trying to please me by staying at the party.
When the all the guests finally left, I heard a "pound, pound, pound of feet running across our deck. I walked out of our kitchen door and glanced into the afternoon shadows playing tag with the fading sun over our mountain, and there was sweet Joy.
Dressed in her old, slightly stained and torn favorite ballet suit, she was running, giggling across the deck with a bubble wand at her head level with bubbles flying out behind her. I stopped and sat on our picnic bench and just gazed at her as the sun went down. For an hour she played and ran and delighted in the beauty of her bubble parade. I took it in, I cherished the picture in my mind, and chastised myself for missing the glory of her beauty and youth in the busyness of my tirades to fulfill my expectations of the party I thought would make her happy.
"Oh, Mommy!" she exclaimed, "This is my favorite time of my whole day! I am having sooooooooo much fun. Thank you for giving me such a wonderful present."
She climbed into my lap with milk mustache sprinkled with cupcake crumbles, sticky bubble juice on her hair, and snuggled up with a happy sigh.
And so, I melted into her little body, breathing in the atmosphere of her pure-hearted, innocent love. I did then cherish the moment and took the time to take a soul photograph whose imprint will be there forever.
And so tomorrow, before Joel moves away on Thursday, I will live in every moment, celebrate all the sweet fellowship that is right in front of me, no matter how many dishes they use, or whatever noise they make. All of it will be precious and priceless and I redeem the moments for memories to visit next week when they are all gone.