I have been so consumed with myself. That's why I haven't been able to share myself.
We just had a wonderful week in a truck-camper at a small lake in Michigan, with our son Jon, his daughters Sarah, 2, and Abbie, 7, and our 11-yo granddaughter Gracie. Gracie and I took time for an overnight trip to Chicago, by train, just the 2 of us. We had never been anywhere alone together except maybe Wal-Mart or Kroger's. It was a special treat.
So were the next couple days at the lake, our family, swimming, playing on the playground, catching minnows in buckets, and visiting or being visited by many family members we rarely get to see.
Kind of crowded in the little truck-camper and even more so riding to and from in the truck itself, but togetherness is what it's all about.
In case you're wondering..... we sold the RV in which we'd lived for the past 5 years. We live only in my mother's house now, keeping her company and making sure she's OK, and have recently gotten the truck-top camper, which sleeps 5 somewhat comfortably. It was our first trip in it. Next month we'll take our grandson.
I had much, very much care of the 3 young ones during this time. Gracie's 11 and needed companionship and alone-time more than she needed care. (Except when she tripped on an escalator in flip flops and mangled her toe; she needed care then.) So I applied myself to caring for the little girls, and making room for downtime for the hardworking men and the almost-woman girl, who loved floating on a raft without little ones tethered to her. During the week I got in one run with Jon (sprained my ankle) and one 20-min lap swim while Jon took all the girls out on a pedal boat. I worked to give each member of the family some of myself all week, and I didn't have that stressed out feeling I get when I whine about there not being enough of me to go around. Just giving myself up to the needs of the others, encouraging them to help themselves and the others when possible, thanking them for doing so, doing it for them if they didn't, speaking gently even when I wanted to raise my voice to get a response..... it went so smoothly because I took along a lifelong friend that I haven't been in close touch with for some time but who was thrilled to go along and help out and spend time with me.... Jesus. What a help he was, how pertinent his suggestions, how soothing his frequent "That's OK, I'll handle it." He's gently pointing out to me places where my words will add to the conversation, and places where it will just muddy the waters. Often I spew in words about some similar experience and start realizing that no one is listening, they've started other conversations.... they don't care what my experience was. If they do, they will ask me. If they don't, I'm off the hook, don't have to worry about how what I said came across.
Talking less doesn't mean I'm withdrawing. I pray it's the beginning of greater fellowship, now that I realize I'm here to appreciate and help them, not to yak about my own passions, roadblocks, burdens fair or unfair, whether other people's opinions are right or wrong...those things shouldn't be important to me. All that matters is saying what God nudges me to say, and he's provided me with some pithy stuff this week.
And with that I'll leave you all wondering till another day.
On this trip I learned major things:
- It's not about me.
- Pray without ceasing.
- All things work together for those who love God.
I can face life again.