It’s been one week since we arrived home from a ten-day trip out east to see family and friends. I don’t like coming home.
Of course, I like getting back into routine. I like being in my own home with my own stuff. I like the simplicity of non-vacation life.
What I don’t like is saying goodbye. I don’t like the shock of quietness in my little apartment with August all day. I don’t like the reminder that my relationships out here are little seedlings while my relationships where I’ve just been are strong and hearty. Mostly, I always get the post-vacation blues.
August gets them too. I made a major mama mistake last Tuesday morning, taking August to his drop off art class a mere ten hours after our plane landed. I was thinking: “This will be good for him to jump right back into normal life! Plus, all three times he’s gone, he’s loved it!”
August was thinking: “Where am I? Where’s my mama? Where’s my grandma? Where’s the airplane?” He panicked and cried all morning.
It’s surprising to me how difficult this adjustment has been for him and, therefore, me (anyone noticed how slow I am at getting posts up the past two weeks?). At his grandma’s house, he had a big boy bed, which resulted in his nightly sneaking into grandma’s bed, which she (of course, who can blame her?) gladly welcomed. So, we’re on week two of screaming matches at bedtime, the boy throwing himself out of the crib, and my reading all the parenting/sleep-issues books I can stand to read. (Which probably isn’t much. I don’t have much patience for practical reading.)
His early rising (4, 5, 6 am) is also getting a little old. Without my prayer time early mornings while he’s still sleeping, I’ve been feeling out of sorts. And, just as the adjustment is difficult for August, I can’t seem to figure out how to spend my day aware of the Lord when I skip that time of solitude.
Though I have little to offer you today in terms of spiritual encouragement, I have been learning to practice the Benedictine exercise of Lectio Divina. The practice is based around the idea of reading scripture with one’s heart instead of mind. It means that as I read I try to imagine my heart floating over the words like a metal detector, asking God to whisper “Beep beep beep!” in my ear when I come to a word he needs me to hear. And when I hear it, ask Him what He means, why this word is loud enough for me to notice.
Last week, while reading Psalm 15, I felt drawn to the very first verse: “O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent? / Who shall dwell on your holy hill? “ (English Standard Version). The words “sojourn” and “dwell” kept rising above the rest on the page. Reading the ESV translation (which is known as a more exact translation of the original language, despite its choppiness) is a new thing for me. The NIV translation, which I’ve usually read, seems much more vague. It uses the words “dwell” then “live.” Since sojourning can be defined as temporarily residing, while dwelling suggests a more permanent stay, I felt that there had to be something to that distinction.
I’m not saying there was some magical moment of clarity, just a warmth that God had some encouragement for me in the midst of my lack of prayer and feelings of discouragement in bringing August back into his life in San Francisco. The warmth said this: There is a time where we sojourn in the Lord’s tent, when the spiritual balm is soothing and the presence of God is all encompassing. And there are times when all we can do is continue to dwell where we built our home long ago, on the hill of the Lord. On that hill we can know what we believe despite our doubts, we can pray despite our failures at depth and we can love our kids despite their full-time neediness.
So, Happy Thankful Tuesday. I’m thankful to be back home. I’m thankful for Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child and the four-step plan I now have for getting that boy to stay in his crib. And I’m thankful that I worship a God who simply calls me to respond to His faithfulness, not the other way around.