Last week, I can honestly say I’m not really sure why I was so incredibly busy…too busy to write, apparently. Looking back at my calendar, I had a date with my hubby (who was blissfully home most of the week), a doctor’s appointment, and…? Nothing else there. But life was apparently too much to take time to write. Sorry.
Sunday was a rainy day. Off and on showers most of the day, a rather unusual and comfortable August high in the upper 80s, and then some really impressive thunderstorms at night. I discovered that our sweet young aussiesoodle doesn’t mind storms, but incessant thunder and eye piercing lightning through every window for over 30 minutes is way more than she can handle. She put herself to bed an hour early in order to try and hide from the chaos of the skies.
Monday we awoke to fresh, clean air, free of dust or ragweed and a light, sunny breeze. Our morning walk was a pleasure. Until we discovered the fish. Yes, you heard me—fish. On the sidewalk. Two of them. One appeared to be a small bluegill, about four or five inches long. The other wasn’t much more than an inch, fatter than most minnows I’ve seen, but not as long as many.
These two fishy specimen were laying on the sidewalk as we walked along our neighborhood route. Our city neighborhood. Not the walk on the other side of our major city street that takes us to the park…and the river. No. The lined with houses and apartments, there’s no water near here, sidewalk. The one that runs next to a parking lot which runs alongside the road. Hardly any grass, much less water, sidewalk. Two fish. Side by side. About five feet apart, lying in dampness left by the rain. Seriously?! Since when does it rain fish?
This anomaly got me thinking about life. About how sideways life can get sometimes. How sideways my own life has been these past months. How I’m trying desperately to find balance in a sideways world, and most days it can’t be found. At least not easily. It’s like trying to find fish on a sidewalk. Well, maybe not that easy after all.
In the middle of all this fish fun, my sons and I began to notice that our sweet, young, not quite five month old puppy is showing obvious signs of becoming very interested in the opposite sex. Wait. What?! She won’t turn FIVE months until tomorrow, and absolutely EVERYONE has assured me she won’t reach “maturity” before she’s six months, at the very earliest!!! Surely we must be reading her signals incorrectly?
After a trip to the vet yesterday, I discovered my farm upbringing has served me well—I do in fact know the early signs of a dog coming in heat. So our sweet little sweetheart (who, by the way, is currently not so overly sweet due to raging hormones) will be having surgery next week. One month before originally scheduled.
And this weekend, my youngest son heads to Indianapolis to start his life as an adult.
The constant craziness of life in the real world. It never ends. Living life sideways. I can’t seem to find a level path anywhere these days. Life continues to throw me curve balls, like fish on the sidewalk. Everything seems to be just a little off balance.
I know that for my own inner well-being, silence, solitude, and stillness are key. I also know that in the fast-paced world we live in, these things don’t come easily. And in some seasons of life they aren’t found at all. I remember the early days of parenting, when our home was filled with the laughter and screams of small boys. Those needed moments of stillness and silence were indeed rare—and greatly treasured. I look back on those days with much fondness, but know in my heart that I’m thankful we are now in a new season of parenting.
But the worries and cares of this new home, as well as the added joyful burden of an extremely energetic—and currently emotionally volatile—young pup are reminding me of those sideways days of young motherhood. I find my energy, my emotional stability, my inner peace, all but extinct. Little things make me snap. There is little silence, much less stillness, to be found. And little time to close my mind and contemplate the Creator who made me and loves me enough to die for me.
“Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Isaiah 12:2 NIV
These words speak volumes to my weary soul. “Be still…” The means by which I have always found Him. Even when I don’t realize I’m seeking Him. If I can find stillness, He meets me in my need. My cup of peace is once again filled.
While the boys were small, I had to learn to snatch brief moments of stillness in order to maintain any inner—or outer—peace. I wasn’t always (hardly ever) good at it. I tend to be a nurturer by nature, and everyone else’s needs are seen as far more important than my need for quietude.
As my boys grew, and I found myself with longer stretches of stillness, I learned to soak in His serenity. Today I once again find myself in a season where I must learn to snatch and jealously protect the brief moments of hushful calm; and I’m once again learning that I don’t think of myself and my own needs enough.
As I looked down at those oddly placed fish, I felt their angst—much more than they did, as they were already long dead. I understood what it meant to be a fish out of water. When I don’t fill my cup by spending time with my Savior, I find myself gasping for breath, breathing foreign particles of stress instead of the life-giving, life-sustaining peace He brings.
The beauty of this moment as I sit writing is that the sweet young, ever wakeful, ever in motion pup was sitting quietly chewing her bully stick as I began. The silence of the normally noisy street outside, the quiet droning of the robotic vacuum inside, and my seeming inactivity has lulled the beautiful beast to sleep. The first real rest she’s had in days. My friends, we all need a little stillness and silence in our chaotic lives. May you, too, find yours.