As I mentioned before, my goal for this Lenten season is to “declutter” from the inside and out. So far, I must say, it has been very freeing. There are a few things that I have cut out such as excess time on facebook, e-mail and texting, among other things, that I didn’t think would make such a difference, but taking these distractions out of my life has carved out some time and space that I didn’t even know was there. I have also been trying to resist the urge to plan something for the kids, or my husband and I, on any free time we may have. In the words of my wise mother, I am learning to just “be”.
During my high school years, I was constantly running from school to sports practices, games, and other extracurricular activities during the week. On most weekends, I’d want to spend time with my friends. There were times when my mom wouldn’t allow me to go out and insisted that I stay home. When I’d ask her why, she’d say, you just need to learn how to “be”. And if that wasn’t bad enough, I couldn’t even watch television while I was home away from all the fun. Of course I would throw a fit and tell her that she didn’t know what she was talking about but now, years later, I am starting to see the wisdom in her reasoning.
I strongly believe that one of the main reasons I don’t get bored as an adult is because of these years of “training” from my mom (and thank God for that because I have a lot of moments to myself as a PW!). Not only did I just learn to keep myself busy with a ton of different hobbies, reading, etc, but it was in those moments of quiet that I felt an emptiness that eventually led me into my journey with the Lord. Without having a second of quiet in my life, I may have never felt my desperate need for God and the bitter taste of life without Him. It was in those moments of just “being” where I could reflect on my life, when I tried my hardest to avoid it. God was always there, but in those moments when all the noise was moved away, I could finally see Him.
As a mother now, I can see how hard that must have been for my mom to tell me no when I’d ask to go out with friends or busy up my schedule. We parents take absolute joy in giving to our kids and allowing them to do things that make them happy. My kids are only 2 and 4 and it breaks my heart when I have to tell them no. I have the tendency to fill up their free time with playdates and activities so that they’ll be “enriched”, social, and entertained. But I often wrestle with the thought that, just as my mom did to me, I need to teach my children to just “be”. In fact, I believe that it is my responsibility as a mother to train my children in this "just being" way of life that has even become hard for us adults these days.
I need to trust that the same God who met me in those quiet and empty moments can and will meet my children too, even at their young age, and His presence- more than any activity, playdate, or form of entertainment- will enrich my children in more ways than any of these things can- I just have to believe it!