Friday, October 10, 2014

Investing Now

Yesterday afternoon the children and I took a drive up the canyon by our home.
It was as if the mountains were on fire with color. 
It took my breath away, and the boys kept complaining as I continued to stop and snap pictures.  
Every place I looked, each bend in the road, gave my eyes beautiful surprises.  
I wished, more than once, that it was evening and I was out walking in the quiet, taking in the colors when the sun wasn't so bright.

Then, last night, after dinner, they came into my room to listen to our chapter book read-aloud.  
I nursed Claire, Mia lay on the bed beside me, and the boys were on the floor.  We read the final three chapters of Caddie Woodlawn, a book I loved as a child, but had not read since.

(the most successful selfie we got of all of us, which isn't great)

When I read the last sentence, I was disappointed it was over.  It was beautiful and wholesome, laced with virtue and lessons about being people, living honorably, growing up, family, hard work, and living with simplicity.  

I remembered why I loved it, and we promptly got on Amazon and ordered the book that follows it, which I haven't read.


(I really am only posting this one because I love it of Mia)

As I read this paragraph to them, I was reminded of our afternoon, of the beauty of autumn.  

"It seemed to Caddie Woodlawn that she had never known a more beautiful autumn than the one which followed.  Goldenrod and asters bloomed yellow and purple and lavender along the side of every road, and swept in bright waves across the fields to the woods.  In the woods the oaks put on their gayest colors.  Every shade of red they flung against the clear blue sky, from a soft pinkish lavender to deepest crimson, and the silver birches trembled and shivered in their thinning gold."
(watching them ahead of me on the road today)

Don't you want to curl up in a blanket and just read that again?

Now, as I'm sitting here writing about it, it has led me to thinking about this.
I know, like the colors, like the days rapidly becoming shorter, like the warm afternoons shifting to cooler temps, that things of eternal consequence are happening -- right now.  That, despite how it sometimes feels, everything is constantly in flux and time is slipping away and that moments and decisions and conversations and relationships matter.

Family matters.
My children matter.
What I do matters.
How I spend my time matters.

And the only way I can grasp some of that beauty to last, and really last,
is to invest now.

There's that saying that we plant June roses so we can enjoy them in the Decembers of our lives -- so I guess that's what I'm thinking about.

Sometimes I really just want to (and do) get angry and raise my voice and feel frustrated with my kids.  I struggle to see the longevity of a personal plan for me, for what lies ahead, for the hurdles that have to be negotiated and figured out.

I thought about this while reading from Caddie earlier in the book, when her father talks to her about becoming a woman.  He talks about women teaching "...gentleness and courtesy and love and kindness...a...task...harder than cutting trees or building mills or damming rivers.  It takes nerve and courage and patience, but good women have those things. ...A woman's work is something fine and noble to grow up to. ...I want you to be a woman with a wise and understanding heart, healthy in body and honest in mind."

I figure the best way I can do that is to pray and plead and be aware that if I invest now, it won't all slip away.  And sometimes I feel like a hypocrite because, despite that being the desire of my heart, I frequently fall so far short of what I would like to be.  I worry about what my actions and words are proclaiming, even as I try to aim high.  
But I guess there's this.
As a mother, I am always planting.  
And as an individual, I am always planting.  
I can choose to do a half-hearted job, or throw everything into it.  
It isn't always pretty, and a lot of the time I am not happy with my performance.  
 It does have my heart.  
And my heart and their hearts are worth investing in.  
When I look back on my life as a woman, and as a mother (as two separate parts of my life, which inevitably become intertwined), and also on their lives, I don't want it to be awash in colors that I can't remember, that are indistinguishable from throwing it out with the bathwater.  

These thoughts push me onward, inspire me to keep trying.

I want to remember moments like tonight, where the crazy simmers down and I find something meaningful in it -- where the greater purpose comes clearly into view.
I want to remember the little feet among the colors -- the voices, the laughter, the tears, the frustrations, the successes and failures, and the conversations that made our life together -- that made up my life.

God has filled my life, and yours, with individuals and circumstances that I believe are personally tailored.  This gives me faith and hope and trust in God that we have what we need.  He has made the tools available to seek and gain a wise and understanding heart, and to find health in body and spirit and soul.  
This fills me with joy, confidence, and peace.

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