One week a year I live alone while the Carl and the kids are on a mission trip with Appalachian Service Project. This year he and the girls are in Harlan, Kentucky repairing houses. They sleep on the floor of a community center with one spot of wifi access and cold showers rigged out of trash bags and garden hose in the parking lot. Ben is working at Camp Palawopec out in Brown County, also happily without hot water, wifi or air conditioning. I visited him last week and found him bug bitten, sunburned, smelly and joyful.
Every year I’m amazed how small the grocery bill is, how few dishes and laundry accumulate. Last night I ate two yellow squash, half a cantaloupe, a giant tomato and called it supper. That would never fly if the others were home. The evening between supper and bedtime goes on forever. It’s not so much lonely as ever so quiet. The house seems to breathe their absence, not quite relaxed into the promise of their return.
Of course it’s not the house - it’s me. How tempting to contemplate their absence rather than receive the gifts of this solitude . . . to spend time wondering what they are doing, if they are well - rather than tend to the unfinished business in my own heart, mind and spirit. All this time . . . . hours and hours in which no one needs a ride, no one needs me to find something, do something, wash something, decide something. Time in which to marvel about all the time I have ~ or time with which to do the things I say I long to do - rest, read, sit, listen, pray, exercise. Just one week - but a whole week nonetheless, to mother myself and let myself be mothered. Not a bad way to spend the time, not at all. I’m grateful for it. I pray this note finds you joyful and hopeful in whatever circumstance today brings. peace & prayers, pastor annette