Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Thanks for Enough Time

The house is filled with sounds of the dryer whirring, washer churning a few late-night loads of laundry that I haven't yet done. In truth, I haven't really tried, intentionally choosing during the daylight hours to ignore the thick mantle of dust quilting table tops, the tiny blue-chalked crime scene footprints leading in from the door. In the office down the hall, there are paper-grading deadlines penciled in all seven squares of this week, these less-ignorable tasks to be done.

The second hand moves round all too quickly, half a week gone with the turning. This Martha-type personality must decide to sit, choose the better part. Then, there will be time enough.

I pull cleaned yet unfolded clothes from the basket to dress little ones, giving thanks for the cleanness while choosing to brush away guilt and shift eyes away from the wrinkles. Oldest son and I cook a couple hours together on Monday, homemade casserole and dessert to last for a whole week's suppers. And it is good.

For now, my recuperating children need a mother not splintered by a dozen or more tasks, one focused enough to prod them kicking and screaming back into the comfortable routines of kindness, respect, and patience necessary for peace to exist in family living. It's always hard, sanity-grinding, this pursuit to restore those pleasantries that are lost and need relearning after an it's-all-about-me lengthy illness.

Amidst the whines, tears, and moments of contemplation on the naughty bench, we've squealed giggles over pulling the equivalent to an old maid card in "Win By a Whisker," put together that extra puzzle, read the new princess book for the thousandth time, gathered round the dining room table to color yet another picture for the fridge.

Poet Theodore Roethke said, "I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow." After two weeks of sickness, the children and I have done just that this week, all of us too easily tired from the simple acts of living, from mere waking.

But even in this sheltered quasi-paradise of slowness, busyness still lurks, impatiently waiting its turn as soon as the lights click off, white noise makers filling the air. Still sick husband sleeps fitfully on the sunroom day bed while I work deep into the night grading papers.

As I work, our two kittens leap at windows lit by outdoor flood lights shining through lace-curtained windows, an ever-present reminder to rotate sprinklers from back to front yard. In silky flowered PJ's and clean bare feet, I walk into the evening's cool amidst mosquito-seeking frogs plastered to window glass and crickets that skitter before me down the porch.

Outside, the moon and I whisper friendship, our faces nodding silently each night, co-conspirators in living while others slumber.

Though dust bunnies presently outnumber people in my house, toy/book-cluttered floor spaces more the norm than clean-walking ones, this chaos is a choice. My weekly Bible study goals were met, and I finished two prayer shawls, twenty hours of the better part to send Christ's love cross-country to hurting sister and nephew of my friend.

I give thanks. There has been time enough for what's important.


  1. Beautiful, Jennifer. And perfect priorities :)

  2. In all of that -- all of the daily demands upon you -- you fit us in. I'm really just thankful beyond words for your gift of time. How can I ever thank you?

  3. Jennifer--with all the encouragement you've given me over the past few years? I'd say you've still got a credit on that spiritual account. Love to you and yours.