I’ve joked that this is the summer of “Wide Open Spaces.” Yes, “Wide Open Spaces,” like the 1998 song by the Dixie Chicks that I shouted along to while driving my baby yellow Jeep Wagoneer, windows down, hair flying, pink rhinestoned sunglasses sitting defiantly below my over-plucked eyebrows. While the song hummed of independence as a teenager, its become our summer theme song because it sings of our calendar- lots of wide open spaces, to fill,with two young girls in a small apartment. Wide open spaces because we’ve cancelled our summer plans and vacations in order to focus on getting our house back together after it flooded from a burst pipe on Mother’s Day.
Before you feel too bad for me, know that I don’t regret the house flood of Mother’s Day 2017, because it has given us an opportunity to make repairs on the house that we wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise. Its given us a nice pool to use all summer, and a smaller living space to have to clean. Its taught me that I can survive an entire summer with only four pairs of pants, five shirts, and two pairs of shoes, and its shown me that our family is whole because of the way we love each other, wherever we live.
I’m feeling nostalgic because our apartment living is coming to an end in two weeks when the lease is up, house- ready or not (praying for ready).
But this summer of Wide Open Spaces in a small apartment has taught me a thing or two about how to live life well, that I’d like to remember when we’re back home with a full Fall calendar.
- I can busy myself with mindless stuff even when my calendar is wide open–Mindless TV, social media, email, etc. Stuff that keeps my mind busy, and hands moving, but leaves my heart with an ache of empty.
- There’s something valuable about lingering with other people. Being present, without an agenda, to just let the minutes, hours, and days unfold together with meandering conversation, tender moments between our children, and memories that will write our life stories and our kid’s identity. Thank you Erin, Patria, Danielle, and CeCe. I love you so.
- My kids like to just be with me. No screens, No nifty gadgets or toys. Laying together in a big king bed will do. Our bodies tangle together as we tell each other silly stories, ask and answer outrageous questions, and dream out loud.
- I always found the John Lennon quote, “Life is what happens while you’re making other plans,” insightful but incredibly cliche. Its amazing though, the amount of time and life there is to live when you aren’t busy cleaning, preparing, and planning. It has given me time to ponder, to write, and to just breathe. I want to create more margin to just live in the present, rather than always preparing, and making other plans.
- I lost my bible somewhere with all the rest of my important stuff in storage. Since my brother in law is in the “used books reselling biz” I got my hands on Albert Liao’s Bible. It was sitting on the top of a box of discarded books. Albert’s Bible is filled with a lifetime of highlights and notes of a man that was searching for God in his own life story. This summer of “Wide Open Spaces,” I read Albert’s Bible and remember again and again that we all have our own stories, stories that ebb and flow with restlessness and contentedness, heart-splitting pain and heart splitting joy, but His truth always brings sense to it all.