It's Monday morning, and I'm in a coffee shop (with a fireplace!), my Bible and journal, a salted caramel latte, and the computer. And I'm alone. No diaper bag or stroller or toddler in tow. It has been months since I've done this.
We just turned the corner in our house from a three-day bout with an ugly stomach flu for my little girl. Poor thing had sickness coming out both ends of her body for three straight days. So we watched Frozen three hundred times, Dora at least a thousand, and I did laundry. All day long, laundry, laundry, and another load of laundry. The highlight of the three days came when I was nursing Cannon and Harper started whining like she was going to throw up again, so she came over to me for help just in time to vomit on both me and her little brother. More laundry, showers for all, a whole can of Lysol. And fresh scentsy in the warmer. The dog days of motherhood, or something like that, is what I would call it.
But here, early in the morning at the start of Thanksgiving week, I feel a million miles away from a sick child and endless echoes of "Let it go!" in the background. I feel like I did in graduate school, when all I grabbed as I walked out the door was my purse. I sat in coffee shops for hours on end. I met anyone at anytime, free to come, go, stay, leave, whatever I needed or wanted or could fit into my own dreams. I loved that sweet season. And as I sit here, by myself, thinking, reading, and writing the things I want to, I miss that time. I just scrubbed vomit off of furniture and sheets and kitchen floors for three days. Of course I miss that time.
But when I was in it, when I was twenty-three, I longed for THIS, exactly what I have right now. A husband, a home, and arms full of babies. I went to wedding after wedding wanting so desperately for it to be my turn. I aspired to many things, but none more than wife and mom. And now, those titles are mine. God graciously gave them to me, even though I can say with full assurance I don't deserve them. Not a day goes by that I am not overflowing with gratitude for the sweet baby cheeks that I kiss a hundred times each morning, or the husband who thinks I'm pretty and tells me he loves all my crazy ideas.
So now that I'm in this, the mothering and cleaning and loving and time-outing, why does a few hours alone at a coffee shop feel like the best thing in the whole world? Why did I want to put yoga pants and a cozy sweater on and get out of the house so badly today?
I don't know for sure, but I do have a theory, and it is pretty simple actually: we need to rest. It's when we rest that our minds get a little more space to think, our hearts get a little more margin to feel, and our bodies get a little more time to recover. When we rest we remember the gratitude that can be hard to recall amidst temper tantrums and diaper cream. When we rest, we get a new perspective; we see, and see again, that maybe we don't want to be anywhere else other than here, right where we are. It's been two hours, and I miss my home already, with all the noise that comes with it and the work that it means for me, I miss it. I love those beautiful faces inside it so dang much.
God's best work is done in me when my soul can rest enough in him to actually see it, because I lose sight of it in the mess sometimes. Today, rest meant a solo date to a coffee shop. Next year, maybe it will mean more. But from time to time, we've got to put down all the things we carry just so that we can readjust our grip on them, pick them back up, and hold them firmly again.
That's where I'm headed, back home, where a little girl will run to the stairs and yell my name like she hasn't seen me in days, and a little baby boy will push his arms up on the floor, kick his legs behind him, and give me a smile. Then the little girl will go back to whatever had her attention in the seconds before, the little boy will want to eat, and just like that, I'm clocked back in for my very favorite job. Rested and thankful beyond words for the work it is.