"When can I have my life back?"
It's 5 am on a cold Sunday morning in March, and I find myself flat on my back on the driveway.
There are a few events that led me to this position and to this question:
- A few weeks ago, our youngest son who is 24, arrived at the shoppe with a German Shepherd puppy, happy as I've ever seen him.
- The next day, I heard myself saying, Yes, as he asked if the puppy could stay with us for awhile. He hadn't exactly thought things through and needed time to figure things out.
- I've forgotten how demanding and exhausting the training of a puppy can be, and how small their bladders are. So when she whines at 5 am, I hit auto pilot: shoes on, coat on, leash on, out the door. It must be urgent as she darts out like a bullet. In an instant I'm flat on my back on the driveway which is a sheet of ice. My head hits the cement pretty hard.
Bewildered, I first think of the leash. Still in hand. Thank God.
I feel the back of my head with my other hand and look for blood. None. Thank God again.
I lay there for a moment staring at the dark sky, puppy licking my face.
When can I have my life back?
A few days later, I listened to a podcast by Emily P Freeman. She talks about life's interruptions and how to find peace in handling them.
Tears fall fast. It feels good to cry.
This puppy is definitely an interruption to my quiet, daily routines, but I know its more than the puppy that's triggering these tears. There's a bigger life change that is emotionally exhausting and difficult to accept as my new reality.
When can I have my life back? When can there be time for me and my needs?
Have you ever found yourself asking that question?
If we think about it, our life is made up of interruptions. They look different as we move through our stages of life:
the demands of our children, the needs of a sick loved one, caring for our aging parents. . . Others before ourselves - isn't that what we are called to do - live a life of service? Yes, but when the interruptions are not ones that we chose, not what we had planned, and are forced upon us - those are the ones that can lead to this question: When can I have my life back? Maybe we are the ones who are ill and find our life looking so different than what we had planned. As hard as it is to understand, even those are given to us for a purpose.
CS Lewis writes: “The great thing if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s own or real life. The truth is of course, that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life, the life God is sending one day by day.”
Those last words "the life God is sending one day by day" - oh how I need to be reminded of this. It's like manna that God sent the Israelites. That daily bread from heaven nourished and sustained them while they wandered in the desert, but they quickly grew tired of it, and began to complain. Manna means 'What is this?' If I'm honest with myself, when I ask the question 'When can I have my life back?' I'm really saying, 'What is this? I'm tired of what you are giving, God." The truth is that He gives us what we need, not what we want, and it's always for our good. Always.
So then give me the strength and patience every day so I can handle this life of manna. And he does.
The French composer, Claude Debussy wisely said, "Music is the space between the notes". "There's meaning, depth, richness, in the interval, in the rest, in the silence. The silence is necessary for the notes to be music. Otherwise, it’s just a lot of noise. Our pauses, our solitudes, our quiet respite is necessary for our interruptions to be our lives." Emily says in her podcast.
The space between the notes is necessary - we need that time of rest and solitude. Time for me. Time for you. And may I offer this suggestion - the space between the notes can be one of peace. Finding peace in the interruptions, knowing that God sees you and holds you in his strong, ever-present hands, is possible and is a comfort. His plan is holy and perfect.
The road may be long and you and I may be weary, but don't give up. I find this quote to be helpful:
"Occasionally weep deeply over the life you hoped would be. Grieve the losses. Then wash your face. Trust God. And embrace the life you have." - John Piper
"Mostly we need you, lovely embodied you, showing up to your life as it is and not as you wish it to be, able to admit what you need and what you want. You, honest about what you miss and about what you long for. You, celebrating this right now moment. And in all of this you can be sure there is a divine presence, a holy harmony, a welcoming acceptance of the whole colorful mess." - Emily P. Freeman
We are not alone. May we find peace in the interruptions and joy in the space in between.
- Thankfully I did not have a concussion when I hit my head on the cement.
- The puppy is potty trained and now happily living in her new home.
- Here's a link to Emily's podcast: emilypfreeman.com/podcast/267/
- or you can read it here:
Hi, I'm Tracy - horticulturist, beauty-seeker, Word-lover, and blessed to be the owner of Bella Botanica. I also love to write about plants, gardening, and about my faith journey. Thanks for reading!