Our journey today goes back just a few years, but it feels more like a dozen. It’s from a part of my life that was so fleeting, but at the time felt like it would never end…the mom-of-a-baby-and-preschooler years!
I became a stay-at-home mom when my second daughter was about 9 months old. Before children I was a successful corporate employee working my way up the ladder, so to speak.
It was a tough transition to be home all day, every day with my little ones. While I treasured it, I also craved alone time and was more than a bit depressed about no longer having a “job” at which to excel. Because frankly, I didn’t feel all that successful as a mom. I had two precious girls, but I was so worried about doing everything “right” as a parent that I was forgetting to just enjoy the ride
As a way to break up the monotony of days at home we often took morning “walks.” Any parent of toddlers knows that these walks were more meandering than anything else as we were frequently distracted by bugs and birds and dogs. At first this annoyed me. How was I supposed to burn any calories if we stopped every 5 feet to stare at ants? And then one day, everything changed.
“There are diamonds in the grass, Mommy!”
“Oh, yes, honey! The dew fairies must have come last night.” I said absentmindedly, while I silently lamented that we would now be spending the next 10 minutes admiring the grass. And then it happened. I actually bent down to her level and looked at the dew.
It took my breath away. Water droplets sparkling as far as the eye could see. A brilliant display of God’s beauty made simply out of grass, water, and sunshine. In that moment, I got it. I could spend the rest of my life speeding through life with my own agenda or I could slow down and appreciate the gifts right in front of my nose.
I wish I could say that I’ve been forever changed, but the fact is that I still struggle to enjoy the simple gifts in life. I know my tendency is to make life a race. But hopefully I’m learning to balance it a bit better. It’s a matter of perspective after all…
Today’s moment isn’t a single snapshot of time, but rather a place. The place I feel most content, most at peace, most still…
I was pregnant with Audrey the first time we heard about it. At a church event, a couple shared stories of a place they vacationed each summer with their family. Camp Arcadia MI. Nestled on the shoreline of Lake Michigan, they described how they enjoyed getting away from the chaos of life to be restored in body, mind and spirit. A haven for families…no technology…no television…just good old fashioned fun.
On Audrey’s 1st birthday, our own family set foot on those ground for the very first time. It was love at first sight. There’s a sacred feel, almost as though you are transported back in time to a generation where nature was revered, family time was cherished, and God was the foundation for all. It’s truly the one place I can breath fully, relax completely, and soak in the goodness all around.
Since that first trip, we have traveled those long miles every summer. Our girls speak about Camp Arcadia the same way I think about it in my thoughts. With pure joy, delight, and a bit of awe. I’ve been blessed to travel all around this wonderful world…Europe, Australia, Africa, Hawaii…there’s no place more beautiful, no place I feel closer to my Creator…my heaven on earth. One day when I’m gone, I hope my ashes will be sprinkled there, dancing across the sand, the waves, the shore. My spirit free to soar forever as it does each summer at RKD.
Theme From A Summer Place There’s a summer place
Where it may rain or storm
Yet I’m safe and warm
For within that summer place
Your arms reach out to me
And my heart is free from all care
For it knows, there are no gloomy skies
When seen through the eyes
Of those who are blessed with love
And the sweet secret of a summer place
Is that it’s anywhere when two people share
All their hopes, all their dreams, all their love
I gaze upon my children and wonder. Of all the moments we spend together, of all the words I speak, which ones will lock in their memory? 30 years from now when they gaze back to these days, what will they recall…
Clocks. Lots of clocks. Grandfather chimes, cuckoos popping out of hiding, little German children turning round, all marking the turn of time. It was on the brink of magical all those clocks that lived in my grandparent’s home.
Like the rhythmic ticking of the clocks, my early childhood was safe and predictable. Pollyanna-ish, I suppose you could say, in the eyes of my childishnaiveté. I was blessed to have many places of sanctuary where I was safe from the “world out there.” One such place was the home of my Pop Pop and Tu Tu. They lived in several throughout the years. Many a day and night I spent in them all. Family gatherings, sleep-overs, and the clocks, always the clocks, with their gentle ticking, a dependable backdrop for it all.
You have to wind the clocks, you know. It’s quite a chore, which I now know from trying to keep up with just the single antique mantle clock resting in my living room. Quite a labor of love it must have been to keep up with the many they had in their home. One day, though, the clocks stopped ticking. A marriage that had been the foundation of my childhood was no more. I remember clearly the day my parents told me that my grandparents were getting a divorce. A what? That was something that happened to other people, certainly not my Pop Pop and Tu Tu. And so, the magical clocks stopped ticking for me…or did they?
It’s true that we can never go back to the ways things used to be. But I’ve learned that the past can either remain a gentle friend or an ugly enemy. I think it’s up to us to choose. And so I choose the magical clocks, like an old familiar friend to greet me when I enter a quiet room. A soothing rhythm to remind me that we are not the ones who wind them after all. For if we were, they would all eventually go silent. But as long as our own hearts beat inside…there is still time. Time to give thanks in all circumstances. Time to forgive. Time to heal. Time to give it over to the only One who can take it anyway.
The Father of Time and the Keeper of Memories can restore it all, if only we let Him…in His time.
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace. – Ecclesiastes 3
We all came to welcome you, we all came to your birth
We all came to welcome you, to welcome you to Earth
And I was there to love you, I was there to love you,
I was there to love you and lend my body for
Your safe and gentle journey here
Through heaven’s open door.