(This is the third entry in the series on our family’s experience taking a counter-cultural sabbath rest in 2013 – Part 1 – Part 2)
One thing has definitely become crystal-clear over the past three months.
Slowing down as a family in our fast-paced world is really hard.
Birthday cake – Darke style!
Especially if your family has five children under the age of 12. Add to that the fact that all of the children (and their parents) are extremely active, and you have a recipe for a very difficult sabbath rest. Think about it . . . even if each your five kids has just one play date (or birthday party) a week, mom and dad go out on a date just once per week, you have occasional one-on-one time with each child, and you have dinner with another family just once every other week (I got tired just writing this : )), there is not much margin left for quality family time, particularly since a couple other things (i.e., school and work) need some attention, too.
That is what we’ve been up against the past few months. After the “honeymoon” period of the first month, when we had very little on the calendar, work was slow, and we simply cut out nearly all commitments, we’ve run into busyness over the past couple months. (Don’t get me wrong – we’re much less busy and are connecting as a family much more then years past, but busier than we want to be).
Without boring you with all the details, I’ll share a couple things with you that exemplify how busyness has crept into our lives despite our best-laid plans.
Remember that idea I had that track would be a fun thing for the family to do together. Well, it hasn’t worked out quite as we planned – because of illness, uncooperative younger children : ), injuries (including my severe ankle sprain), and other realities, we have not run together at a single practice in 2013. We did get to be together at the older three kids’ first track meet a couple weeks ago . . . for those of you who have ever survived an all-day youth track meet, you know that we did not have quality family time connecting with each other that day. We supported each other, had some good memories from the races, and our kids had fun with their friends, but Becca and I spent most of our time ensuring that Justin and Kirsten did not kill themselves on the bleachers where we camped out for most of the day.
Personally, I’ve been hit with all kids of “fires” at home, at Providence, and with the different boards and clubs with which I serve.
The experience with track, the “fires” in my life, and several other things have made us realize more and more just how intentional we need to be with our time and commitments if we truly want to slow down.
So we’ve been working on that intentionality over the past month or so, re-calibrating and trying to figure out what slowing down really takes and looks like in the reality we live in. I hope and pray that the next post in this series will be about how we are getting closer to a “sweet spot” where we are consistently able to discern and commit to the path that leads to slowing down, growing closer together as a family, and enjoying the awesome things that happen when we have some margin in our lives — all while still pursuing with fervor our passions and the things that God has placed before us in our lives.
I’m sure you can relate with me . . . I just want to ensure that I’m never to busy for the really important things in life. Like snuggling with my two-year-old, not just to console him, but just to love him – because I know we both need it, that he is going to be 10 in the blink of an eye, and that he likely not want to snuggle with dad then (at least not in public).
I’d love to read your stories about how you and your family have been able to slow down in our fast-paced world. We all have a lot to learn about this topic and I hope that we can all share our stories so that we can learn from each other.