Rhythm

I live in a boy house. They are loud and competitive and dirty. They’d rather wrestle than sit and they’d rather make burping noises than eat. They run and yell and like to hit as hard as they can. They often need reminders about using their words (not their bodies) and using a tissue (not their fingers/shirt/blanket). Some days, it feels nonstop–their idea of a good time constantly butting up against my idea of a peaceful home.

I grew up in a boy house (the only girl among five brothers), so I thought I was surely prepared for these testosterone-filled little gifts from the Lord. But being a mom is a lot different from being a sister, and being in charge is a lot different than being able to escape to the woods whenever I wanted. Keeping a rhythm of rest and work in my role as mom has proven vital to sustaining light and love in my soul.

Recently, I was not only a boy-mom, but a boys-who-are-sick-mom. It was more peaceful around these parts, for sure. We all (except for my very cautious I-can’t-get-sick-before-Easter husband) came down with this terrible virus that knocked us flat on the couch with extreme aches and fevers that hung out for days. It was honestly a welcome change of pace: to just fill up waters and cover with blankets and sit next to them on the couch and rub little feet and backs. It was welcome… for a while. But once I hit the 8-day mark of serving and giving out of love, I realized that I was tired. I was tired of not having our normal rhythm. I was tired of feeling foreheads. I was tired of de-germing things in our house. I was tired of hearing the coughing, coughing, coughing that seemed to come in such great fits that I wondered if it would ever stop. I was tired of not being able to join in any sort of community. And I was tired of being needed.

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And then, like these things always do, the sickness started to clear up. The foreheads I was feeling were not red-hot anymore. The coughing spells were becoming more infrequent. I was able to run to the store with my son and not be worried that he would contaminate everything within 10 feet. All the boys were finally healthy enough to go to school and I got to return to some sense of rhythm and care for my own heart.

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Something else happened during the same time: spring showed up. Every year, after the winter rains and foggy days, there is this beautiful season of yellow flowers here. Mustard flowers, daffodils and other yellow flowers I don’t even know spring up out of the tall green grasses, and all at once, there is yellow everywhere. These little sprigs of sunlight rise up to meet the warmth of clear blue skies.

Little yellow surprises even spring up in our own backyard, which is usually characterized by patches of dirt, broken toys, and grass that’s trying its hardest to grow. Little yellow sunshines. They pop up so effortlessly–no sowing of seed, no fertilizing, no watering schedule. Just sweet gifts from a good Creator.

And without fail, every spring, I have three little boys who collect yellow flowers and bring them in as prized gifts for their mama. I don’t know who started it, why or when. It always surprises me a bit, and at first I felt like I needed to put their little gifts in small containers of water more out of pity than anything else, like, “If I don’t act like this is the greatest gift ever, his little heart might ache for days.”

This year was different, though. I’m not sure if it’s because I was on the heels of feeling emotionally drained from taking care of them, or if it’s because my oldest boy is now eight, and capable of being genuinely considerate. Whatever it was, it was different.

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These flowers were a sweet, sweet gift that filled my heart to the brim! Noah had taken the time to gather, arrange, and even tape them all together and write his name on the tiny-skinny stem of one of the flowers (of course–something a boy would think of)! They graced my kitchen table for the next few meals, bringing warmth and beauty to each gathering we had there.

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One of my favorite characteristics about these flowers–the BEST PART– is their almost unseen rhythm. Each evening, even after they are cut and brought inside, their little petals curl up into tiny tubes, hiding all of the beauty and wrapping it up safe inside where it rests for the night. Then, each morning, after the sun comes up, the petals begin to open, gradually and without a whisper. They display their beauty still and perfect for as long as eyes will look on them.

They remind me of the wisdom of my Creator. Just like I needed some resting space after caring for my sick boys, these flowers, too, were designed to rest at night after sharing their beauty during the day. We are all made to have rhythms of opening up ourselves {and our beauty} to the world around us, and then winding down and having a safe place where we can be all wrapped up for a time. What a grace-filled rhythm. What a sweet, sweet gift.

 

 

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