The truth about contentment, consistency and community

I’m hiding and it’s deliciously dark.

I’m wedged between small puffy jackets – standing on slops and slippers. It’s Friday night and the week’s memories swirl and settle in this soft safe pitch.

I think first of our sad hole. It was supposed to be a swimming pool. Three weeks ago. Before rain muddied the world and pool guy got all shifty and spin-doctorish on us and our garden turned into a gaping backdrop for The Waste Land and like T.S. Eliot I’m just about all out of hope that it may still someday be a pool. Alas, I am not loving pool guy. I am not content.

I’m hiding in the boys’ cupboard because we do this sort of thing in our house at bedtime and it’s my turn. Murray, Cam and Scott are counting in the lounge. ‘… eight, nine, ten – coming, ready or no-o-o-t!’

I’ve closed the doors on me by tugging the edges of the fruit-of-the-Spirit poster stuck on the inside of the shirts-and-shorts side so they’ll never guess I’m here. Oh, the irony. Anyone taking a bite out of my life this week would not have gone, ‘Yum! Fruity!’ I am not consistent.

I kind of hope they don’t find me just yet. It’s school holidays and the first time in days I’ve been alone and I’ve just started thinking deep, alone-type thoughts that stretch beyond the next Marmite sandwich. Which is when I realise that of course, I’m not alone and in the almost-solitude it’s like I hear Jesus: ‘Ah. There you are.’ And I’m thinking how genius his whole go-into-your-closet-when-you-pray thing is (Matthew 6:6). I could totally do this.

I’m amazed how soft it is in here, in the cupboard, and how well I fit. Breathing in wood and winter. Clean socks and quiet. I think how hard it is out there, in the world, and how badly I fit. Jostling with the shapes and sizes of so many different temperaments and agendas – shaped by different passions and pasts. Trying to prove ourselves. Elbow for space. Win. And how even with love layered to cover big egos and grace granted to cushion sharp edges we inevitably grate and grind because it’s not possible for all those shapes and sizes always to fit the sweet spot of intersecting Venn diagrams. I’m not always invited and included and counted and cool. I don’t always like all the people I’m supposed to love. I am not good at community.

Those three words keep winding around the week as I wait in the dark. Words all starting with with. Community – with people. Content – with peace. Consistent – with sameness.

By now the guys have searched everywhere. That poster saved me. No sign of the cupboard’s inner mom. Ha!

Then Cameron suggests that Murray stages a burp because I’m bound to say something like Ah no man gross! And then they will know where I am. The alpha male’s gastric roar is duly enacted and I laugh. They are, like, so thrilled. So excited to see me there amongst the gowns and gum boots. It’s nice to feel found. With people. I’m glad it’s just after seven and the day is over for half of this family. With peace. It’s the same-old-same-old bedtime routine and I feel just fine. With sameness.

Teeth are brushed and foreheads kissed and I think how maybe the way to peace (contentment) in my habits (consistency) and relationships (community) is a person – another withEmmanuel – God with us. Maybe it’s in active obedience to him – not passive complacency in me – that I’ll find deep fellowship and true change and real rest. (Tweet that?)

Thanks for stopping by, friend.

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