Tuesday, January 09, 2007

A Present Gift

I’m longing again.

And rushing ahead.

The Christmas decorations have been lovingly wrapped, boxed, and shelved in the garage. I’ve dusted the floor boards, moved furniture back to its’ rightful place, and vacuumed every last pine needle from the carpet. (This makes a lovely scent permeate the room, by the way! I feel sorry for those who merely sweep up the tiny green spikes.)

Now is the time when I begin to long for spring.

The ease of children rushing out to play – no more snowsuits, boots, gloves, hats…no more wet, muddy puddles on the floor where they stripped down in the kitchen.
Simply running outside with merely a jacket and tennis shoes, or even short-sleeves and flip flops.

Drying our clothes in the fresh breeze – not hanging over our shower rod in the bathroom, on the backs of dining room chairs, or over the sides of the baby’s crib when we’re desperate.
Just watching the air moving our shirts and sweaters as if by magic, my husband’s long, long
jeans waving hello, my baby girl’s sleepers and dresses moving like tiny whimsical dancers on the line. It is a sight of which I am never weary.

The sun. Oh, how I miss the sun in the winter. When it peeks out, just for a moment, I feel a surge of energy, happiness brings a song to my lips.

Beloved, do not rush ahead.

Last night, as I read my book and listened to my husband breathing deeply next to me, I turned and looked at his face. There are new lines around the eyes I love, sparks of silver running through his thick, dark blond hair. The twenty-five year old man that I married is now thirty-four, and a father of three. I remember how much he loved me, wanted me; and smile at how much he does both, still.

One moment, I am nineteen, newlywed, adoring my lover. Next, I am nearly thirty, whipping a quick braid into my hair, no makeup, and content to lay in the crook of his arm while we watch reruns.

I watch my daughter taking her first, tentative steps, her brothers shouting in delight at her progress. I see my boys, their bodies growing stronger, their desires to serve and work hard beginning to grow.

And then I watch them sleep. Breathing in, out. A snore here and there. Micah’s thumb creeping into his mouth when he’s extra sleepy. Eliana’s bottom poking into the air as she snuggles on her tummy.

Where did the years go? It is the age-old question. One moment they were babies, completely dependent on us. Next, they are running and reading and helping, and passing us up in height.

Beloved, do not linger in longing.

Tend to the spilt milk, casting a loving smile at the five-year-old culprit. The rag used to clean the mess will be washed and re-used a thousand times over, the milk forgotten.
This is an opportunity.

Plunge your hands into the hot dishwater, slippers on your feet, tea simmering on the stove; during the winter months. The seasons will come and go a dozen times over, the achy chill in your bones and longing for the sun forgotten each spring. These are the moments.

Enjoy the “grown-up” conversations you can hold with the oldest, the triumphs of the middle mastering a new skill in math, the independence of the baby when she walks away from you. Every mastered skill is a reflection on your training, and God’s grace; not an invitation for you to hold on tighter. Catch and release. These are the years.

Beloved, I give you now.

To live in the past and long for the future is to deny myself the gift of the present. This very present gift.

It has been given. And what do we do with it?

Let go of the baby’s hand, step into your slippers, snatch a rag from the counter and come with me.

It’s time to live.

29 fellow travelers shared:

Anonymous said...

Oh my heart, how this has blessed me Elise!
Thank you. Thank you.

We have so many hopes for the future: more children, a new house on the not so distant horizon (okay, well more than a year, but as an adult now, that seems tangibly soon), and school for the kids. I find myself daydreaming my NOWS away. Thank you for the eloquent reminder. I am going now to snuggle with my beloved.

Kate said...

Have you been reading Francine Rivers? Your, "Beloved..." lines remind me of her writing and make me want to go read the 3 "Mark of the Lion" books again! If you haven't read them, you HAVE to. They are the BEST!

This is a great post and I am glad you wrote it today...I needed to read it! Thanks for sharing your gift!

Cindi said...

You put tears in my eyes. As we get ready for our oldest to leave the nest I think how fast the time has went. I think back over all the little things that have made up the days of our years.

Andrea said...


Great words.

"Catch and release"--those words are bittersweet to me.

I find myself in the middle, here. Sometimes my thoughts are far ahead in the future, but I *do* enjoy the momments of the day. I plan the "what ifs", but it's so much easier if we just stick in the "now".

I love how you savor your children, like me. :)


Randi said...

I LOVE this post, Elise! An excellent reminder to live in today and really breathe it in. So much time can be wasted in wanting and yearning for something different than what we have today.

Christine said...

That is so beautiful I have no words. I am going to link to this later, if you don't mind.

Thanks, friend, for your heart today.

QueenHeroical said...

You captured my constant ache with these words, that mother "push-pull" feeling as my SIL calls it. Thank you for the tender words and the encouragement to keep eyes open and present. -- Krina

Munchkin Land said...

This is beautifully written, as always, and I take heart in it. I'm constantly reminding myself to enjoy the here and now. I can't worry about the future, its in God's hands; and I can't long for past days. But I can take joy in the blessing of today. Thank you!!

Sunydazy said...

I loved reading this. Just beautiful...and profound. This is my first visit to your blog butit won't be my last. I'll be back!

tonia said...

mmmm....just lovely...lyrical...sweet.

you are a very good writer Elise.

I was nineteen when I married my sweetheart...it is a special gift to be able to grow up with the one you love.

Holly said...

This is beautiful, Elise, and I can so relate. I am always looking ahead - but need to remember to enjoy now.

Debi said...

What a lovely, lovely post...and so so true.

Lindsey @ Enjoythejourney said...

what a beautiful reminder to enjoy it all.

(and for the record I like 30 a lot better than 19, how about you?)

Jenna said...

Beautiful. Simply beautiful. I have no other words to describe it. Thank you for sharing your heart! And I too love call our Lord "my beloved." Such sweetness...
(I came here by way of Christine's)

Cindee said...

Beautiful. Thank you.

Lyn said...

Thank you so much for writing and sharing. Many days it is just what I need to read.

Mrs. S said...

Elise, thank you for this post. I already have one of your posts "For My Sister Friends" up on my refrigerator. This may be another thatI read over and over. Everything you said resonated with my heart. Thank you.

Mrs. S said...

Also, I forgot to say that the picture of you and your husband is beautiful.

Firefly said...

I remember having similar thoughts one day when my life was very difficult and Lily was just over a year old. I remember God whispering to me, "What if this is as good as it gets?" Suddenly I noticed my beautiful daughter sitting at her toddler table eating her lunch in a splash of sunshine. I got my camera out and took some pictures. Today those are some of my favorite pictures. Those simple words changed my outlook completely. No matter how bad a day you are having, think "What if this is as good as it gets?". And, yes, I have had worse days than that day, but I will always remember that sweet day. Just remember that each and every day has its own blessings therein.

Katherine@Raising Five said...

Thanks for the reminder. I have the blessing of having my kids so spread out, there's a bit of the past, present, and future going on at all times. Present is best, though!

ACostlow said...

This is so beautifully written I have been blessed by you today and reminded that the present is a gift thank you

TaunaLen said...

Wow. This brought tears to my eyes, and an ache to my heart. I long for more of those days where the sound of little feet and little voices filled my home. I wish I'd made the most of those moments, before they flew away. Now my children are between the ages of sixteen and nineteen, and they are running out the door. I did spend the better part of an afternoon talking with one of my daughters. Those moments are precious to me now. I see them ticking by.

Thank you for reminding me that I have much to be thankful for in my NOW. I will try to enjoy it more.

I am new to your site, found you browsing. I will come back again!


Ann V. said...

Elise? I won't be writing another thing ever again ~wink, smile~. You said it all here. Exquisitely.
Now IS the time to live.

ALL is grace, gift, of God,
who is celebrating winter with paper snowflakes hanging everwhere, decorating the windows, making the table's centerpiece... so I enjoy NOW. And stop longing for spring. ~blush~ As Jim Elliot wrote: "Wherever you are, be ALL there."

teena6 said...

Excellent post~ found you at Holy Experience~ Ann's blog. :)

You are so right~ I have one that will graduate from college this spring and he is engaged! Where did the years go... but it is still so sweet as I hear him talk to me about "when they have children..."

and then I watch my 3 1/2 yr old sleep in between my dh and I... yes... 3 1/2 and still sleeps with us! I listen to him breath. I want to STOP the moment but we can not do that either.... :)

so very well said.... I will be back :)
Teena mom to Billy 26 yrs
mom to 1/2 dozen ages 21-3

Beka said...

What a beautiful, convicting, and thought-provoking post! I will have to read it over a few times!
I found your blog through my friend "Mrs. S" at The High Calling.

rcsnickers said...

Very well written and true! I am so thankful I happened across your blog!


AIMEE said...

I just came to your blog via Andrea and this post gave me goose bumps! Really look forwad to visiting you often!

Anonymous said...

I just found your blog and so enjoy what I've read so far!! You are so eloquent & wise in your writings. This blog really spoke what I've been feeling lately. Why are we never satisfied with today?? We complain about the weather, our present circumstances, etc. but they're all gifts from God.
Thanks! I'll be back often.


Anonymous said...

Thanks so much Elise! Love it! Another reason to cherish the present moment is because you never have "problems" in the present moment - just things you can choose to deal with or put off. Problems only exist in the past and future where they have a timeline to allow them to build up, fester, cause concern/worry about, or have sad regrets about.

Happy New Year!

Holly, John and Lily

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