So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing. – t.s. eliot
Years ago when my boys were small, my days and nights were filled with diapers and bottles, sippy cups and Cheerios, belly laughs and toddler tantrums. I was the mom with a baby on each hip (my younger two are very close in age) and a preschooler holding onto my belt loop. My life felt full to overbrimming with joy and fatigue and love.
One woman I knew at the time also had three children, and was always angry, yelling, and frazzled. Always. I got it–my mother did that. Life is hard, and as much as we try, the stresses of life pull at both ends of us until, like a rope, the threads begin to split, fray, and break.
But ever since I can remember, I’ve known that wasn’t something I wanted. It happens sometimes, of course. I’m less than perfect, and definitely human. But I’ve chosen this life I have as a mom and a wife, and know I have only one shot at it. I’ve always hoped for it to be fun yet peaceful, somehow.
I remember standing at the beach with my toes in the water, watching pelicans swoop down and ride the space just above the waves, and whispering to myself. I wanted to learn how to maintain that sense of calm, of stillness, in the midst of the busyness, swirling days, and life’s frequent storms.
I realized I wanted to make the most of my days, wherever they led me.
Now, twelve years later, I have two (almost three) teenagers in the house, and my days are even fuller. They involve gym bags and sweaty shoes, the need for a full refrigerator with a side-hobby of being a short-order cook, laundress, taxi driver, and cheerleader. These are the days. I love them. I know they won’t last too much longer. My life feels stretched and pulled in new directions–all good things–and yet, with all that is going on and squares on the calendar filled with no extra space, I find one thing to be most important.
I need time to re-center, allow myself to refuel, and to regain balance from the swirl of demands that comes with modern American life and keeping up with three active sons.
Time. For Stillness.
The Stillness Dancing
My husband and our boys did this:
And for me, this is what I saw:
Being with those I love.
Those are the times I feel myself come most alive.
As t.s. eliot wrote, and in “the stillness the dancing.”
There may be craziness all around, and yet, if we can be still, there will be dancing.
December is a traditionally busy month filled with family, friends, charities, parties, Advent, and Christmas … where do you find your stillness?