Simply put, this summer changed me. I have, for years, longed for a more balanced life, but I felt helpless to make the core changes to facilitate that change. I just got used to rush, rush, rush...work, work, work.
True, I was (and still am) incredibly productive. At almost 64 years of age, I joked that I could work circles around many of my younger colleagues. I came from a family background where hard work was in our bone marrow, and I was following that coveted tradition.
The thought of being a "slacker" was repulsive to me. Still is.
Yet, where was contentment?
It somehow got lost in all of the hard work.
What is contentment to me? It's loving being where I am at any moment and finding the joy, serenity, and peace in the little things in life. It's creating moments where the whirlwind stops so I can be centered , creative, and faithful to the God I love and the people I cherish.
It's taking time to relish making and drinking a cup of coffee. It's appreciating the joy of cleaning my counters instead of being irritated that they aren't clean. It's finding old black and white photos of my loved ones and starting to frame them and create a family wall. It is personalizing a home we have been in for a long time and creating a living environment that reflects my heart and soul.
It's "nesting", not decorating.
What's the difference? For me, decorating is an exterior process of quickly getting a room in shape with a new look and update. It may mean a new coat of paint, new slip covers, or a trip to a store that refreshes and revives a tired, old living space. Don't get me wrong. I love decorating.
But "nesting" is just a little different. It's not just an external process. It's an internal change of heart. It is reflecting who I am into where I live. It is finding cherished items that reflect precious memories and surrounding ourselves with them. It is "authentic living" that enhances our spirits and our souls. It is a deeply felt reminder that I am not all that I have, but I am God's child. It is the beginning of the process of internal examination into who God means me to be.
It is the next step of going deeper as I get older.
For me, authentic living is peeling back the superficial layers in every area of my life. It is relishing the time I have left on this earth and REALLY making the best of it.
And it all started with the basement...with getting rid of "stuff" and changing a space I couldn't stand into a peaceful and esthetic place I love to be in. That basement is a "work in progress" and so am I.
So as fall starts to change the leaves in the trees and splashes new colors of orange, green, amber, red and yellow in our garden, I am puttering in our home...to my heart's content.
I am getting more rest for my body and rest for my soul. I am finding my old art supplies and beginning, in my mind, to imagine drawing this year's Christmas card. I am going through boxes of old photos and revisiting those memories. I am smiling more and worrying less. I am placing my hand in God's more often and letting Him guide my day. I am crying more at the suffering I am seeing and feeling because my heart isn't wound quite so tight.
Yesterday I was back at school hugging old students who had returned and appreciating colleagues who have done this sacred work for years and years. I felt honored to meet new students and wanted to give them a safe home at school where they could let down their overwhelm and stress. And then I came home, left school behind and took a nap. That's right a nap.
I woke up, felt rested and happy, and made a delicious salmon dinner for my hubby.
I felt "content", happy through and through. I felt alive!
I guess you CAN teach an "old dog new tricks"!
Sending love, contentment, and blessings your way!