Written on January 1, 2016, the following is a live-actionish journal page in response to my first resolution of cutting down on my internet hours.
Let me tell you, it was a real balloon-deflater to wake up this morning with a very strong urge to open up my computer. I shared a funny story about my son on Facebook late last night, and I was eager to see if there had been any response to it.
That is, after all, one of the fun things about the internet. We can chalk it all up to narcissism, but when I tell a funny story in real life, I enjoy hearing laughter in response to it, and that seems perfectly natural. Checking Facebook ‘likes’ and comments can become a self-worshipping addiction, I am sure, but it can also just be a normal act of conversing with other people.
Still yet, it bugs me that I feel a need to start my day off in such a manner.
I think if I could do one thing in the morning, without fail, I would like to think of God.
I want to wake up praying, and committing my day to Him. I want to open my eyes with a request that I might glorify Him in every single breath of the next 24 hours. I want to lie there for a bit with my heart beating a steady rhythm of gratitude to be alive and to have a purpose and to have the knowledge, however fundamental, of my Creator.
I’m praying that I get to that point and, by His grace, I’ll keep doing my best to resist the urge to go straight to social media before my feet even hit the ground.
I have to admit, I did pop over to Facebook this morning to check my notifications and messages when I got online to search for a recipe, but I kept it under five minutes, and I’m happy to say that I made it the rest of the day without frittering away any of my spare time on the computer.
What I received, in return, was a sweet and simple day with my family.
Betsie was so tired from New Year’s Eve events that she was on her third or fourth meltdown by 10:30 a.m. Concerned about her ability to make it happily through the rest of the day — and, frankly, tired of hearing her — her Papa sent her to bed with my silent “Amen, brother!”
We had partaken in a New Year’s Eve sleepover at my parent’s house in the country the night before and she was just plumb tuckered out. She wailed her way down their narrow hallway to the prettiest guestroom and threw herself behind the iron bed before piling floral-printed pillows up on top of her head.
Following quietly behind her, I dug her out and held her in my arms, trying to help her see the wisdom in what seemed to her like a punishment.
“But will you lay with me???” she sobbed. “Please? Will you lay with me, Mama???”
We had so much to finish before our New Year’s feast at 1:00 p.m., but…
this seemed like the perfect opportunity to begin my renewed quest of fully living in my little world.
(After all, Betsie is literally “little”, one of the tiniest 4-year olds I’ve ever seen!)
I pulled up the Pride and Prejudice soundtrack on Youtube and my dramatic pipsqueak was eventually lying quietly beside me on the full-sized bed while I rubbed her back.
With nothing on my mind but what was in front of me, I really took note of her. The bones in her back that I have never personally known were there on my own back (I’ve NEVER been as skinny as Betsie, not even in my premier as a preemie!). The slope of her nose. The eyebrows that look like the quick stroke of brown from a paintbrush.
I wondered what she was feeling inside as the masterful music filled up the room. When I hear those songs from “Pride and Prejudice” I obviously think of love and English countrysides and manor houses and sunrises.
I imagine that little Betsie could hardly find the words to describe what the music was doing to her soul, but I said a prayer that it would build something in her that would be important for her future.
Those tiny decisions we make — decisions to look someone in the eye rather than past them, decisions to postpone our work for the sake of a sad loved one, decisions to turn on inspiring music to turn their thoughts to something higher than themselves — are probably more important than we’ll ever know or be able to measure. This is homemaking, at its core. Making a change in someone’s life by the simplest and most repetitive of tasks.
The thought comforted me today, and I feasted on the luxury of spending just a short and stolen moment with only Betsie.
I prayed for her, that God would save her.
I then prayed for the rest of my family, that God would save them.
And I thanked God for the chance to even pray, because I KNOW me and I know how easy it is to choose something entertaining over sitting down to meditate and pray.
The storm now completely abated and behind us, the day went on to be full of activity, which is nothing unusual in our neck of the woods, especially on holidays.
My mom’s house is a never-ending flurry of visitors and meals and sleepovers; I daresay she has hosted more people in her cabin-esque house in the woods than the Biltmore in its finest day!
Another huge meal was devoured by another table full of people, and happy lines of seemingly countless little children were parading back and forth through the path that runs through the house. It tasted and smelled and sounded and felt like home, because we were all together.
Soon, we were rising up once more to clean the dishes and put away the food and sweep the floor and straighten up the chairs, tasks that become pleasures when you are in the company of good women, especially on holidays.
And then, just as we were loading up our family and heading home, we realized, to our great first-world distress, that our van’s heater wasn’t working. It was just what we needed to make the decision we had all been wanting to make anyway…
just like that, our bags were unloaded and the decision to bunk at Grandmother’s for one more night was proclaimed; it was an announcement that sent cheers up among the cousins, and it echoed deeply in my heart.
Before long, the littlest kids were playing Uno with Grandmother in a circle near the couch, and backed up against them was a circle of our own, playing Skip-bo and then Phase Ten.
The only reason any of us had to pull up the internet was to check the rules of the game. It was a beautiful night, even though I lost at cards, rather miserably.
Because I’d won at life, by God’s grace and intervention, for at least the first day of the new year.
I have 364 more chances to repeat this particular victory. Ready, set, go!