Quiet time has been at a premium around here. My children have been out of school for eight days now, and while we are having a wonderful time together--going on outings and moving forward on lots of projects--I simply don't have the energy or stillness of mind to sit down and think . . . and write.
Does summertime ever feel that way to you? Does life ever feel that way to you?
Eric and I are figuring out some ways I can consistently carve out time to breathe and focus, but in the meantime, I wanted to share a little lesson I learned.
This morning, Alia painted a lovely watercolor:
I looked at it for a long time and finally asked, "Is that our house?"
"Yes," she replied, in a why-do-you-even-need-to-ask tone of voice.
I looked at it some more. "It's so pretty." I thought. "And it looks so happy. And she didn't even highlight all the imperfections."
The tree on the left, for example, is huge right now. It desperately needs to be trimmed, and the branches are taking over our whole front yard. But she drew it the way it's going to look once we get around to trimming it.
The tree on the right doesn't have any leaves at all. It died more than a year ago, and we're planning to take it out, but life has been so full of other things that it has had to wait. Looking at that dead tree always bothers me, but Alia drew its wavy branches and said with a smile, "See? That's our crazy tree."
This painting doesn't show you the cobwebs above our door or the two random rosebushes that are growing out from under the lilies (because I forgot to take out the roots when we replaced them). Alia didn't draw dirt or rust stains on the garage door or the weird patches of grass that never fill in quite right in the center of our lawn.
See those blue pots on the porch with purple flowers? In real life, those pots are empty. They've been empty for two years. I kept thinking I would plant something nice to replace our dead geraniums, but I never did.
Alia didn't care. She knows that flowers should be in those pots, but she also knows what intentions are in my heart.
Every single day, it amazes me how quickly I turn to dwelling on my imperfections. Honestly, sometimes that's all I can see. I know that's silly, and I'm learning to be more gentle with myself, but my physical capacity can't keep up with the desires of my heart, and that can feel incredibly frustrating. You understand, don't you?
But little by little, I think adults can learn to see imperfections the way children do.
I'm going to keep this painting, and I don't want to forget this lesson: Imperfections are normal. They are temporary. They don't define us. They might temporarily mask the beauty we wish we could see, but the potential is still there. It always has been. Sometimes we just need someone else to show us what we can be.
Can you guess what we did tonight? Stopped by the local garden center and picked out flowers for those blue pots. Grace chose red and white ones, and I can't wait to plant them tomorrow.
Our home isn't perfect, but it's our home. Our family isn't perfect, but it's our family. Sometimes we all just need that reminder.