It is a Friday afternoon, and I am listening to the winds howl outside while the snow pellets hit my window. When I walked in from the parking lot at work this morning, the daffodils were shivering in the snow. We’ve had inches of rain this week and are experiencing spring flooding in parts of my city (I saw ducks swimming in a softball field yesterday), and today we have snow and wind. Sometimes it seems that winter really fights the transition to spring. Does the winter not know when its season is done and it’s time to let us soak up sunshine and warmth?
I’ve been thinking about the seasons of life. My children are in transition as they prepare for their adult lives. One is preparing for an internship in his academic field. Another is getting ready to go to college in another state. The third is preparing to join the military.
Three of my co-workers are expecting their first babies. Their bodies are changing, and they are starting to adopt the identity of “Mommy” as they talk about the new lives they carry within them. At the grocery store earlier this week, I watched a worn out yet patient mom calm a toddler’s temper tantrum while getting an older child to unload the cart and calming a fussy baby.
For many of us, there are years that are exhausting and full of meeting other people’s needs. When children are little, there are constant demands on our time, attention, and bodies. When we try to become part of a church community, we offer much of our time and it’s often hard to say “no.” When we are building careers, we sometimes get the work that no one else really wants. All the demands of all the parts of our lives circle around each other and collide and leave us exhausted.
If just one more person wants me/needs me/ asks me/touches me, I will have nothing left of myself. I am a wife, a mother, a church member, a worker. When do I have time to be a child of God and be nourished myself? We can’t do it all, so we let some things go. And too often, what gets let go is being a wife.
But eventually the howling winds stop and the season ends, and you find yourself in a new place. The demands are different. The connections are different. We are past the days of dealing with burgeoning hormones and changing bodies and tending wounds over playground slights. Last night was the first time I laid eyes on one of my kids all week. I don’t know where any of my kids are at the moment, and that’s okay. My husband is on the way home from work, and I am alone in my home. I craved this during an earlier season of my life; now I am a bit lonely as I listen to the wind howl around me.
It is easy to get caught up in the details of life, especially when it comes to your children and their legitimate needs. In those seasons, it is easy to think “not now” or “we’ll have plenty of time for that later,” especially if you need to do some work on yourself as I did. But when later arrives, if you haven’t tended to your marriage, you may not having anything left to cling to. As you watch the fruits of today’s toil grow up and spiral away from your home, who will be there to lift you up if not the one who is beside you now?
Who will weather the storms of transition with you if you don’t tend to your marriage now?
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? ~ Ecclesiastes 4:9-11