Three little ones demand our attention continually. Limited babysitting funds go to adult dinner parties, work function, church meetings. Most often, we are weary at the end of the day and fall into bed, asleep within minutes.
And so today, we woke up early. Rather, I pushed you out of bed with a groan and downstairs we went. The living room was chilly and dark and we sat in the quiet under an old afghan made by an auntie long gone. You fell back to sleep while I put the coffee on--a slow start to our Early Morning "Date-Night."
But as we sipped our coffee and the day awakened, we found each other again. Neither of us were ever much for conversation early in the morning and so we enjoyed the company and rare quiet in a house of three children, four and under. Of course, our talk started with them as it usually does, who could resist when they seemed so lovable, snug asleep in their beds, first night in their winter pajamas.
But as the caffeine woke us up, we moved on to more serious things. I shared a sense of failure, you comforted me. You shared a worry, I comforted you. I shared a vanity, you understood. And amazingly, the children slept. Children who wake each other every morning around 6:30, slept till 8:30.
A gift of grace just when we needed it.
And so we even had time for more--more time to plan and dream, more time to laugh, more of each other.
I was reminded of why I love you, of what we care about, of who we are.
I was reminded of the old days (we've been married 10 years now, dating since 96, 10 years no longer seems long!). Days we spent in coffee shops browsing magazines, reading books, writing papers, pretending to grade our students papers, but mostly chatting.
And here it is: all that we dreamed up then, we are living now. House, work, children, community, a way of life...
We had so much time then but didn't know it. Now it so easy to think of the waste during those years, urged by a culture to take the time for ourselves, for our education, "to get to know each other." Why didn't we save more money then? Why didn't we start having children earlier? Why did we spend so much time in coffee shops? And yet those days are so far gone; the questions, the looking back, unnecessary.
And so we, much like the very first couple must no longer look back but continue on hand in hand:
Yes, much of our plans and dreams have come true. But we too know that this is not Eden. We do not have enough time with each other. We do not have enough money for babysitters. We fall into bed too tired. We have failures and worries and vanities.
They looking back all the eastern side beheld
Of Paradise, so late their happy seat,
Waned over by that flaming brand, the gate
With dreadful faces thronged and fiery arms:
some natural tears they dropped, but wiped them soon;
The world was all before them, where to choose
Their place of rest, and providence their guide:
They hand in hand with wandering steps and slow,
Through Eden took their solitary way.
But unlike that first couple, we have a Love that does not let us go. The Gospel message rings true. Our weak and broken attempts to love are drawn up into Himself until it overflows, more than we ever thought we could give to each other, to our children, to our community. And His Love is enough.
The steps are still wandering and slow, but they are never solitary.