Yesterday, we met an old friend and some new friends here in the city for a trek about the local gardens. If you remember, these gardens are where my “washer woman” photo was taken.
I wanted to find her again and take a picture in a different season just to compare how the seasons affected her. I was not as impressed by her with all the green foliage at her feet as I was by her stance amongst the decaying foliage of that autumn day just prior to Emily becoming sick. She seemed less noble.
I got a bit closer to her and that is when I realized her laundry basket wasn’t full of clothes, nor was it empty as if she had just hung up the wash. My “washer woman” wasn’t washing anything at all.
Do you know what was in that basket???
For a long time I have needed her to be serious, standing against all odds. I have needed her to embrace her job as a wife and mother despite the death and decay about her. I have needed her to keep going, keep moving, keep being.
Yesterday, there was a paradigm shift.
While I still embrace my wifely and motherly roles, while I still stand amidst trials, while I am still a thinker and an analyzer, it is time for another side of me to emerge. My basket mustn’t always be full of laundry. There are flowers to be gathered!
For a long while I have been deep in thought. I’ve always been plagued by the “need” to analyze everything. Since Emily’s death, I’ve spent even more time than usual (read that as EVERY WAKING MINUTE!) thinking about something or other. Whether this is a coping mechanism so I don’t have to feel or whether it is a habit I have gotten into is really of no consequence. The effect is what matters. I have lost the ability to enjoy my down time. In fact, I have lost down time altogether. (My friend, Candi, says I need a TV so I can just “veg”; however, I informed her that we do have a Netflix subscription and I end up choosing documentaries to watch because I like to think…go figure!)
After a long talk with my husband last night, I realized I no longer just sit and be. My family will be enjoying a campfire while I write or read next to them. At night, I research deep theological issues or listen to sermons. I drive in the car and miss exits because I was “thinking”. While there is nothing wrong with these things in and of themselves, it is when I choose these things every single time and fill my day to the brim with deep thoughts that it becomes a problem. Sometimes I need to just pick flowers. Sometimes I need to just “be”.
Be still and know that I am God.
I also snapped this photo (not the greatest time of day for a photo…might go back someday and try again) because it reminded me of another important aspect of my life. Look at her face. She doesn’t look worried or serious or preoccupied. And look at the boy in her arms…bliss. *sigh*
And then there is this photo…
I am actually excited to see what the Lord has in store for me as I retrain myself to “be still”. I am sure He will show Himself to me in ways I never took the time to recognize. There is beauty in the ashes. There is beauty beyond the ashes. It is okay to hang the laundry and fill the basket with flowers on my way back home.