Free

Last night, again, I felt it – the turmoil.  The disquiet.

My mind, it felt… chaotic.  For no real reason – I wasn’t thinking about anything that was particularly weighty, or worrisome, I wasn’t trying to decide between any two things that were causing me to jump back and forth.

But still, as I lay in bed last night, my brain felt jumpy.  That’s the best way I can describe it.

So I prayed.

Prayed for peace and clarity and an end to whatever restlessness was plaguing my mind.  Prayed for quiet and stillness.

And I slept.

 

Today dawned, warm and new, and for the first part of the day I was peaceful.  For most of the day, really.  But for some reason, by about dinner time, I felt… icky again.  Just unhappy.  Just displeased.  I felt a general discontent with something.

 

So, when I left the house to run an errand or two, I stopped briefly at the park by the lake.  It was dusk – the sun had set, and it was cloudy this evening anyway.  There were no pink skies like there were on my walk the other night – just gray clouds and still water.

IMG_3893

But the second I stepped out of the van to go to the fencing, I felt it.

Peace.

The breeze blew, and off the lake it was actually a little on the chilly side (which I guess I should expect in March).  I breathed deeply and closed my eyes.  I watched the clouds.  I watched the water.

 

I can feel God when I’m outside.

I wonder if everyone is like that.

 

Long ago, when I was a teenager in a youth group at a church in the middle of nowhere with cow fields next door, when we had nights where we sat and spent time in prayer, I would choose a spot by the narrow window and look out into the field.  When, at night, I had trouble getting to sleep because I was having a teenage angsty problem, I would go to the back window of the house, the one that looked out over the open fields that had not yet been developed, and stare at the stars.

I always felt peace when I looked out and up.

 

I’ve never considered myself much of an outdoor girl, but when the sun warms the ground and I walk barefoot and feel the breeze and plant pretty things… sometimes I feel like an outdoor girl.  Granted, I can’t keep said pretty things alive ;), but there is something in all of it, in nature, that just is…warm.  And peaceful.  And restful.

It’s pleasant.

 

The other night, I watched the newest Cinderella movie again for the first time since taking Pink to see it in the theater the weekend it opened.  And as I watched it, I was struck by the familiar feeling – watching this fairy tale ‘come to life’, what resonated with me was the beauty of the setting.  The freedom in the childhood that they portrayed – a charming, dancing Ella, with animals and free flowing hair and bare feet.  And a mother who was equally so.

It’s all so… beautiful.  Does anyone else think so?

 

As I have mentioned before, I recently read the book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo.  As the first step of the KonMari method, she recommends writing out what it is that you want in your home, what you want it to look like, to feel like, and why.

It didn’t take long for me to see a trend.

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‘open… freedom… earthy… warmth…’

My feelings about a home are much more feelings than a certain aesthetic.  Similarly, when I think about the things I would optimally have in a home someday, I have said one of my main requirements is being able to see the sky.

Sometimes I wonder if it is an innate trait of people in the U.S. – after all, we are descended from people who came here, who embarked on a journey across the Atlantic ocean for one reason or another, and had to have some semblance of adventure written in their souls.  I wonder if it is something we all have, the desire to close our eyes and breathe deep and look up at the sky and be able to see it all.  To stretch our arms wide and be able to feel it.

The freedom.

 

When I think about what a perfect life must be (though I know no such thing exists here on earth), I think about smooth stones and trickling streams and breezes over grass.  And stars and sunsets.  I think about ripples and laughter and bare feet.  I think about windows wide open to the expanse of life that lies outside our doorsteps.

I think that, maybe, there is a deep, sometimes hidden, yearning for openness that lies in our hurried, busy, claustrophobic world today.  Even our homes are now more open, rather than the boxy rooms of old.  We have high ceilings and tall windows, open floor plans and wide doors to try to cultivate that feeling, that taking in of the expanse that is nature, but overall I feel we still fall short.

We probably always will.

I think of the churches and child centers I visited in Thailand, many of them open to the outside, and how much I loved them.

(Beautiful floors like the one on the left have stuck with me since that trip.  And the way it’s open there – we ate all our meals outdoors or under open air pavilions, everything is outdoors.  The buildings are vented to outdoors, like the church in the lower right.  And the shoes – I have such wonderful feelings about those big piles of shoes outside the doors of the buildings.)

I know that to most of the world, our closed up houses with airtight doors and windows are a mark of how well off we are.  We may think of open places as poorer and more primitive, and yes, it is true that many places are poorer and the open air-ness is of necessity… But then sometimes, all of the modern day things we have, while not bad things, have closed us in.  They’ve shut us up and closed us off.  Instead of open doors to the outside, we are fully enclosed and self-sufficient.

But are we free?

 

A couple of weeks ago, the kids and I went for a walk on one of the first nicer days we’d had in some time.  We took Kida, who does okay walking on a leash if it’s just me, but with the kids, she wants to perpetually keep up with them, be next to them, be ahead of them.  So when we all take her, they usually hold the leash and they all run together.

At one point, Link ran ahead of Astro and Kida and as she ran to catch him, she pulled Astro along faster than he would have gone on his own.

When I caught up to him, he looked up at me.  “Mom,” he said, “when I was running with Kida we were running so fast my eyes were watering because it was so awesome.”

I laughed, when he said it that day.  Astro has always loved to run, though he’ll say otherwise to anyone who asks.

Then, the other night, we had Kida again and it was just Astro, Pink, and I.  We took her around on the sidewalk near the lake which is a terrible idea, because she freaks out about the cars and is perpetually trying to get between us and the road, while at the same time be almost in the road.  But as we got closer to the van, we cut across the field and I took her leash again.  Astro and Pink ran ahead and Kida, as usual, followed, this time pulling me along behind at a pace that I was not prepared for!!

But as I ran with her toward the parking lot, all I could do was throw my head back and burst out laughing – it was joyous!  This exhilarating, breathless pace!  It was so free!!!

And then I got it.

I got to the van and the kids and I laughed about something, and I turned to Astro and was like, “We were running so fast my eyes watered because it was so awesome.”

He laughed.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Remember Me
    Mar 02, 2016 @ 02:57:32

    Life is awesome.

    Reply

  2. Trackback: togethersolitude

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