Our family is loud. We easily take over a restaurant, the football stands, and even our campfires in our backyard seem to echo into the night. Rambunctious, funny, dramatic…we don’t run out of words.
However, as the kids have grown up, the house has quieted and I have to turn to the snapshots in my memory to keep the voices alive.
Snapshots, like, the day my eldest son took the stage, head shaved, as Daddy Warbucks. The day I realized he’d grown up.
Snapshots, like the sound of my daughter singing the national at our local football games. Or hearing her speak her vows to her groom, 4 years later.
Snapshots – or a movie, really of watching my middle son plow through the defense, the first time he ran for a touchdown. Then the vivid smile on his face the day we told him he was going to meet the Minnesota Vikings.
The sweet, quiet snapshot of the day my youngest son sat down on the sofa, and unbidden, put his arm around me and said, you’re a great mom. Or the crazy moment when he sacked the QB in his first game as a Senior, Captain.
The memories go on, of course, but these snapshots stay in my mind, precious, delicious, moments that fill my head with voices when, as it is now, my house feels so quiet.
So quiet, I can hear my heartbeat, the wind in the pine trees around my house, the resounding echo of the empty nest.
I live in one of the most beautiful places on the planet – in a carved out section of woods in northern Minnesota on a hilltop that overlooks Lake Superior (in the winter – we like to say we have a seasonal lake view.) It’s quiet, only the rush of the wind in the trees. At night, the sky is so dark the stars seem just an arm’s length away. Right now, bejeweled leaves in orange, gold and apple red blanket my dirt driveway, and the air smells of wood smoke and the loamy bouquet of autumn. I wish you could all come and visit.
My favorite part about living here are the sunrise and deep nights viewed from my deck. In the early morning, I take a cup of coffee and watch the morning syrup through the trees, across the cedar planks to kiss my toes. It’s where I have my devotions and it awakens my day to the source of joy.
At night, after the house is quiet, I take my tea (or a glass of wine) outside again and sit in the Adirondack chairs and watch the stars and listen to the wind. I sit there, and I think about the fact that this life is just the beginning. That there is more, and what I do in this life matters for the next. That the choices I make here affect the everlasting. It makes me grateful for amazing grace, and the gift of salvation.
I wrote a Christmas book about quiet that happens when the kids leave. How it stirs up old voices, and maybe old hurts. It’s called Evergreen, and it’s really the story of the next season. The snapshots still to be taken.
I hope you’ll check it out.
And, if you want, share with me (and my readers) the things you’ve done to keep your marriage “Evergreen.”
May your life be loud with the voices of love.