Did'ja ever notice that when things are the busiest, life seems to take off out from underneath you and SPEED past at light speed? I remember distinctly telling Jon and Kelsey something to the effect that the last 45 days in Germany would pass quicker than they'd ever imagine, but I certainly do NOT remember anyone telling me how quickly life would fly by once we were here, settled in, and "calmed down".
Where did the last two weeks go?
In the space of just fourteen days, we've brought a newborn home from the hospital, brought a soldier "home" from basic training, said a tearful goodbye to a cat that we've had longer than four of our children, and spent a full six days trying to keep track of which of our family members were in the middle of Tropical Storm Fay's deluge on Florida....not to mention the countless friends who have been affected since she breached Florida's borders!
It's only now, though, that we're realizing how quickly everything happened over the last two weeks. Routines are being established with the new baby, Pete is going back to work next week, and I finally am finding space in my fridge between all the leftovers of meals that were provided to us by folks at church (and other friends here in town).
I read something today that I've seen before several times but it never really clicked in my mind till today: "Life is lived forward, but understood backward". How true that is! Sad that we spend so much time looking back at the brief moments that speed past us. However, I think it may be sadder still if we spend that time in regret, instead of learning from the trials, blessings, and yes, even the chaos.
One of the lessons I learned while I was in the hospital after Shelby's birth was the value of slowing down and just taking everything in. When Dani was born, a herd of elephants holding the front doors shut couldn't have kept me from leaving that hospital just 24 hours after she arrived. I had things to do...I was tired of being cooped up and "imprisoned" in the hospital, and I would have jumped out the window to get away because I wanted to get home and get on with life. I pretty much kept up that pace until Shelby was born, and it exhausted me to the bone. The night of Shelby's birth, my body (and mind) finally yielded to the pent-up exhaustion. I'd had a relatively pain-free (hey, epidurals are our FRIENDS, girls!) labor, an easy delivery, and (aside from my completely numb and lifeless right leg for the first four hours) seamless recovery. But WOW did I hit a wall that evening! My nurse encouraged me to take full advantage of the time Shelby had to be under observation in the transitional nursery (and to take advantage of the wonderful pain medication they offered me) and just REST. I did.
That rest was the best rest I've had in......well, years. I didn't sleep all that well, because let's face it, when you're getting your blood pressure monitored once an hour, having nurses come in and poke and prod in areas that you'd just rather they leave alone, and the lab tech Dracula comes in to invade your veins in the wee hours of the morning, sleep isn't something you can get much of. But just resting...sitting in a quiet, dark, peaceful room with no one but the Lord to keep you company......it's amazingly restful. And very rejuvinating.
After that period of rest, I was no longer in a hurry. It didn't bother me one bit that the doctors wanted to keep both of us the full 48 hours; it didn't affect me at all that life beckoned on the outside and that Pete and the other kids had "places to go, people to see". I spent a great deal of time doing nothing, and it felt GREAT. I chit-chatted with nurses. I made small talk with consultants who came from every possible walk of life to offer me their services and a few minutes of their time. I took note of every detail of Shelby's little face. For the first time, I just drank in every minute of life.
It's a good thing, too, because those minutes disappeared quicker than I could keep track of. They're gone forever; but I've learned SO much from them! Oh, by the way, that "still, small voice"? It's there. And after thousands of years, that voice still says,
"Be still, and know that I am God."