One week ago today my three sons and I boarded a plane at Washington Dulles and said farewell to the wonderful life we knew and loved in Northern Virginia (Will was already here in Tennessee with a week under his belt at his new job). Leaving was an emotionally taxing experience, to say the least. Sam melted down the night before at a going away bonfire that was the most charming sendoff you could imagine. He hid his face in my coat and we walked to the car as if his little head was permanently conjoined to my stomach — it was too overwhelming to say goodbye. I slept twelve hours that night and all three boys slept significantly more. We were spent.
The big boys do not start school until January, but Sam marched off to his lovely little mountain school on Monday morning. The school day is an hour longer here, and at Lorien Wood they had short Wednesdays (yes, every Wednesday they got out at 1pm). So by Friday Sam had logged seven more hours of school than he ever has before, and they work hard at this school. I’ve never been more happy for Friday to come. My exhausted little boy did it! He even got second place in the class spelling bee yesterday.
I’m trying to get the house in order, but honestly it is going to take a while. My cousin, Robb, was in town this week for work, and I dropped everything and visited with him for hours. It was worth every second. The boys and I got a Christmas tree and the girl who tied our tree to the minivan did not inspire confidence. I was a nervous wreck driving up the mountain with a loose tree, but we made it. And I let the boys decorate it without obsessing like I usually do over even light distribution. The mantel is decked out with my favorite Christmas decorations. We put garland around the front door. We’ve said yes to every social engagement possible. The boys have been to church four different times this week! These might seem really odd priorities if you saw my house because we’ve been here a week and not a single room (other than the hall bath) is in order. There is stuff EVERYWHERE! It’s kind of mortifying and yet I’m finding freedom in saying, “good enough” and “give it time.”
The other day I was reading my Advent devotional Making Room for the Light, and my husband told me that evidently Prince, as in the artist formerly known as a symbol, only plays Prince in his house. Although I think it’s borderline disturbing and a little bit funny to think I have any parallel to Prince, my Advent devotional is probably my best work. I so need its message this year: in all the chaos to be intentional about making room, to be reflective and peace-filled, to live by the power of the Holy Spirit above the fray. Plus, when I read it I almost feel as if someone else wrote it, which makes me bolder in recommending it to you.
So we are settling in, slowly but surely. Little Will has built two beds, two nightstands, and an IKEA wardrobe with an astounding number of pieces. Yesterday I told him, “I really really like it here. I mean, sure we don’t have friends yet. But we will.”
He dryly responded in his grumpy teenage way, “Well, I do have one friend here: the screwdriver.”
Praise God he makes me laugh. Praise God that we will make friends. Praise God that the above picture is a pretty typical mountain morning.
Praise God that John 1:1 – 5 is truth:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
No matter where we are physically, emotionally, spiritually may we recognize that the Light shines in the darkness, and that darkness has no chance of ever overcoming it. May we make room for and live in the Light this season.