Each time my parents come here to our little spot on the farm they encounter the spot where hi-speed Internet has failed to reach. The land where two bars is the best you can hope for and checking voicemail requires a drive up the road, around the corner, down the hill, and up into the cemetery, which seems to be the only spot they can hear well enough to write down the urgent.
Honestly, Mike and I have joked for years that we should charge all of them (4 parents, ya know) a commission for the getaway time, as they all seem to strike more business deals from this Michigan kitchen table then any other time.
My mom told me the last time they came that she had shared with her ladies Bible study that they were going to get away from it all. And the truth is they did. We have telephones that work, they just aren’t theirs, we have computers and Internet, though they are slow, and we have no satellite television or cable. We are 40 minutes from Target, 40 minutes from Starbucks, and an hour and fifteen minutes from the nearest Pottery Barn. We have two fast food choices, and a hand full of other dining options available in a closer proximity. Compared to their homes, we are a quiet retreat center.
When they pull into the driveway they put their phones aside, their schedules aside, their multitasking aside, and breathe in country air. And if they sigh just so on our porch swing, or on a walk around the garden, I can almost feel it too. Space. to . breathe. I, too, find that quiet spot where I can hear more clearly. In my own backyard.
Its almost laughable that anyone would view our home as a quiet retreat center. We have four active, gregarious children, ministries, work schedules, smart phones, email, and a DVD player, for heaven’s sake. My home is filled with people frequently, and I like to think it rings with laughter and joy regularly. There is always laundry to wash, fold, put away, dishes to do, bills to pay, and calls to make. It certainly doesn’t feel like a retreat center, it feels like a bustling bed and breakfast that provides maid service, taxi service, and homework assistance.
But when my parents walk through my doors and sigh and it all rolls off. I’ve found myself wondering since they left the last time if I could keep that feeling of peace and retreat here. It has been elusive, like chasing a butterfly that darts each time I think I’ve laid hold.
So, here are some things I’m working on to try to capture that feeling of retreat.
1. I’m asking the Lord to quiet me.
I realize afresh that my state of mind sets the tone for my family and as I fix my mind on Him the noise I make in this place is less clanging like a gong (1 Cor 13) and more like a melody. I’m beginning and ending my day with Him and His word.
2. I’m asking the Lord to show me the “things” in our lives that need to go.
Less background noise. Fewer movies. Limitations on Internet time (me). Once in a while, I’m silencing my phone and putting a sticker over the message light.
3. I’m asking the Lord to help me see excess and clutter.
More stuff doesn’t equal more peace. It means more to maintain and put away and it often leads my heart further away from my husband, family and Lord.
I desperately long for our home to be a place of peace. It may never be our retreat center, but it can be a place of peace.
Have you made the decision to turn something off recently?