A Sarine Thought… or Two

photo by Matt Cornelius
photo by Matt Cornelius

In the Thick of It

Hello friends! It’s been a hot minute since we last conversed, and I have missed you all. And when I say a “hot minute,” I mean boiling-lava hot. I do not recall a time before now when I was so busy. There are practices, games, services, commitments, appointments, meetings, parties, duties, and so forth. And those are just the things to which I am chauffeuring my baby child. I haven’t even counted all the things Ross and I have going on, both as individuals and as a couple. This season of life is simultaneously exhilarating and overwhelming. While deep breathing can be toward the end of my extensive to-do list, I think this is a great time to take stock of the blessings this season is bringing before it changes, and I can’t remember any of them.

As of February, I secured my position smack-dab at the center of middle age. If you double my current age, it equals 86. (Lord willing, and the creek doesn’t rise, I will make it to the other side of the equals sign of that equation.) While this is hard to admit to the part of me struggling to hang on to her youth, it is also rather invigorating. I have several years of experience and learned lessons behind me, but still before me the opportunity to grow in wisdom and love. I have told many people that of all the decades I’ve experienced, my forties have been my favorite thus far. I’m not as dumb or concerned with popular opinion as I was in my twenties, nor am I as competitive or comparative as I was in my thirties. My fourth decade has brought about humble confidence. I am certain I don’t know it all, but neither does any other human being. That knowledge has given me the freedom and willingness to see areas where I am wrong and give grace to others who haven’t reached the same place of awareness. It has also made me much more pliable in the hands of God.

Something I have become especially aware of recently is the need to be both actively present in the moment and grateful for it. This was actually something I was going to work on as a New Year’s resolution, but I have a propensity to be easily overwhelmed when bombarded with responsibilities and commitments. I thrive on a regular schedule where the number of to-dos falls in the range of Emily-acceptable constraints. For example, I like that on Thursdays, I exercise at 5:20 a.m. (shout out to the trainers at Wacha Resolution!), go to work to complete my regular weekly projects and prepare for the week ahead, and then have time in the afternoon to either attend whatever sporting event Jack is participating in or start the laundry before dinner. Am I happy to essentially be one of the most endearingly boring people you have ever had the privilege of knowing? Why, yes. Yes, I am!

But more often than not, my Thursdays don’t look like this. Other surprises crop up and throw my sweet little schedule into a tailspin. Sometimes, the surprises are good, like having an impromptu lunch with a friend. But sometimes they are less than ideal, like when you crack a tooth while chewing a piece of gum (true story) and have to go to the dentist for an emergency filling. While these examples are not life-altering events, I don’t want to miss the opportunity to be thankful in the midst of them. If I can’t be thankful for the small surprises, good or bad, how will I ever be able to be thankful for the ones that will significantly change my life? Practice makes perfect when it comes to gratitude, people!

Ross and I have been discussing lately what we will do once Jack goes to college. Our social lives and conversations tend to be heavily influenced by his commitments and activities. God blessed us with a wonderful son whom we love dearly. I believe most parents feel this way regarding their own child(ren), but Ross and I happen to really like our kid. He’s funny, smart, and tall enough to reach all the things I can’t from the top shelves in the kitchen. We like his friends too. They smell weird and are super loud, but they are so fun! When they leave in just a few short years, Ross and I are going to have a major block of time open up in the nothing-going-on columns of our calendars. However, worrying about what it will be like when that happens isn’t the healthiest option. Being grateful for the here and now is where the joy will be found. Gratitude makes each moment sweeter and even stamps some of them more permanently in my memory.

Have there been times when all I wanted was to be home napping instead of sitting at a ballpark or a gym? Absolutely! But I know I will never regret being in the stands at the end of a ballgame or ceremony so that Jack knows we witnessed him doing something he loves. He’s going to begin driving soon, so I won’t have as many practices or appointments to get him to. His independence is increasing at the speed of light. The prime time of his need for my hands-on mothering is on the decline. Funny how that reality is exciting, heart-breaking, and terrifying all at the same time.

Even so, while feeling all the feelings, I’m going to thank the Lord for every scheduled event, spur-of-the-moment happening, and surprise I wasn’t expecting. I don’t know everything, but I’ve got a pretty good feeling that if I practice gratitude in the current chaos, I will be better equipped to be thankful in the future quiet. So, here’s to a grateful heart and a full schedule, all my middle-aged warriors! We may be in the thick of it, but ain’t it a great place to be for now?


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