When we moved, there were eight days between when we arrived and when the moving truck arrived. Eight days with limited clothing, housewares, toys, and furniture. It was a huge challenge. It was a challenge to feel comfortable. It was a challenge to keep my kids entertained. It was a challenge to keep me entertained (Did I mention that we also didn’t have Internet access or phone service for most of that time?)
But it was also an opportunity. Those eight days helped me understand what our new home looked like empty, so that I could be thoughtful about how to fill it.
Many nights, my husband and I would go into a room and think about its function. We would discuss what furniture we wanted in that room, and where to place it. We thought about which boxes would come into the house and which boxes would stay in the garage. By the time the moving truck did arrive, I knew exactly how to instruct the movers. I had a clear picture of what to do with the empty space.
Our home wasn’t the only thing that was empty when we arrived here: so was my calendar.
I transitioned from working mom to stay-at-home mom, so there was no work schedule for me. We moved in the summer, so there was no preschool schedule for Cameron. We didn’t have a new church community yet, so there were no volunteer commitments for our family. We moved into a rental, so there was no home-improvement schedule for our house. We came to Indiana with only one commitment: my husband’s job. Besides that, our schedule was clear.
A clear schedule has been new territory for us. My husband and I are both achievers. When one activity or project is completed, we tend to replace it with another one, or sometimes even two. We are gluttons for commitments.
The transition of the past few months has allowed me to experience what an empty schedule feels like. I have found something I forgot existed: space.
Space to connect with God. Space to connect with my husband. Space to connect with my kids. Space to reflect on who I am. Space to dream about the future. Space to explore. Space to flex when days don’t go as I hoped or planned. Space to give and receive grace. Space to understand that my identity is not rooted in my achievements. Space to remember that the weight of the world does not rest on my shoulders.
Be still, and know that I am God. – Psalm 46:10
Things have slowly been added to our schedule. And that is good. I am ready. I am ready to be a part of a community. I am ready to use my gifts to help others. I am ready to let commitments fill back in. But now I have a clear picture of what to do with the empty space.
My goal is not to fill the space. My goal is to feel as fulfilled in the space as I feel in the achievements.
Better one handful with tranquility than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind.- Eccl 4:6