Thursday, August 20, 2015

{pretty, happy, funny, real}: finding contentment during sleeplessness

| a weekly capturing the contentment in everyday life |

I haven't been sleeping well lately.  It's pretty typical this time of year when all of my kids are flung hither and yon, getting situated into new places for the fall.  Ticking one more year off the calendar of parenthood unsettles me, interrupts my sleep, makes me restless, sad, and, often, anxious. And it's our baby's last year of high school.  My last year to send a child to high school.  And our son is getting married in less than 5 months.  All joyful things, but seriously messing with my mama mojo.

There are other things going on, too.  As Brian nears ordination, we're ready to think about what's next, maybe even where's next. This is definitely unsettling in a way that's hard to put into words.  Literally.  Every time Brian and I try to have a heart-to-heart conversation about planning our future we end up sputtering half-finished sentences, unable to conclude anything.  I end up near tears, and then we can't speak again for hours.  The question feels impossible to answer. So, yes, I'm losing a bit of sleep these days.

My daughter brought us gifts from her summer in NY, books that seem to match us each perfectly (thank you Broome County Public Library book sale!).  For me, she chose Garrison Keillor's selection of Good Poems for Hard Times.  Last night, awake around 4am, I read this unseasonal, but completely recognizable lament from a favorite poet:
Ice Storm
Jane Kenyon

For the hemlocks and broad-leafed evergreens
a beautiful and precarious state of being. . . .
Here in the suburbs of New Haven
nature, unrestrained, lops the weaker limbs
of shrubs and trees with a sense of aesthetics
that is practical and sinister. . . .

I am the guest in this house.
On the bedside table Good Housekeeping, and
A Nietzsche Reader. . . . The others are still asleep.
The most painful longing comes over me.
A longing not of the body. . . .

It could be for beauty-
I mean what Keats was panting after,
for which I love and honor him;
it could be for the promises of God,
or for oblivion, nada; or some condition even more
extreme, which I intuit, but can't quite name.

I lose sleep unable to name what's next, and who I will be next.  What's my role in our future?  We'll celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary this fall, Brian's ordination to the priesthood, our son's marriage & college graduation, our youngest child's high school graduation -- just to name a few milestones ahead of us in the coming months. I am deeply longing for something I can't quite name.  

While I lose sleep at night, I feebly practice contentment each day. Here's a few snapshots of the past couple of weeks.

| pretty |

estate sale goodness

Can you believe my luck?  I could have purchased several more! I figure if I'm going to paw through some dearly passed lady's stuff, the least I can do is rescue (and read!) her books.   

| happy |

boys' lunch
a day on South Congress with Elayna
Sabbath dinner with our godson Emmett (and his sweet sister, Lucy!)

a trip to NYC with his girls

Brian and his kids this summer

I gathered a few snapshots from a some of the moments Brian got to spend with "his kids" this summer. He is so good at giving them his time and care.  I love this about him.

| funny |

new talent at open mic

Andrew hosts a weekly open mic in Austin.  He had a request for a time slot from one of Austin's newest comics.  Of course we couldn't miss her set!  You can watch it, too, at this link.  (spoiler alert:  She kills it!)

| real(ly?!?)|

our 4th anniversary in Austin

It's hard to believe, but it's true.  August 11th marked our arrival to Austin four years ago.  Here's a reflection I wrote on our one -year anniversary and one I wrote on our two-year anniversary.  Also, I never get tired of reading the posts the whole family pitched in to write back in 2011, during our week trip from upstate NY to our new home: Murphys Take Austin (Tamara-Day 1Days 2&3,  Days 3&4Andrew-Saying Goodbye, Brian-Day 5Kendra-Day 6, Alex-Day 7Natalie-Settling In onday morning thoughts: dancing bear act, crash helmets and a Doxology

Have you captured any contentment this week? 
 I'd love to hear about it!

| Join in at P,H,F,R to see other wonderful people practicing contentment. |

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