Practicing with Children

[the] Breathing Room

BR landscapeWe have recently weathered a transition from California to Oregon.  With the right mindset, moving can be seen as an adventure.  Some aspects of the process just plain stink, though, no matter your attitude.  Taping up boxes.  Playing “Tetris” with packed boxes while trying to fit your belongings in the ever-shrinking truck.  Eating out more, missing naps, tearful goodbyes, losing sleep (see “naps”) while the mind churns endlessly through the unknowns, sleeping in the same room with children in hotels on unfamiliar beds, and driving mile after mile with the same overly tired (see “naps”) children…HOUR.  AFTER.  HOUR.  Arriving, unpacking, downing Advil, slurping double shots to counteract the lack of sleep and sore muscles, breaking down boxes, locating the grocery store, finally finding doctors, dentists and hair stylists.

The list goes on and on.  It can feel impossible to make time to breathe—to set aside a moment in the midst of the moving treadmill.  I have found, though, that it is a must for spiritual and emotional health.  As parents, we are called to model these rhythms for our children.  If we are so worried about the to do’s —boxes waiting to be unpacked, pictures to be hung, essentials to be located (silverware?!?) and relocated—our kids get lost in the shuffle and witness unhealthy coping mechanisms.

During our week of “transitional housing”, we were in a beautiful farm for two nights, stayed with family for two other nights and also in a hotel in our new community. But at our Corvallis hotel there was a sign on the desk…

breathing room

It was a sign for our “no smoking room”, but a reminder to me. No matter the pressing needs and demands. No matter the upheaval in our lives, space to breathe and recharge is something we must make room for. We make sure our youngest gets time for a nap. Why don’t we do the same for ourselves? I had built in some times for recharge into my life but during our transition, between hotel and empty new house–it was more challenging. Even as an extrovert, I need this breathing room too.  God calls us to this rest.  Jesus made time for it, no matter what was pressing in.  Our children need this practice modeled for them.  To see that resting is a spiritual discipline, an opportunity to slow down.  A chance to observe the many ways God has been present for and with us.

My charge to myself and you is to make space—time and room to breathe without guilt.  Just as our kids need an opportunity and space to breathe, room to stretch and observe, so do we.  It often is the road less traveled, but taking a breather along the way makes the journey richer.

rest walk

“…for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest…”

~Hebrews 4:10-11a

Christine Gough

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2 thoughts on “[the] Breathing Room

  1. Pingback: {the} Breathing Room | These Stones

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