Sabbatical at last. Perhaps it should have been obvious to me that the greatest gift that God would offer during this year would have to offer was the luxury to stretch out into time. I am in Seattle a little (well, a lot) longer than I had planned. I should have been in South Korea with Joe already, but as it turns out, because of the miracle of finding a buyer for our condo Naomi and I are hanging out in a mostly empty house and bumming around Lake City for 5 additional weeks waiting for closing, signing papers, doing errands, tidying up the loose ends that moving overseas inevitably causes, giving away and selling the furniture and odds and ends left in our house, cleaning out the cupboards and the fridge and packing up what needs to come along.
Well that's what I've been doing. Naomi's been building legos, playing outside, watching videos (a little too much of that probably), going to the park, going swimming, eating donuts, jumping on the trampoline, peeing in the potty (most of the time) and going to the farmers' market. And I've been able to do all of those things with her, plus all my errands and re-reading the whole Harry Potter series. All of this because of this awesome gift of time.
I have been reminded over and over again that it does take time to be with a preschooler. It's not only the potty training (which is definitely time consuming!) It took Naomi and me almost an hour to walk home from the park yesterday. The park is a 5 minute walk away. I was torn constantly between wanting to yank Naomi away from the one thousandth rock stuck in the mud, the sticks and pine-cones and blackberries, and allowing her and myself to revel in these thing. I should want and be able to draw pictures in the dirt by the side of the road with a stick, hop from paver to paver in the sidewalk and lick pretend ice-cream made from pine-cones.
I should but that doesn't mean that it's easy to relax into the pace of a three-year-old, and she is often as frustrated with me as I am with her. I have this whole plan of exploring quilting as a spiritual discipline, but I am beginning to wonder if one of the challenges (and gifts) that lies before me in this time of Sabbatical will be to discover what it means to live into the spiritual discipline of parenting. While I think a lot about what it means to introduce Naomi to Jesus and at whatever level she can understand it, the faith in which I live, it has never really been a full-time gig.
So, why shouldn't a five minute walk take ten times that long? No reason, when presented with the gift of time. God help me live into the gift. I will need it - both the gift and the help living into it.