My Best Birthday Gift

The best gift my husband has ever given me, and our kids for that matter, is time away all by myself.  He and I both run into a lot of people who think this is crazy.  He has even had to sort out the feelings of rejection that my need for time alone has implied to him.  But, every single time I have taken space from daily life I have come back a better, new and a more fun, life-giving person.  Every time he has been grateful for the “new me.”

Do you ever find yourself hanging onto an item and after several interruptions, requests, mediations, demands, you look down at your hand and realize you have no idea why you are hanging onto it?

For me, getting away alone gives me the space and silence I need to recognize things I picked up somewhere and forgot to put down.  Unforgiveness is one I seem to gravitate toward, and usually over silly things I’d quickly forgotten about.  Responsibility that isn’t mine is another.  Anxiety and worry.  Unmet expectations – expectations that really shouldn’t be held up in the first place.  Disappointments, usually related to expectations, but also in myself, my children, my husband, friendships… disappointment is a pretty aggressive weed in my life. There seems to be so much I can be disappointed about!  Failure – even imagined failures!  Fear and self-consciousness tend to get clumped together in one fist pretty often too.

Getting away, settling into a space of complete silence and empty of people, highlights these things for me.  It opens doors for release, where I can let go and get rid of these things I somehow picked up and forgot to set down.  Being alone, a few days uninterrupted, gives me the time to remember what I’m holding.

And then, THEN, once these things are gone and my hands are free again I find the capacity to truly worship, to lift up emptiness for being filled with what inspires life.  Being emptied of myself, of all the trash I keep gravitating toward, even unintentionally at times, opens up room within me to receive all the good things God intends.  In the emptiness I recognize there is no condemnation, no rejection, no refusal.  In the emptiness I regain vision of what is truly amazing, and I have the room to ask for and receive it.

Getting away alone means I empty out all the trash and fill up with all the joy, hope, peace, refreshment, life, beauty, wonder, compassion, mercy, hope, empathy, respect, awe, availability and fun I can hold.

Getting away alone means I come back a different person.  Clean and free and full of good things to dole out to my husband, children and into friendships.  If we can only give from what we have, then getting away alone is absolutely the best possible gift I could receive.

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