Today I am participating in Living Simply Saturday at Keeper of the Home. For me, living simply means getting rid of excess things and activities that create stress instead of peace in my home. One surprising way I have simplified my life is parting with one of our family cars, leaving me "stuck" at home all the time. Be sure to read yesterday's post, Totaled Blessings, to learn the background on how our family ended up with just one vehicle. Then read on while I share some of the blessings of this particular simplicity.
Certainly there are drawbacks to sharing a car, but the savings on auto insurance is just the beginning of the weighty benefits. Appointments must be scheduled carefully, and if I do need to go somewhere, the boys and I spend more than two hours in the car dropping Daddy off at work and picking him up in the evening. However, those long car rides afford me an opportunity to talk with my husband and see what he experiences during his daily commute - an opportunity that would never exist if I had my own car to use. I cannot decide on a whim to run to the store; I have had to relinquish self-sufficiency and instead rely on others - in this case, my husband - to help me accomplish errands I previously would have handled on my own, such as banking and Post Office trips. I cannot take the boys to the Thursday morning toddler program at the library, but we can go on Saturday mornings to pick out new books to pore over for the next four weeks. Once in a while I worry that Hayden will split his head open and I will have no way to drive him to the hospital, but I trust that God is in control. And - this is really the one thing I miss about having a car - I cannot get together regularly with a dear friend, who has young boys of her own, for playdates. But I find that because our visits are few and must be scheduled far in advance, the time we spend together is even more precious.
And it is not just time with friends that is precious. My children are growing so quickly. Do I really want to spend my days impatiently strapping them into the backseat of a car so I can rush off to some errand or extracurricular? I know that such activities can be beneficial or at least necessary, but for this season of my life, I am thankful to have no choice but to stay home. More important than even the fellowship with other Christian ladies at Bible study is fellowship with my own family and learning to be patient with my children - something I was sadly lacking when we had to rush out of the house by 8:30am. I can give the children the structure and routine that makes their days run smoothly, instead of disrupting meals and naps while we drive all over town. And I can learn to delay gratification, even the housewifely gratification of running to the store for a forgotten food item, because I simply have no way to get things immediately. In this hurried world, where life often goes speeding by before we realize it, being forced to slow down and walk has helped me to grow a bit of patience and peace.
Yes, as I sit here in the grass watching the boys blow bubbles into the breeze...or on the living room floor, eating a bowl of soup that Donny concocted for me with wooden vegetables, a toy pot, and a heap of imagination...or leisurely snapping green beans at the kitchen table because I don't have to rush to make dinner, while my "helpers" put half chewed beans into the pot...I know I am blessed. I may not have the freedom to leave home at a moment's notice, but I have freedom to savor every moment in the place I live with the people I love. Thank you, Lord, for teaching me that joy is not in driving here or there, but in fulfilling my calling to be home as I simply walk daily with You.
Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in his ways.