I have lots of ways to amuse myself. If I had a day off, with no one to consider but myself, I might spin off in a few different directions, depending on the wind.
Most likely I would brew a pot of tea, preferably Earl Grey or a black tea with some variation of vanilla. Light a candle. Find the most comfortable spot to sit. Settle down with a mystery story and live the thrills vicariously. For hours.
Or I might pack a water bottle, some power bars and a journal, head to the state park for trail walking in the dim greenness of a forest where nobody can pluck at me. Not a forest with potential grizzlies, just to be clear.
Maybe I would pursue the thrill of bargain hunting at yard sales or thrift stores. I might find a brand new Quirkle game for 99 cents! I might find Usborne books for quarters! I might find a sweater I need!
If the sun came out after a long period of winter, there is even a possibility that I would tackle a garden plot or flower bed and pull all the weeds, then stand back and survey my handiwork with great satisfaction.
Top notch fun, always, is a library book sale. If I could coincide my day off with such an event, I would just have my socks blessed off.
I would eat chocolate on any or all of these occasions. Not cheap milk chocolate. No, only the best bittersweet, with maybe flakes of sea salt or chunks of coffee beans embedded in it.
There is a chance that I would feel like being creative with fabric and sew up something that just makes me happy. Maybe a throw pillow cover or a book bag.
I could even pick out paint and transform my bathroom, then stand there and just marvel at how amazing it looks.
As I was writing these thrilling potential ways to spend a day, I realized something I never thought about before. I don’t have to go to faraway places to have a great time. Sure I would love to “journey to iconic destinations on board a Viking longship”, thanks to Masterpiece classic commercials. But I don’t have to have a wallet stuffed with cash for kicks. I can have fun every day and life is good!
Let me tell you, that list up there? It would have seemed impossibly domestic to my teen self. I was going to change the world! I was going to go to exotic locations and do great things! I was not going to be a North American housewife with a passel of children, canning peaches and stuff. If you don’t believe me, ask my brothers. They called me a women’s libber.
Even after my true love found me and we had a couple of babies, I still pined to get out and do things that really mattered. (Translate: things that are obviously noble.) I prayed many times for a way to reconcile the brilliant dreams (save the orphans) with the slightly grubby reality (feed the babies). Something seems to have shifted since the days when it felt like life in the small grey house was just a tad stuffy and boring. My passport has expired and I drive a Suburban to Aldi’s for groceries. I stay very local, yet I travel everywhere and my borders have enlarged. I don’t have large blocks of time for personal enrichment, but I am just flush with good things.
I feel certain that as soon as I hit publish I will be tempted to bust out and go somewhere, but I will be candid and gratefully say that I think I may be learning to be content with where I am in life. This is not me. It is the spirit of God, giving me what it take to enjoy the ordinary. I recognize this fact with deep humility: if you practice contentment long enough, it becomes a part of your life. It is a deeply happy place in what may appear to others to be a small and restricted space.
There is one thing about being a keeper in a home that’s just a little like white water rafting. I had to sign away my life for this realization of joy.
(I deeply appreciate the truth of Michael Card’s song, Joy in the Journey. )