I recall a friend and mentor of mine who talked about living in cold weather. He explained that the more you fight the cold by tensing your muscles, gritting your teeth, cursing as your nose hair freezes, the harder it will be to acclimate. Rather, he suggested, you needed to relax into the air, breathe deeply and allow the beauty of winter to find its way into your body. (I paraphrase.) Or take Yoga, for example. The longer you sit in a stretching pose, however awkward and agonizing it may initially feel, the looser and more comfortable your tightly wound limbs begin to feel. I mention all of this because I was, metaphorically speaking, all tensed up over the potential visit of some relatives of mine. In my sleep deprived, alone-time starved state the last thing I thought I needed was 4 more people in my house, as much as I love them. I am ashamed to admit this, especially since these folks read my blogs, but it was true. I was bracing for a blast of cold chaos that would send me into proverbial hypothermia!
As it turned out, the more I relaxed into the experience of 8 people in my house, 4 of them under the age of 3, the better the time became. Granted, on the first night I wept like a baby while my 2 year old screamed for what felt like an eternity. BUT, as the time went on, we all began to gel into a beautiful little community. The kids played together and entertained each other. Babies were help by many loving hands. Meals were cooked and dishes were done by the team. Everyone took part in the challenges and also the joys. People got sick, naps were skipped, and the mornings came far too quickly, but there were also moments of great conversation, giving of gifts, sharing in music and food, sweet fellowship, adventures, laughter and creativity. This was priceless time that I will never forget and am so thankful that it came my way. (A personal thanks to J, B, T and G for blessing me with your company.) As a result, I feel like I have turned a corner of sorts. I think I'm more willing now to embrace "supposed" chaos in my home. That's progress for me who, despite my laid back appearance, often likes to be in control. Progress on the road to the graciousness I see in a rare few who I so desire to be like. I want to be someone who welcomes people into my little world without any fight going on in my head or heart about my comfort. I want to learn how to embrace inconvenience and experience the joy that comes from these events. So, I am learning. For those of you friends who are headed to the greater Seattle area - please come visit and teach me more.