Growing, Growing

4917 4917_ () 4917 4917 There are seasons in life when you sit down and consider the ideas swirling in your brain. These are the times when you aren’t exactly sure what thoughts and concepts you are presently entertaining, and you aren’t sure if this is because your head is really that empty, or that it’s so full that everything has gone blank.

I’m wondering if this is my general state of being this time of year. Some moments I find myself staring at my weekly calendar and reading daily events over and over, like I am once again a student preparing for exams.

Ten years ago, this concept would have freaked me out. I might have thought this was a form of compulsive behavior (consistently checking the calendar? Really?). But now I understand (as you might as well) that it just comes with the territory. The older your children get, the faster the pace. That’s just how it is.

These days, life is fast and busy and filled with excitement. It’s challenging and overwhelming and beautiful to the core.

I’m not just putting a positive spin on it — life really is beautiful. But lately I’m realizing the beauty doesn’t always equal ease. Or fun. My days are certainly filled with a lot of fun, but never every single minute. Family life offers plenty of adventure, but also opportunities for growth in all the virtues that are oh-so-painful to grow in.

Growing times, that’s what these are. But the thing about growth is that you often don’t realize you’re growing until you see the fruit of that growth.

Last week two of our boys had big-time research papers due at school. They handled their approach to these papers as different as their genetic code. One boy sat down immediately, wrote an almost hourly schedule for himself, and then kept to that list. He would work for a while, get up and stretch, work some more, have me proof and then repeat. When he finished, he spent ninety minutes in the garage pounding on his drums to release all the pent-up energy and stress of the last few days.

The other boy wanted to do it later. Later. Okay, a little later than this? Just let me shoot some hoops to get out my energy? A little soccer in the backyard? A quick run around the block?

This went on for some time and without rehashing the painful details, let’s just say that the experience was a real learning lesson for each of us. He learned that his mother knows what she’s talking about when she says “now would be the best time.” I learned to put my foot down a little sooner.

That’s what life is like these days — important lessons, but lessons that make you feel like you just dragged yourself out of a warzone when you make it to the other side. Yes, we learned something but man that was painful. I walked around in a bit of a fog the next morning, after the reports were turned in and we marked that off our list. It felt every bit as draining as a ten-mile run around the city.

And then, the next day, I take my oldest son to the doctor for a recheck on his broken collarbone. As we leave the building with the directive of a few more weeks in the sling, my son is quick to hold the door open for me. He stands and waits while another group enters the building, holding the door for them.

It’s just a little thing, but it is enough. It is the fruit of our efforts. It is the life we are living. A gentle reminder that we are in the trenches, that the price is high and the cost, many days, is every bit that you have to pay. And then a little more on top.

But it’s worth it. It is worth it. Even when the silence is deafening. Even when your head is so full of To Do’s and What If’s and How in the World’s?

Your head is full to overflowing, but your heart is full as well. That is the thing that keeps us going, that’s what makes this crazy ride worth the whiplash.

This originally appeared in The Southern Cross. 4917″>



  1. I love how you wrote: “Growing times, that’s what these are. But the thing about growth is that you often don’t realize you’re growing until you see the fruit of that growth.”

    I often notice this with my children’s growth. All of the sudden one day I realize I’m not constantly on my son to respond to me respectfully. And then I realize, wow-he grew! And then it’s on to the next bout of growing. But what I hadn’t thought of until your post was how it relates to my own growth, too.

    It’s a hopeful thought. Today I was puttering around making dinner and SOOO tired. I prayed for the grace to love my cross. And then I thought how much I hated crosses and that I just didn’t feel like dealing with it today in such a positive way. It’s hopeful to remind myself that I am growing in these painful moments. Instead of feeling hope-less that I’ll never make it as a saint because I just want to dodge the suffering.


  2. So true. As my boys become men, they are such a joy to watch, even when we’re still in the season of teaching, correcting, adjusting. But I can see these glimpses, big and small, of the men they are becoming and it’s such a grace.