“One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.” -William Shakespeare
This past weekend my kids and I took a road trip up to the Blue Ridge mountains with 5 other mamas and their 10+ kids. We stayed at a friend’s cabin and soaked in all the beauty of falling leaves, the mustards and burgundy, early morning fog, and late afternoon rays of light. The kids ran wild + free as we snagged broken conversation, sipped tea and wine, and ate meal after meal together. Even in the midst of all the noise my heart felt such slowness. A peace I can’t quite explain kept emerging in the chaos that is mothering x6.
We took walks, picked apples, fed horses, skinned knees, stubbed toes, collected leaves, hunted wooly worms, had baths, sprayed hoses, watered flowers, and laughed a lot. It wasn’t hard to see the handiwork of the One who holds it all together as we looked around at the wonder of the world around us and then looked down at the little ones right before us.
Over the past 7 years I have cultivated rich friendships with a few other moms in our town. We have been doing life together and overlapping more in the mundaneness of motherhood and the highs and lows of life. We each have one common bond in that we know Jesus and are longing to know Him more and hope to spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Our personalities vary and our styles of mothering have similarities but differences as well. Over the summer we started making plans for a mountain getaway with the kids in tow. Landing on a date that worked for everyone somehow supernaturally aligned for mid-October and off we went! The anticipation was building this last week as we talked about meals, festivals, and the routes to get us there. I anticipated that each day would be full and that our hearts would be even more filled to the brim, but I did not expect the overflow. You know that feeling you get when you just simply cannot contain all the joy bubbling out of your heart? I felt that nonstop this weekend. Just looking around and seeing all the goodness in the way my friends love on their kids and mine alike. I gazed out the windows watching the leaves fall in what felt like slow motion while smoothies were blended behind me. One babe cried in sorrow, while another learned a lesson in sharing. One mom washed the dreaded toddler food tray, while another nursed a baby to sleep. Some read books, some caught salamanders from the pond, some cooked dinner, and some swept floors. We all did as we felt led to contribute for the greater good. Communal living at it’s finest.
We all crave connection and intimacy and it is in that search that we lose our contentment. We want so badly to be known and loved for who we are in the midst of every season of our life, and yet sometimes we feel so invisible or alone that it seems life is just passing us by.
As I sat on the back porch of my friend’s mountain getaway this weekend, I was reminded that our Creator blesses us not only with the beauty of His creation in nature, but His greatest creation of all, His people. I could have honestly sat outside in the grass by the pond watching leaves fall solo all weekend and felt His presence deeply. Yet the peace I found in the midst of the mountains was in the relationships with the people He has placed in my life for such a time as this. The colorful, bold foliage pales in comparison to the tender care of my dear friends. I could not be more grateful for the gifts they are in my life. The trees reflecting in the water, the sun blaring through the scraggly tree branches, and the bark siding of this home away from home were just the icing on the cake for me.
May we all take the time to go be with those we do life with. May we love each other well.