A week ago, I looked like this:
Except that my lashes didn’t look near as long and my hair remained far from perfectly coifed. But the face? The furrowed brow and the I’ve had it up to here! eyes and the mouth that seems altogether unable to form a smile. That was me.
And then I stepped on an airplane.
Now, here’s a little secret: if you are a human currently not in constant, close proximity to pint-sized tagalongs who need you to make their food, get their drinks, wipe their bottoms, change their diapers, scrub their faces, dress their naked bodies, calm their big feelings, celebrate their little victories, and on and on the list goes, then you may not understand the blessed assurance of an airplane ride all by your lonesome.
But it is potentially the most glorious experience to wrangle into your seat, all by yourself. To read a book (The Nest, in case you’re wondering), all by yourself. And to stare at the window without anyone touching or invading your space, all by yourself.
I’m telling you, this is the stuff miracles are made of.
But even more than that, I got to hang out with the man who calls me (and most every other human he meets) Honey Bunny. Neighbor Mark is undoubtedly one of my favorite humans on earth, mostly because he taught me what it means to be a neighbor. And, mark my words: he will make an appearance in a book I write someday.
I also got to hang out with this girl, who’s one of the smartest, sassiest, most feeling-est people I know. She’s got a way with words and if you haven’t already gotten to know Ashley, please head over to her space today.
And this girl joined us as well. You’ve heard me talk about Osheta quite a bit, because she and I host the Shalom Book Club once a month – well folks, she’s the real deal. (Also, shameless plug: join the Shalom Sistas Hangout on Facebook if you haven’t already. Be a part of fascinating conversations, and cast your vote for the November Reader’s Choice book!)
And it wasn’t just people who filled me, this filled me:
Staring out the window into beauty, into sunshine, into blue skies filled me up and became the background for the words I ended up writing. Because it wasn’t merely a trip of furthering relationships, but it was a weekend of writing.
I needed the time and space away to wrap my brain around the words that’ve been lodged in my head for awhile. I needed to give my fingers room to breathe, so I could invite the Writing Muse in to take up residence in my insides.
And I needed this without the distraction of those precious, sticky little buggers I call my sons.
So, I don’t know what it is for you, but get away. Go pack up a tent and head into the woods for a couple of days. Use free airline miles and hop on a plane to the mountains or to the beach – whatever place your heart thumps for the most. Hire a babysitter and have yourself an afternoon out so you can be reminded of your humanness, so you can remember that you’re not “just” a parent or a worker-bee or whatever role you’re feeling a bit too burnt out from right now.
Give yourself the gift of time away and see what happens.
Because I bet you’ll find yourself filled and renewed and refreshed in a whole new way – and besides, you’re worth it!
So, when have you been given the gift of time away? And, what fills you up when you ARE away – people, books, nature? Do tell!