All Encompassed or All Consuming?

It’s cozy here by the woodstove on this cold, Boston night. Our return from Waco’s 75 degrees to our (normal) 37 was only slightly shocking. The dog and the cat sleep on opposite ends of the long sofa. The last of the travelers is due in tonight (delayed) at 2AM, and the now sleeping husband will rouse himself to go fetch that one, leaving me to work late here with the animals and dancing flames, then to rise early, and get myself back to the office as this long but swift year ends.

Our holiday trip to see the Texas family provided plenty of time for relaxing and learning the intricacies of care given to baby Jackson. We all shared wonderful meals, navigated to Shipley’s doughnuts and Target and walked twice along the Brazos River. And while I still haven’t yet made it into the Dr Pepper exhibits, our Christmas Eve Anglican church service was held in part of that Museum. I’m getting closer!

It was on one of our River walks that I found myself thinking about this difference of being encompassed or consumed. A quick dictionary check of the former is “to cover or surround,” with consume technically meaning to “destroy or expend by use: to use up.” This was Christmas, after all, and I realized that despite this long journey with its Very Early beginning (a quarter mile long security line at 3:30 am? Really?), the many miles, the many preparations, I felt not consumed but encompassed. We had come to enjoy a brief, but rich portal of family time, joy and meaning. It was wonderful to let go of all that was “back there” and enter into this place, their place, and find ourselves together there.

Tomorrow I’ll board the train to town and it will feel very far away from my daughters and their young, growing families. But I am comforted to know they are both doing what they need to be doing in the places in which they need to be doing those things. Just as I’m here doing the things I need to do, in the place I need to be doing them… except for this small and humble blog, which, perhaps, I’m not really supposed to be doing, given a few other pressures on me at the moment. Or am I?

I am encompassed, not consumed, and it’s okay.

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