Monday, June 21, 2010

Heavenly Hammock

I have a good friend who is one of my true confidants. She is in a stage of life much like me as a stay at home mother with 3 young children. We catch up fairly regularly and definitely rely on each other during those times when we need wisdom, counsel, or support. Our conversations are always encouraging to me; often it's that one of us says just the right thing at just the right time. More often, it's just good to be reminded that we're not alone--we're not going through something that is completely foreign. What I find really encouraging is when she tells me about some good times with her family, and she'll say, "It was just heavenly." When I hear my friend say this I often wonder how we can describe earthly, simple experiences as heavenly.

I've been thinking a lot about that recently. My family and I had a really good weekend! We celebrated my baby's very first birthday and were able to visit with family both near and far. Sunday was Father's Day. From start to finish it was a fabulous day: we went to church, played outside, napped a bit, hiked at the park, played games, and ate lots of food. It was simply heavenly. As I've reflected on my weekend and several moments since then I have realized that heavenly truly is the right adjective for these times.

One definition of heavenly in the Webster's Dictionary is "causing or marked by great happiness, beauty, peace." Well that's it! It is acceptable and even true and correct to describe some of these wonderful experiences, times, and moments with our family (or others, for that matter) as heavenly.

I had a heavenly weekend with my family. I've likely had many of these. I've had heavenly times with my children. I've experienced heavenly moments. One such moment was earlier this morning. My 2 young girls, overly tired from their busy weekend, went down for naps in the late morning. My boys were happily playing in the backyard. I went out with them and decided to lie down in my hammock. (It was my Mother's Day gift 2 years ago and I've lain on it maybe five times.) We have a small backyard but we have several large trees. As I was lying on the hammock I could hear my boys playing together nicely; I could hear birds singing prettily; I could hear the gentle wind causing the leaves to whisper. And the view was beautiful--looking up at a canopy of green leaves and blue skies. It was an absolutely heavenly moment! In that moment I was astonished at the beauty around me. I was completely at peace. I was happy just to be alive! Heavenly!

My husband is such a gentle, wonderful man who loves me and loves his children immensely. Following Father's Day, I feel compelled to acknowledge that he is truly the most wonderful father to his children. They could not have asked for a better father. He loves spending time with his children--playing with them, talking to them, and just loving on them. He often gets a look in his eyes and a smile on his face and tells me "I just got butterflies." For a while I didn't really understand this. I think I've felt butterflies in my stomach before, but for me it's generally been before I sing publicly or prepare for an interview. His butterflies are good butterflies--a feeling of intense and overwhelming thankfulness, peace, and joy. I have begun to understand that his butterflies are the same as my heavenly moments. They are times of supreme peace and happiness. All is right with the world! (Although when he finds out that I shared his butterflies with the world, all may not be right....)

I realize that all weekends can't be and probably won't be heavenly. And I can't think of the last time that I could say an entire week felt heavenly. But, I am filled with gratitude for the heavenly moments that life gives me. Whether it's celebrating a birthday, watching my kids give each other an unexpected hug, relaxing in my husband's arms, or lying in a hammock looking up at the trees...heavenly weekends, days, and moments are available continually. Maybe I don't feel the butterflies exactly as my husband does, but I treasure all of life's meaningful and beautiful heavenly moments.

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