I used to fear quiet nights, like they were statements pointing to a lack of value in my life. I knew at some point age would overtake body and quiet nights and a good movie might be the best I could hope for at that point.
I crammed as much into my life as possible, pushing physical boundaries to ridiculous limits, making myself think what I was doing was important, perhaps making up for lost time, perhaps, trying to prove self-worth. It’s not until you step away from all those distractions that you see the truth.
Tonight I sit with a glass of wine as I write this, relaxed and rested. For the past several years around this time I would have been buried, exhausted, and struggling to keep my head above water.
Those who know FIRST LEGO League (FLL) know what an amazing program it is for elementary and middle school kids. I lived it with my youngest son, from fifth through eighth grade. I watched him mentor FLL teams as a high school student, while I coached the high school robotics team. It’s a wonderful, experience for kids and adults who are involved with the program, which is run mostly by volunteers. Every year we would host regional and sometimes state tournaments, where I helped as judge advisor for several years – a very intense, sometimes stressful position. There is enough stress in daily life, without asking for more.
I do not regret one moment I had during my involvement with those activities for they were extremely rewarding and fulfilling in the way anything that helps another reach his or her potential can be.
I know now though, that the only true value in my life is being here for my family every minute that I can. For that, my decision last year to step away from the activities that stole so much of my time, energy, attention, and patience from my family, is the best choice I have ever made.
I apologize to my family, to my husband, for all the years they put up with the clutter and confusion and chaos I added to life because I thought something, somewhere was calling me – for what, I do not know. I’ve always believed God wants each of us to use our gifts as best we can. That is what I thought I was doing – although I prayed about it often.
As I told a friend tonight, my family is too important to risk spending energy on anything other than my health and survival. Melanoma is too beastly to think it will quietly slink away, with one surgery and a clinical trial. I am no fool. I read about the disease and the research and know the war that is raging within me, even though at this moment there is No Evidence of Disease. I am no fool.
I no longer fear quiet nights, for now it means recharging for a better tomorrow. It means I have enjoyed another day on earth. Tonight I sit and smile, knowing I have taken the best course for me at this time. I smile, perhaps because I know I did my best in previous years to benefit those around me, but now, my focus is my family, close friends, and little else.
Looking back, I wonder how I managed working, family and the many other things I thought were important. Who was the fool then?
I no longer fear quiet nights, for as a plaque on my wall says, “It’s important to make time for quiet moments, since God speaks in whispers and the world is loud.” God, I am listening now.