My baby started kindergarten this week. All three of my boys are now at the same school together and I am home alone for 3 hours every day. Every day. Last year Little One went to preschool two days a week for 2.5 hours. So doing the math last year I had 5 hours to myself and I spent one of those days at the other boys' school volunteering. This year, I have 15 hours to myself. Even if I volunteer and hang out with friends or join a Bible study, I still have hours and hours unscheduled time for myself.
But what to do with all those hours? I made a decision years ago that I would not do any work around the house while the kids were gone that I could do when they were home. Why waste those precious moments on laundry and dishes. Also, I did not want my kids to come home every day to a clean home, made beds and fresh underwear in their drawers and think all that work just magically happens when they are gone. I am pretty sure my future daughters-in-law would not appreciate that. While it might be easier to just do the work myself, it is better for all of us in the long run if I take the time to teach them how to help and eventually do this work themselves.
So I'm not going to be cleaning or cooking. I still have hours after my kindergartner gets out of school for errand running, just the two of us. I decided instead to dedicate this time to reading, studying and writing.
But now that the hours are before me, it is scary. Now I have to actually do the work. I have to open the book, think about things that shake me a bit, and actually sit down and write. It is a process. It requires discipline on my part. A conscious decision to turn off the Today Show and plop my behind at my desk. It requires me to let go of the insecurities, the thoughts that what I have to say was already written so much better by this blogger or in that book.
I recently read Rachel Held Evans book, "Evolving in Monkey Town: How the Girl Who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask the Questions" which I highly recommend for anyone who grew up in the church. I love her blog and tweets. She was a voice I was growing to really respect.
Her book felt so personal to me and then... And then she started to write about the tough things; the questions about our faith, our God, His judgment. Questions I have had, but don't want to address because I don't know if I can reconcile my faith with what I think is fair and right and loving. I got to the middle of the book and wasn't sure I wanted to keep reading. What if Rachel fell off the "Christian" cart? What if her conclusions felt like she was leading away from and not toward God. I had respected so many of her blog posts, her views on social justice and Jesus' love. Yet here I was in the middle of her book wondering if I could handle her answers, wondering if I wanted to keep reading her questions. Not to spoil the experience for you, but the book is worth the journey.
This is the thing about having time. It can be scary. You have to face some of those tough questions you put off for all those years you were just trying to get through the day.
Who am I? How should I spend my day? Am I good enough as I am?
What is my purpose? How do I contribute to this world? Am I doing enough?
I think I have some of these answers and some probably don't need answers. But it is implementing these answers that scares me. What if my work is not worthy? What if no one cares? What if I am horrible at it?
It is so much easier, at first, to stay in the known than to step into the unknown. But if I have learned anything from moving as many times as I have it is this, the unknown is full of rich blessings when you walk where God's lamp leads your path.
So I will walk. I will read. I will write. And I will try to quiet the still small voice that even in this moments critiques.