We bought my in-law’s house over the summer, and unexpectedly, one of my favorite places in our new home is my bedroom closet. It makes for a wonderful hiding spot, not just for a game of Hide and Seek with my three little boys, but also for their weary mom. One recent Sunday afternoon I was able to have an hour phone conversation with a dear, cross-country friend without being found by anyone. A small miracle.
Being a middle school teacher and a mom of little ones, there are many days I feel too exhausted to love well or to exercise patience. Although I’m an extrovert, I still need time to pull away, to be hidden long enough to take a few deep breaths. (As they say, “I used to want it all, now I just want to pee alone.”)
I find comfort in Jesus’ example – the time he took between parables, dinner, and miracles to slip away. It’s good to know that our God doesn’t just endorse time alone; he set the example of stealing away without guilt or shame. He often withdrew to lonely places seeking restoration and refreshment.
Give me a few minutes alone and I just might gain enough perspective to be reminded that life is not an emergency. Give me a few minutes alone and I’ll be convicted that I am not the center of the universe, and yet known and loved by my Creator. Give me a few minutes alone and I might be able to wrap my head around the Serenity Prayer I heard Anne Lamott share in an interview at Calvin’s Festival of Faith and Writing: “God, grant me the serenity to accept what I cannot change (everybody else) and change what needs to be changed (myself).”
So, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be heading back to my closet now.