It’s no secret that this season of life is really challenging for our family.
However, I strive to be a person who looks for the good, as I hope this blog will clearly show, and one of the really good things that comes out of the challenges our family has been faced with is that they have made us more intentional.
As we are finding, moments are fleeting. Heck, even days are fleeting. There are times when I feel like I just picked up my daughter to spend the weekend at the Ronald McDonald House with us, and I blink and it’s time for her to go back home for the week.
Because of these fleeting moments, we sometimes have to say no to things that aren’t really, really important.
Let me be clear–that doesn’t mean that the things we say no to aren’t important. Our new intentionality, though, forces us to choose what is more important. And, sometimes, just allowing our daughter to take an uninterrupted nap or taking the time to sit quietly and watch sports in the hospital while snuggling the baby are more important than just about anything else.
Also, for those necessary things that really don’t matter, I have to find short cuts.
The biggest one for me is grocery shopping. In this time of intentionality (and when we were at home and not in the hospital, of course), I’m just not willing to sacrifice the important time with my family to go to the grocery store. We couldn’t go without food, of course, so I do online orders and pickups to free up the space for me to focus my time and energy on those things that are really important to me and to our family.
When something really important comes along, we have to be intentional as a family to be able to plan ahead.
Plan, however, is a tricky word here. One natural consequence of having a son with complicated medical problems is that we pretty much can’t ever make real plans. Or, we can’t make plans and stick to them. Not to contradict myself and sound cynical, but I feel like any time in the past 6 months I have tried to plan for something because I was sure we wouldn’t need to be in the hospital at that point, we certainly have been.
In this case, though, planning means we have to strategize as a family and make space for things that are a priority. For example, our wedding anniversary was this past week, and we had plans to go on a little boat cruise to celebrate. With Evan in the hospital and Emerie at home with my sister, we didn’t have the job of lining up a babysitter, but I knew the struggle in my head would be real about leaving Evan behind if he was upset or if we didn’t know the nurse.
The planning here was all mental. While Evan is, of course, incredibly important, I had to decide in my mind that celebrating our anniversary is really, really important too, and I had to trust that the nurse could handle it while I was gone (thankfully, we got a fantastic nurse that day, so I wasn’t even a little nervous to leave him).
Oftentimes, for us, that is what planning will mean– making the decision to allow something to be OK.
Really, that is what intentionally is– making decisions for what’s important and how you will feel about it. And, for me, the biggest lesson in intentionality is that no one gets to decide either of those things for me.
So, in this season of my life when I sometimes feel powerless, a huge gift is the lesson in being intentional with my time and attitude and allowing myself to take back even a little bit of that power.