At the end of December I was able to get away from family, friends and technology for 48 hours. It was just me, in a little cabin in the woods, with no electricity or running water (yes, there was a gas heater!). My generous husband had gently nudged me to take the time for myself, as well as offered to pick up some additional side work in order to ease any financial guilt I may have felt. “You need this,” he said. “It will benefit you, me and the kids.”
He had no idea how right he was.
You see, those two days of solitude, rest, prayer and meditation, were just what I needed. It was time to reflect on the last year and look forward to the next. I was also only a couple days shy of my 30th birthday, so I was able to meditate on where life had taken me over the past decade and where I wanted to be at the end of the next ten years.
But one of the most surprising things was how while I was nestled away in the woods, I couldn’t escape thoughts of my family – and it didn’t help that my unborn child kept poking and prodding me while I tried to nap! No, being away from my husband and children reminded me how grateful I am for them, how much I cherish them and what a joy they are to be around. The last month with my four- and two-year-olds had been trying while I tried to prepare for Christmas and help my husband work on necessary basement projects. I had lost my cool more than once with them. Yet, here I was, finally away, finally getting some alone time, and all I wanted was to be surrounded by their smiling faces and their love. I wanted to be wrapped up in the arms of my beloved, snuggled close while I told him how much I loved and appreciated him.
Oh the irony.
In fact, my longing for my family got so intense that just over 24 hours in to my retreat I almost called my husband to ask him to come pick me up and take me home. I just wanted to be near them!
Thankfully, I knew that staying for my committed time was what was best for me, and my family. So I forged through the extra time and I’m so glad I did.
When I was finally reunited with my husband and children it was very joyful, but also a strong dose of reality. After our initial hugs the kids of course started arguing over who got to open the door first. The Soul II Soul song, “Back to Life, Back to Reality,” immediately started playing in my head.
That’s okay, though. My time away gave me a bit more patience for dealing with their squabbles. Most importantly, it helped me realize that my reality is not just good, it’s oh-so-blessed and full of love, more love than I could have imagined.
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