Dave and I and the boys just got back from our family summer vacation last week. A family summer vacation must have been one of those unspoken rules for Dave and me: we've never discussed the pros and cons of vacationing; we just always assume we will. And since we do not live near either of our families, our vacations are synonymous with family time.
|Credit: David Lange|
That's not to say that there's no work. All 24 of us that gathered had a daily chore (from the 3 year old to the 74 year old). We made meals, washed dishes, swept floors, fed animals, built fires, got water, painted walls.
That's not to say that there's nothing to do. In fact, there was often more to do than hours in the day. We rode horses, drove four-wheelers, hiked a mountain, went running, explored the abandoned copper mines, played on an oversized teeter-totter, pet kittens, fished (without any luck), boated, swam, played cards, ate and snacked and ate some more.
A week like that leaves me feeling so refreshed (even though Zeke did not sleep through the nights).
I love the simplicity of a life that revolves around spending time with loved ones and doing the work that needs to be done to meet one's basic needs. The generosity and love of my family humbles and encourages me. The joy of conversation and old jokes brightens my perspective on life.
Tonight, I wonder how weeks like this last one affect the little boys that God has put in my care. No doubt, Noah, my lover of all things outdoors, was in heaven. He wished that we could have stayed for a "long, long, long, long time." The uninhibited time in nature, the entertainment of cousins, the responsibility of ranch chores: these are all poignant to the heart and soul that God has placed in his little 3 year old body. For Zeke, as the baby on the ranch, he had the attention of grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins from sun up to sun down. Perhaps Zeke learned that the network of love that surrounds him is bigger than he's ever known. Perhaps Noah got a glimpse into the complexity and diversity of the world that God has created.
For me, every time I get to be at the Copper Spur Ranch, I am reminded how small I am and how BIG God is. One look up at the night sky, and I'm brought back to the reality that the universe is a big, big place. And all of my "big" issues seem to melt away in the face of the Maker who is brilliant enough to put such a universe into being. His network of love is bigger than I'll ever know and His complexity and diversity is too great for me to grasp.
The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship.
Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known.
They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard.
Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world.
Psalm 19:1-4 NLT