Gathering ourselves

Orange BeachI just finished doing the laundry at the laundromat. To be honest, I love that job. You just can’t hurry the process. And, while I wait, I spend most of my time watching things in the dryers go round and round. Wet things become dry, fluffy things, all without my involvement. Watching laundry dry in a laundromat is a wonderful, serene event.

Going to the laundromat today was especially important because we have just returned home after five nights away. To celebrate our twenty-fifth anniversary, we made reservations for four nights at a hotel in Orange Beach, Alabama. Our room had a beautiful view of a beach on the Gulf of Mexico. We didn’t have to travel long to get there; the drive from home takes less than an hour. It’s a drive long enough to “get away” but not so long that we couldn’t come into town to take care of various chores.

And, our time at the beach was delightful. It turned cold the day we arrived, so swimming or soaking up some sun in a bathing suit were not things we could do. Instead, we enjoyed spending time together, going to the movies and eating as much sea food as we could.

We arrived on Friday and on Saturday afternoon we came back to Pensacola to watch the Navy football game with friends. On Sunday, we got up at 5:30am so that we could get a friend to church. And, after a full day of activities, we finally got back to Orange Beach at 8:30 that evening. We were back on the road again on Monday morning so that we could get to a doctor’s appointment in downtown Pensacola. It was an amazing four days and we had a great time.

It was sometime on Sunday that we realized that these trips back to Pensacola were important, but a bit of a distraction. And, then, my amazing husband said words I had never considered: “Why don’t we stay another day?” We talked about it and realized that we could stay in Orange Beach all day on Tuesday and leave early enough on Wednesday morning for John to attend a meeting. My Sweetie made the arrangements and we stayed the extra day and night.

Yesterday (Tuesday), we had nothing planned. And, we did little very little. We rested. We shut down. We stopped doing.

For some of you, Thanksgiving Day is the busiest 24 hours of the year. Many will get up early to put a turkey into the oven. Later you will prepare the side dishes, getting the gravy just right. Then it will be on to entertaining the guests, cleaning up after the meal and working out a plan for Black Friday shopping.

Would you do one thing more tomorrow…one thing for you? Would you imagine watching the laundry go round and round in a dryer? Or, imagine sitting in a hotel room watching the waves in the Gulf of Mexico with nothing else to do? And, as you do that, would you gather yourself to yourself? I can’t come up with the right words, but I hope that you understand what I mean.

In other words, would you take a moment and consider:

  • How far you have come
  • How you have made it through the storms
  • How your character and wisdom have matured and deepened

And, after you have taken a moment to appreciate where you are compared to where you have been, would you thank God for the opportunities that are before you now because you have made it to this point in your life?  Would you realize that you are ready, are equipped to use those opportunities like no one else on this earth can?

  • Only you can love that person.
  • Only you can make that thing happen that looks impossible to everyone else.
  • Only you can be strong for that other one.
  • Only you can bring the joy of your heart into that sad place.
  • Only you can make the difference in that tough situation.
  • Only you can do what the Father has asked you to do.

As we gather with others tomorrow, let’s spend a moment or two gathering ourselves.


Jill (just one of God’s kids)

I gave thought to my steps, and my feet were turned into the way of your unchanging word.” (Psalm 119:59



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