Friday, May 30, 2014

Hold the Fort...

I believe in seasons. Considered thoughtfully, all of our lives can be summarized, categorized with simple words. Beginning with the season of Childhood. There might be a season of Adventure, or of focused growth as a Student. This current season I've dubbed Holding the Fort because as a wife and mother my days are wholly devoted to the care of my family while my husband works and studies for long hours. Home is at the core of my attention.

What makes this season unique is how all-encompassing it can be, with only slivers of time doled out to purely personal pursuits. It's easy to lose heart. It's easy to become isolated even when surrounded by social media and a full calendar. So I've been reflecting on some of the beautiful stories of America's past, where women experienced far more weighty isolation when carving out homes and farms from endless acres of wilderness.

These brave souls rose with the sun, cooked over temperamental fires, battled the elements in ways we can't even relate to from our carefully climate-controlled homes. They carried guns and had to use them. They woke in the night not because they were filled with anxiety over their reputation but to feed the fire and ensure their babies were safe. One of my favorite stories is of a woman whose husband went to a distant town for absolutely necessary supplies and who stayed up night after night watching from her rocking chair, rifle across her lap because she could see bright eyes peering at her through the chinks in the logs. Holding the fort until her man came home and the enemy receded into darkness.

I love trying on this strong woman's spirit for size on long evenings when I've hardly seen Andrew for days, much less had a meaningful conversation with him. When my feet ache and my head spins with a long list yet to plow through, the minutes ticking by without my head anywhere near the pillow. Something in me craves the inspiration of these heroines. From long-forgotten graves they kick me in the butt, make me roll up my sleeves and do more than just limp through the day.

Because I don't have to be content with mere survival. I can thrive.