I find that when I run around, my thoughts are given more of a freedom to explore what I usually don’t allow. On my last run, I landed at a soccer park and as the endorphins began to swim, my thoughts were drowned with memories of my childhood spent at soccer parks – practicing, playing, game time snacks, parents yelling and coaching – so much of my childhood seems to have been spent at the fields.
As I caught my breath, it was almost as suddenly lost again at the thought of not having my own kids to watch and cheer and support. I don’t have the Saturday games or weeknight practices to run to. I don’t have the miniature soccer cleats and shin guards to buy. I don’t have the snack duty to provide. I don’t have the routine of rooting for and coaching my kids.
And just like that, standing next to the open fields with an opened heart, I prayed that the Lord would give me an overwhelming sense of loss.
Yes, you read that right.
Coming from someone who has feared having kids, I wanted this to be that moment when I could not forget the deep desire that fought long and hard to be felt. I wanted to soak in the very existence of this desire. I did not want to be allowed to bury that desire in the busy or the well-intended words of self-comfort.
As I began the run back, it all struck me as a bit silly. In years past, I feared having kids when the option was never really an option. Now that I can see 33 peaking over this next hill, the option seems more tangible and but even less of a reality; as if the recognition of being an adult smacked my face with a force of reality waking me up to the hard vision of where I am in this part of life.
Constantly surrounded by sweet photos of children born and growing to friends and people I know near and far – and rejoicing with them with each view of their precious child – I am not in despair. I am not even discontent.
It is possible to recognize a loss and yet not have that affect my reaction and affection for others who are in a different place. That is a beauty of the body of the church; we are together in our individual places the Lord has us.
But, even still, I am at a loss.
I am at a loss as to the wonderment of childhood – of life seen through the clear eyes of children. I am at a loss to the close discipleship and shaping of children from the role of a mother. I am at a loss to the sacrificial way of life that mothers have for their children. I am at a loss to the humor that children bring to the everyday.
At the same time, the opposite is not lost on me; I love the freedom and place of life I have because I believe it is the best place for me at this time.
And who knows? Perhaps the Lord knew I needed this much time to even realize this for myself. Perhaps the feeling of this breaking desire is a gift and a grace.
But there are those moments when I can sense the difference and I can see the loss and I can ask the Lord hard questions and I can ask him to remind me of my design and I can trust and trust again that his timing is perfect and his way is good. I can ask for the feeling to be felt without fear of being swept away with desire because he is not only good, he is strong – strong enough to handle my desires.