Waking to 44

Saturday I woke to 44.

I woke to 6 grown teenage men splayed all over my living room, the remnants of popcorn, Dr. Peppers, and a late-night card game around their sleeping bodies. Everyone of them I have known since there were little guys, so when they rumbled sleepily in there newly deepened voices, “Happy Birthday Mrs. Ryden” my heart broke in all the best ways.

I woke to a nervous ballerina heading to an audition. I woke to a quick kitchen prayer and hug for success and peace. She drove herself.

I woke to a painting from my 11 year old artist (sunflowers) and a playdate for my 9 year old “baby.” (“Make sure to bring your spy stuff!”)

I woke to flowers from my husband and I don’t take that for granted. At 44 I know not everyone gets to grow old(er) together.

I woke to missing a good dog who should have turned 4 this week, and to the rest of his pack who is still with us.

I woke to feeding the masses and running the kids and vacuuming the floors- always vacuuming the floors.

I woke to friends who spoke my love language- books, and words, and hours of real conversation around the table.

I woke to life.

At 44 the “Life Abundant” Jesus promises is literally an abundance of lives. They come with demands, and schedules, and mouths to feed, and friends. Messy, loud, expensive, busy lives

Don’t believe the lie that the “abundant life” means an abundance of peace and quiet or an abundance of days full of what you want to do. Don’t believe it means an abundantly full bank account or an abundantly full pantry. That’s not life- not really-not at 44.

Don’t wish away the life. Don’t trade it for neat and tidy and still.

In 10 years, when I wake up to 54, I assume there won’t be a house full. I assume popcorn and spy gear won’t litter my floors. I doubt there will be spilled water colors or fallen bobby pins everywhere.

I pray there will still be flowers from my man and hours around the table with my friends.

I’m sure there will be dogs.

On Saturday I woke to 44.

Oh, and to a picture of a promised new puppy. Because while we miss what is gone, and wonder what is ahead, we always make room for more life.