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To Learn to Sit

I’ve spent the morning reading words written by Mitch Album by the fire. This is our second trip to The Grove Park Inn and after the first, we decided this should be a thing. It was a fight to get here. Battling everything from Vertigo to Urgent Care Trips to the long drive and the littlest breaking all the laws when she rode on my lap the remainder of the 13-hour trip. But here we are and I’ve spent the morning eating up all the words in hopes that I could produce some of my own. I love to write. But lately, have had nothing to say.

A cup of coffee and 4 hours in place produced a walk across the stone-cold mountain floors to the ladies room. I took note of the people walking around. Some masked, some not. Some with amazing twanged accents while others had words from far places. Nearing the corner of the ladies room door, I took note of two little kids watching their tiny screen. I recognized the show and thought wow… they are watching Daniel Tiger in the fanciest hotel I’ve ever been to. Completely unaware of the sense of aw that surrounded them. I made my way to the stalls and pondered the idea of how we get our kids to sit these days for a moment of quiet.

We get it. It’s why Wade and I are here at The Inn for 2 full days. It’s why we chose to come alone. In hopes to encapsulate enough stillness and quiet that we can go back with hopefully a third of the energy our 3rd born possesses. To leave here ready for what we’ve been called to do… PARENT.

But Daniel Tiger in the most expensive of hotels caused me to ask the question…

How do we sit?

In a world full of technology and noise, I think we can all struggle with sitting. Truly sitting without any distraction. I don’t remember how I learned to crave this or when I first realized that it was needed for my sanity but I do remember sitting a lot as a kid. My parents were around the campfire and when I became bored, they told me to sit down and enjoy the fire. At church when I was restless and had no idea what the preacher was talking about, I heard sit down and listen. And as an only child, I found myself often sitting in my room pondering through boredom or the few TV shows that our antenna had to offer, all to find a coloring book to immerse myself in.

I rounded the corner again and saw the same two girls hovered over the iPhone. Not even sure if the sound was on. I took another turn around the massive fireplace and thought to myself, how do I teach my kids to sit without distraction? How do I teach them to sit and marvel at the beauty around them? Or even how to cherish boredom?

For the older two, it’s much easier as their life was mostly without the convenience of Apple. But for the younger two, I doubt very seriously that they would take simple joys in front of the fireplace for much longer than 2 minutes. However, I know deep in my heart that this skill is much needed. This is the essence of their survival in a world that is driven by noise, movement, and success.

How will I teach them to crave rest and more importantly to listen to the call when your mind and body need it the most?

I don’t write much about the last year. For one thing, so much of it isn’t my story to tell. But for those that maybe aren’t aware, we welcomed our first foster daughter in our home. It wasn’t made known of her medical needs, however, the last year and a half have snowballed into an unforeseen journey of doctors visits, medical scares, surgeries, and unchartered territories that have taken their toll on our lives as a whole. Including our marriage.

Going weeks without even having a full conversation or a night that wasn’t occupied with what felt like a full-blown hospital at times taking place next to our King-sized bed has taken its toll. Sleepless nights to awake to our day jobs and forcing smiles that would try and hide the exhaustion hidden behind. Words that couldn’t be formed because honestly, we were unsure of what God was doing and even more uncertain that if we knew, we would be too exhausted to frame them in sentences. It would be a journey that would soon become our new normal and possibly for the rest of our lives. A journey that we have embraced knowing that it’s God’s Calling over our family but one that we would need to navigate with caution and trust, not to steer away from the One who is leading us.

Hence, The Grove Park Inn. An investment that withdrew from our pockets but would deposit much into our marriage. A time to sit. A time to read. To steady our confidence in each other and that out of the firey chaos we call life, we can still stop the noise and Just Be. To be with God. Each other. Outside of technology, work, and the beeping of our phones.

How will I go home and teach this to my kids?

I am not sure but I know what I must provide more opportunities for them to embrace boredom. When I am desperately craving quiet and rest, the first thing I do is fill my kids with noise. Go watch a movie, go play on the iPad, etc. These aren’t bad things to do but they do cause me to question what am I teaching them when I do them. Instead, I need to teach them the value of quiet. Lay down with me, I should say. Listen to the quiet. Grab a book I should say. Let’s immerse ourselves in written words and allow our imagination to fly. Let’s play. Or just be. It’s ok to be bored. It’s ok to be quiet just because we need it. To look up and marvel at the world around us.

I still remember the smell of the room, the bright red carpet, the tassels I used to braid from the Methodist Hymnal, and the thump on the head when I was snickering with my friends across the pew. I doubt I would have remembered the show I was watching if my grandma had handed me an iPad. All memories created in boredom.

To my girls, it is my heart to teach you how to sit. To rest. Just be. So that no matter what God calls you to do in this world, you will get your rest by sitting and observing the life around you. Not your phone.

Wade and Tiffany Nagy