It’s 5AM in Los Angeles, and I pull my tired body out of bed. I slept in yesterday morning only to feel tired and behind all day. For those who don’t know, Kevin and I made a last minute trip with the kids to Los Angeles before we check into the hospital this Monday morning to start treatment. We flew out to reconnect with friends and family (Kevin grew up here and I lived here for about ten years) and also to drop the kids off. They will be staying with Lila and Paul for the next couple of weeks until we see how treatment is going. I am grateful that the trip hasn’t been a mad rush of driving from one gathering to another, but it has still been pretty full and also pretty emotional. Both of us know the reason we made this trip, and though we don’t say it out loud very much, we both feel a sense of urgency to see as many people as we can and to hang tight to the moments we have out here. And I’ll tell you, that is exhausting.
Which is exactly why I’m up at 5AM writing a blog post.
I’m sure some of you think I’m completely insane.
But I’ve figured out something about myself, and it’s NOT that I’m a morning person. I’m probably the last person you’d find choosing to get up early in the morning on her own. I love to sleep. I need sleep. I have some friends with new babies I’ve visited out here and found myself discussing sleep (as always happens because it seems so elusive to new mamas). I found myself pondering why I got my children sleeping through the night so much earlier than many. It really had nothing to do with amazing parenting chops or being a baby whisperer, or anything else. For me it came down to the simple fact that I could not survive on the amount of sleep I’d been getting and finding a way to get that sleep again took more precedence than any single other thing in my life. I pursued it with a focus and energy I’ve rarely seen in myself at any other time in life.
So back to why I’m up so early. I’m tired, yes. My body is always tired these days, even if I’ve slept. Kevin’s is too, even though the effects of the interferon have mostly worn off.
We are in the middle of a marathon that we did not train for. And we honestly have no idea if we are in mile 10, mile 25, or mile 2. Can you imagine getting up this morning and decided to just start running for 26 miles straight? And you couldn’t stop no matter how hard you wanted to? And oh P.S. along the way, you never saw a single mile marker letting you know how much of the journey you had already accomplished. You only knew that somehow, no matter how much your legs burned, no matter how much you were gasping for air or water, you would keep running, you could keep running, God would even carry you for a lap or two as you moved along.
So yeah, we’re tired.
But my heart, my spirit is even more weary. And so I steal away early in the mornings to find a few hours of quiet and solitude. I almost always go outside when I get up early. I fix a cup of coffee, grab a book or my laptop, and sit outside to enjoy the quiet coolness as the day slowly makes its way over the horizon. And my soul gains rest.
It’s only 5:30 now, and there is already so much more light than there was at five. I am reminded of how quickly time passes, and wish I could shove the sun back down behind the mountains, to pretend that this isn’t really our life, that we aren’t really taking a whirlwind trip to see friends and family because well, this might be the last chance we get.
We are staying at Paul and Lila’s house. They live on a beautiful piece of land in a secluded corner of the San Fernando Valley. It’s not what you think of when you think of LA. I look out from my chair and take in the peaceful view of flowers in bloom and oranges hanging from the tree.
Lila had set up a cozy chair that I retreat to most mornings before the children awake and the rest of the busyness of the day begins to invade.
I listen to the birds. Oh there are so many birds.
Their cozy chirps and squawks make me think of Matthew 6:26 and the birds of the air who do not sow or reap or store away in barns, yet our Heavenly Father feeds them.
I have peace.
And I don’t feel quite so tired.
Today we will visit with more friends, and yesterday we had an all day open house with a steady stream of loved ones and well wishers. It was wonderful and exhausting all at the same time. You know it’s bad when the extrovert says she’s tired and needs a little quiet time. But we are also both treasuring this time. Tomorrow we will pack our bags and kiss our children one last time and step on a plane back to reality.
And at 5:00 Monday morning, with one hour left before we are to report for battle, I will sneak out to our porch and gain rest for my soul.