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Solace for Every Sorrow

"The best remedy for those who are frightened, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere they can be alone, alone with the sky, nature and God. For then and only then can you feel that everything is as it should be and that God wants people to be happy amid nature's beauty and simplicity. As long as this exists, and that should be forever, I know that there will be solace for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances." -Anne Frank

In the grand scheme of things, the morning wasn’t that horrible. I have had worse days before and I know I will have worse days in the future. But in the middle of the chaos, all I could think about was how miserable I was! Here’s a snapshot of how my day began - I got half of the top rack of dishes unloaded before the toddler started wreaking havoc; in my attempt to distract him I brought out a stamp pad which he proceeded to get all over his hands and jeans and IT WOULD NOT COME OFF; I spent the next hour trying to get the ink off of his skin and pants while my dishes stayed dirty in the sink and the clean dishes stayed in the dishwasher; and in the meantime, the baby decided to wake up screaming after a 45 minute nap. And of course, then my head started talking to me. "Why do you always mess up? You can't do this." I was about ready to call it a day right then and there - shut the door and crawl under the covers (which wouldn’t have even worked because Caden now knows how to open doors…).

To preface this day in my life, we have been struggling with some pretty terrible twos. Our wonderful little boy has turned into a tantrum-throwing, house-destroying, defiant little pistol! We have been at the end of our ropes trying to figure out how to parent him best through this stage. So all in all, my patience level and annoyance threshold were pretty low…

In my last attempt to redeem the day, I decided to get out of the house (even with a fussy baby) and head over to the Calvin Ecosystem Preserve. We have been having these crazy beautiful days in November and I felt like we really needed to take advantage of that. So we donned our rain boots, I strapped Haddie into her carrier, and the three of us trekked off to our nature walk. Barely five minutes into our journey, I could already feel the peace flooding over me. Mind you, Caden hadn’t completely stopped whining and screaming but just being outside helped clear my mind and refresh my spirit. I had hope that this day could be redeemed after all, that the dishes would get done eventually, that I wasn’t failing as a mother.

There is something about nature, about the “beauty and simplicity,” that reminds us everything is going to be alright. The steadfastness of the earth - the faithfulness of the seasons - helps to ground us when emotions run wild. As I stopped to think about the day - watching the sunlight shine through the few remaining leaves on the trees and smelling the rich aroma of damp earth- I realized that the morning WASN’T that bad after all. I was mostly frustrated because some of MY plans for the day had been foiled. But taking a step back, I realized that all of the most important things were still in place - my children were clothed, fed, and happy (at least for the most part). That was all I needed to accomplish. Simplicity.

Are you feeling chaotic? Breathe in. Breathe out. Take a step outside to experience beauty in the midst of chaos. “There will be solace for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances.”

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