“Why are you bouncing your leg?” I asked though I knew the answer. We were some place quiet, peaceful. He was bored. We had the entire beach to ourselves. The kids were horsing around on the playground nearby, but the only sounds to really be heard were the gentle waves on the lake.
He sighed in response. “You don’t know what to do with yourself, do you?” I probed. He threw me a sideways glance and burst forth with a mini-rant about how I didn’t understand because he was pedal-to-the-metal from birth and he didn’t know how to just “sit there” doing nothing. He said even as a kid when his family would go camping, he wasn’t the one to fish quietly or hang out by the campfire, but rather was the one tearing it up with other boys. He said I just didn’t know how hard it was for him to not be on the move.
Our kids are just like him.
It was my turn to sigh. He grabbed my hand and asked carefully, “But you love this, don’t you?” I smiled. This moment of having the most popular lake in our area all to ourselves was unprecedented for us. It was intoxicating to me.
I love solitude. I mean adore it. My family hates it. They want to be in the city playing putt-putt on Friday night with wall-to-wall people and who just touched me, why does it have to be so loud here all. the. time? Why couldn’t we just have the neighbors over for s’mores?
We drive each other crazy with the television is too loud, but someone just turned it down, are they deaf, maybe we should get closed-captioning. They are loud and excited. About everything. I am loud when I am angry. (I know, I know. I’m working on it.)
They thoroughly enjoy going to the county fair in the fall. I want to break out in hives at the mere thought of all those people; the small talk I don’t want to engage in that ultimately leads to nowhere.
I like discussing ideas, religion, political happenings, and social movements. My family likes chattering endlessly about movies and sports and what’s for dinner. I am not saying I am more intelligent or superior in some way, rather that our minds function differently. I thirst for in-depth conversations and my husband thinks I need to lighten up a bit. (He just might be right on that one, but I digress.) He has told me more than once that he loves my mind, but he just can’t keep up with it.
Obviously, this causes us conflict. I am usually the oddball out. After family functions, I am often quiet for hours. This spurs numerous questions about if I am upset about something or if I have some sort of ailment. The reality is that I need to recuperate.
This has been the first year that I have been a stay at home homeschooling mom. I have been a huge bundle of nerves. I have prayed, cried, and had oh so ugly meltdowns. It has only been in the last couple of months that I have been able to recognize the source of my being overwhelmed and tense. I am rarely alone. When I say rarely, I mean that in a month’s time I had roughly 2 hours of alone time when the hubs took the kids to basketball with him. And it is my fault. I have allowed myself to be fully accessible every moment of the day without boundaries. Even Jesus needed some space. (See Luke 5:16 or Matthew 14:23) So I had to make some adjustments.
I usually get up with my husband when he gets ready for work (although sometimes he lets me sleep in without my permission) so that I have quiet time before the kids get up. I am learning to step out when I am starting to boil over and go for a walk or a drive. There is now a standing rule that my bedroom door will remain locked while I shower and should not be breached unless there is a catastrophe requiring emergency medical personnel. Or I will grab a book and head for an empty room after the kids are in bed.
There is nothing wrong with having a different personality. It is just something that needs to be factored into the family equation. I don’t need copious amounts of alone time, but I do need it at least in small quantities each day. My quiet time is my time to think, pray, plan, work through personal issues and recharge. Because I am so different from the rest of my clan, I have to balance my time carefully. If I spend too much time giving and not enough time rejuvenating, I will have nothing left of myself to give my family in very short order.
Talk to me. Are you an introvert? What kinds of challenges has it caused in your marriage, family, or with friends? What steps have you taken to ensure you have the quiet time you need?
Abide in His Grace,