"Will you play darts with me, Mom?" Gabe asks. "When we get home?"
We're taking a family walk along the river. The sun is sinking low. The streets are quiet. All is still.
But this simple question makes me a little anxious inside.
"I'd love to, Gabe," I say.
And I would. But there's a scroll of "to do's" running through my mind. I feel pressed tight. I don't like to feel this way. I feel guilty. But chores and needs and a houseful of busy cages my heart.
We finish our walk and I shimmy a game of darts between the unwashed dinner dishes and the bedtime routine.
It doesn't take me long to be happy that I did.
"You're good at darts, Mom!" Gabe says. His bangs are falling to the side and I can see that his eyes are gleaming joy. We're in the room behind the garage. Just Gabe, June heat, and me.
"I'm not very good," I say. "But I like this. And love I our time together."
Gabe smiles and plucks my darts from the outer ring of the dartboard (and one from the wall).
I feel satisfied. Fulfilled. Glad that I took the time to nourish this relationship that is precious to me.
It makes me think of my relationship with God. I love Him. I need Him. My relationship with Him is the most important in my life. But I fear that so often in the "busy", time with Him gets pushed aside. Or even pushed away.
Jesus took time away to spend time with the Father. He went to quiet places to pray. He separated out. Went alone. Like before he called his disciples. And when he heard about John. In the garden of Gethsemane, too. Jesus spent his limited hours to connect with Father God.
Relationships need the nourishment of time.
They need set-apart, focused attention.
When we pull away from the pressure, precious things unfold.
And I want to follow Jesus' example.
Gabe squints an eye, curls his fingers around the dart, and lines it even with his ear.
Then he stretches his arm and lets the dart fly.
I watch it swish through the air and smack on the board.
I think about this time set-apart time to grow my relationship with my little boy. I've definitely scored here.
But tomorrow morning's set-aside time with my Father?
That will be a bull's-eye for sure.
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Mark 1:35
One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.
Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, "Sit here while I go over there and pray." Matthew 26:36