For me the word settle conjures up images of determined pioneers working to build shelter and clear land to plant crops. Settling something is not a do it once and it’s done sort of job. There are fences to build and then mend, storms to weather and hardships to endure.
Similarly in our own lives we have homes to maintain, relationships to pour into and children to nurture. Our settled lives are rarely still. (Please don’t think that I believe my life is anywhere near as hard as a pioneer life. I quite enjoy my dishwasher, laptop and hot baths thank you very much. In fact I may not complain about laundry for quite some time now what I am making the comparison between my life and say Caroline Ingalls. That lady was one tough mother!)
Often, when we think of settling, it’s at the end of the day when we settle our little ones down to sleep. Every evening as we are finishing up supper and bedtime is inching closer and closer, I become a little giddy at the prospect of quiet and calm. A house settled around me. Giving me to opportunity to be uninterrupted. I’m not sure why I buy into this vision night after night. My children never cooperate with my fantasy. They just remind me that my job is to thwart their excuses to stay up.
Getting things settled is work the we only reap the benefits of for a short time.
The scenarios running through my head for settling do not come without a price.
It may be small, an extra story, 5 more minutes of snuggling, a drink of water…
Or in the case of the pioneer it may be extraordinary.
Wild animal attacks, starving, freezing to death. One’s very life was at stake and just because you’ve survived one hardship, doesn’t mean there’s not another one around the corner.
Suffering and toil are as much a part of this life as joy and rest. The dark and light blend together to create the various hues of our days.
Settling into a new place means reaching out to a new community. Venturing into the unknown and risking rejection, but chancing acceptance.
A new baby brings with it a whole world of changes as we settle her into our family.
Loss and grief leave us longing for the life we were settled into before.
The very essence of life with it’s constant plot twist leaves us grasping and settling into new normals again and again.
Settling is not the routine day after day we sometimes hope for. Instead of settled being the cozy picture we make it up to be in our heads, soft throw blankets, beautiful house, a stack of good books and nothing to do for a week but read them, it just might be how adept we are to roll with the disruptions.
Like the creaking and groaning is of a house setting into it’s foundation, we age and settle into who we are. There are labor pains in this. Sometimes cracks appear in our walls and we have to deal with the wounds of our heart in order to embrace what we’ve become.
Settling isn’t still and comfortable. It’s hard and it’s tiring, but I believe it is valuable.