Sunlight glittered atop the surface of the pond. The water was smooth except for a few ripples floating away from the geese as they paddled peacefully from the muddy bank. Between them, in all their fuzzy cuteness, six goslings swam. Mother and father goose kept a watchful eye, heads held tall and proud, as they taught their newly hatched little ones how to be what they were created to be…Canadian geese.
What are they afraid of? Why are the parents of the goslings so intensely watchful? What could possibly happen to their babies on this peaceful pond surrounded by beautiful land away from the hustle and bustle of town?
They know what is hidden, what comes out of the skies and woods after dark. Otters. Hawks. Coyotes. They see us humans, too, intimidated by our curiosity and size. Daddy goose won’t let us near them. If we get within a hundred feet of the pond, he comes in a hurry with his wings spread. His beak curls in a weird, goosey grimace that would be comical if he wasn’t hissing and effectively getting us to change direction. We laugh, but we run. He is not about to give us access to the goslings. I don’t actually know what he would do if he caught us…bite us? Wing-slap us? Peck us to death?
The goslings will grow up protected, guarded before and behind by their parents who rely on God-given instinct to raise them. In ten short weeks they will learn to fly. In a year they will move on.
When I watch this little family, I am inspired by many different aspects of their lives. God has placed parables everywhere in nature. If I only slow down and have eyes to see, He shows glimpses of His heart through the creatures inhabiting the land around me. In the geese, I see attentiveness, awareness of their surroundings, commitment, loyalty, and courage. They are focused on their purpose. They live undistracted in order to better identify a threat and preserve the little, newly-hatched brood that innocently swims between them.
Before this gets weird, let me reassure you that I do not want to become a goose. But the undistracted part? That part appeals to the deepest, most unsettled places in my spirit. When we moved out here to Arundelle Green, I was seeking peace, calm, and healing from the collective trauma that had infiltrated the world in 2020, not to mention my own. I figured I’d be writing more. It is free therapy, after all. But I’ve struggle to sit down and form much more than an instagram post in the past several months. Heck, I’ve barely even posted on IG!
Here’s the thing. My children are all either grown or teenagers now. Homeschooling is less of me and more of them at this stage. The empty nest years are looming and I have more time to do things I enjoy than ever before since they are venturing out on their own, learning to adult. I want to be all in with my kids. I love to study their faces, record their laughter in my memory, hug them hard and remind them that they will always be my babies. I don’t want to be distracted. I am choosing to be fully engaged.
Several months ago, I pulled away from the 24 hour news cycle because anxiety came crushing down upon me. I also backed away from social media, for the most part. I used to enjoy social media, but it had become a weight that pulled me down emotionally and mentally.
I realize social media is part of society. There are some things that just can’t be undone. But I don’t have to habitually engage with it. Sure, it is important for conveying information such as, “Hey! I wrote a new blog post.” or, “Attention: We have an event coming up at church.” It is an effective way to advertise such things…like it or not. But I found myself dreading the moment I logged on.
Maybe I should just get off Facebook, I have said. It is the platform that was bugging me the most. But I am a writer and a ministry leader. I have to use it.
But I don’t have to download the app, do I? No. In fact, I deleted it. I deleted Messenger, too. The intrusiveness of social media, the false fronts that pass before my eyes, is unhealthy. I definitely don’t need mindless scrolling to suck valuable time away from what I really want and need to be doing.
I’ll be 50 in a few weeks. FIFTY. There is so much I still want to do with my life. I look around at my now-grown family and wonder at the time that has passed. 22 years since I became a mother. 26 since becoming a wife. My hair is getting gray and my back is often angry at me for all the stooping and bending I do in the garden. Time with my kids is precious. They will be flying on their own before I know it.
What distraction is worth missing one minute of the time I have with them here, in my home? What opinion or filtered photo in my newsfeed is better than a hug from my husband and adult kids when they walk into the kitchen as I cook dinner and the grand-dogs create utter chaos around my feet? What conversation is worth only half-hearing because I was reading the latest argument on Twitter?
The answer is none. Not one.
I want to see, truly see what is happening right here under my nose. I want to live my life with fewer distractions, deeper engagement, and eye contact with the ones who God has given me to love. I want to teach my children by example as well as in word how to be all that God has created them to be. I want to read, book after glorious book. I want to write words that make you think, cause you to smile, and point you to Jesus. I want to document the living parables that happen every day on the farm so that you, too, can believe in a God who holds all things together and in a Savior who makes broken vessels into beautiful works of art. I want to create, both alone and with my family. I want to grow tall flowers that are bundled into beautiful bouquets. I want to finish writing another book. But my time is limited and that kind of creativity takes an incredible amount of mental space and preparation.
Something has to go.
I choose to keep the good and the beautiful, the memorable and the meaningful. As I near the big five-oh, I don’t want to waste another minute. When my kids are all grown, I want them to remember laughter in my eyes and how the smile-lines deepen as I age. I choose the real world, as much as I am able.
So, if you want to have an online conversation, here is where it will happen. This space is a step away from algorithms, far from newsfeeds, and requires intentionality to engage. It’s not owned by Zuckerberg or Musk, but by plain old me. I’ll be here, writing for whoever really wants to know what is going on with me and the farm. If you don’t, no big deal. If you do, then welcome once again to Arundelle Green. These posts are set to automatically show up on Facebook and Instagram, but I won’t be checking for likes or shares. I’ll be living, I’ll be learning, and I’ll be watching the last episode of Marvel’s Moon Knight with my daughter. (IT IS SO GOOD!)
If you know me personally, let’s get together. I’ll make the coffee. I can’t promise my house is clean, though. 🙂