They’re bonding in ways that animals used to companionship do. Establishing themselves in the pecking order, enjoying the closeness of kin, comfortable in their togetherness.
I experienced that this summer when the cousins were together, laughing, sharing toys with–or taking them from–each other, interacting with a familiarity that comes from a common bond.
All summer, personal space was at a premium. Those who needed it often had to leave to find it. Personality differences, work schedules, stress levels often defined just how much interactive time each person could handle. Choosing time alone wasn’t a reflection on relationships. It was a respect for relationships that often drove people to have some space.
We’ve come back to a new routine. School has begun, and those going haven’t been as eager to engage with the newness of the situations, with friends they haven’t seen in a while, with unestablished regimens that need to be learned. Even without school, jumping back into what feels like a frenzy is uncomfortable.
And I love what I do and the people I work with.
An extrovert by nature, I’ve been somewhat surprised by this pullback, this hesitancy. I came home from work earlier this week, and no one was in the house. A first since we’ve returned. I stood in front of the refrigerator, wondering what I had the energy to fix for dinner for just me, and grabbed whatever I could hold. Flopped on the couch. And vegetated with a Hallmark movie.
No guilt, no shame. Just a living vegetable.
I went to bed before anyone else arrived home and read a while. No noise or questions or needs I felt I had to meet.
That is so not me. I rarely end my day with enough energy to read. Busy mind, busy heart.
I’ve never been a proponent of needing my own space. I shared a bedroom with two sisters growing up, raised six kids of my own, and rarely did anyone have personal space.
Personal crowding was more like it.
I used to think that needing space was selfish. That I needed to learn to find peace in the midst of the crazy.
Not entirely true.
There’s a reason I need some time alone. In a world of busy that I’ve thoroughly bought into, time for reflection and serious soul care is significant.
I need time alone with Jesus. To talk to Him about the stuff and clutter in my life. Hear from Him His encouragement and promises on how He is my enough.
Prayer is a quieting of my soul, heart, and mind before God, lifting my cares and concerns to Him, letting go of what I have no power to change or impact. To not obsess over things that don’t matter. Recognizing He alone can bring context to my life and circumstances through His truth.
It’s easier to stay busy. To not pause to think.
Bonding and interacting with people is part of who we are; loving well is what we should do. Even in that, we need time to think about how we’ll do it.
No pile on necessary.