When I Slow Down and Find What's Good For My Soul

September 22, 2014

They pull up in the drive, tumbling out of the van while my kids run inside, yelling, “They’re here!” I finish the quick 10-minute clean-up of my house and head outside to greet Breann and her two littles. It’s been a long time, too long, since I’ve seen this friend. We go inside just as Jamie and her daughter pull up, another round of hugs and hellos. Gathering in the house, the doorbell rings one final time as Sarah comes through, rounding out our group. We settle in the living room to visit while the children run rampant through the house chattering about LEGOs and dress-up clothes. We talk of babies and wedding themes, pregnancy and jobs.
Image by Juliette Culver via Flickr

After a bit, I invite the women into my kitchen, pulling up chairs at the table while I make dinner for our crew. I pour margaritas for them, and as I warm pulled pork on the stove and take out buns, watermelon, and chips, we continue to talk about what’s happening in our lives right now. Of houses and moving, parenting and schools. 

As we feed the kids and send them outside to eat, we take our plates and sit at the table. We laugh about old memories and silly kid stories, just enjoying the time together. And as we slowly begin to end the night, we talk of the next time we’ll gather, this time without kids. As we stand at the door I hug each woman, each dear friend, goodbye.

Not long after as I tuck my kids in bed that night, I still feel refreshed from the evening. Revived.

I sit in bed a few hours later, ready to turn out the light when a message comes across my screen from Sarah to us all: Thanks for tonight. It was good for my soul.

I sigh and smile. Agreeing wholeheartedly.

Just a few nights later as Kyle hurries home from work, I pack the baby in her stroller and we make the short walk across the street. We’ve been invited for dinner at the neighbor's house, friends we’ve gotten to know well over the past year or so.

We’re welcomed in and as we take off our shoes, our children ask to play the piano downstairs. When Susan chuckles and agrees, the children race downstairs, a special treat since there’s no piano at home. And as a variety of notes strung randomly together reach our ears, Susan offers a glass of wine while we sit in the living room looking at a family album made for Mother’s Day.

As we get closer to dinnertime, Susan asks Kyle and Abe to remind Al, our elderly neighbor next door, that it’s time to eat. When they return, we gather on the deck. The table is set simply, with spots for the adults, a little table for the kids, and a high chair for baby Eleanor. They’ve thought of everything. A little smile tugs at my lips as I sit, ready to enjoy the evening. As food is passed, conversation turns to Al’s 80th birthday party we’ll be celebrating in a few weeks. We laugh and joke about what we should bring. About the neighborhood. About life.

And as the evening winds down, with no rush to leave, we enjoy dessert while a string of porch lights turn on from the canopy above us. We continue to talk about work and life, retirements and trips with family.

As the sun begins to dip behind the trees, and Eleanor begins to rub her eyes, it’s a clear sign our evening is ending. We gather the children and head for the door where hugs and goodbyes and thank yous are spoken.

As we walk back across the street I’m reminded again of Sarah’s words and think: That was good for my soul.

And this afternoon as I watch my kids play in the yard, I wonder how I’ve missed these moments, wishing I’d realized sooner this need to slow down. To spend time with those around me. Have a meal together. With no phones, no distractions. All this bustling and hurrying about is wearying, when maybe some of my purpose as a human is to actually connect with those around me, laugh, have fun.

And when I take the time to do it I realize: This is good for my soul.

What can you do this week to intentionally slow down, notice, and enjoy the things and people around you?

Today we are once again linking up for Make a Difference Monday!


  1. This made me smile with the sweet reminder that we really are made for community and it. is. good. What a difference it makes in our days when we slow down to soak up God's gifts like fellowship and friendship!

    1. Amen my friend. It's amazing how challenging it seems to be to slow down, but how much we appreciate it when we do! Love to you!!

  2. At centering prayer this evening we talked about seeing ourselves in one another and if we do so, we cannot dislike one another. I think the entire community you're talking about is a witness to the fact that we are an extension of God. As long as we see God in one another, we become more like Him. Thank you.