Let Them Live

hiking picture

My husband is from the Cascade Mountains in Washington State.

He’s at home in the outdoors. He’s a skier and a hiker and a rock climber. He loves the idea of overnights in the wilderness, navigating with a compass and the stars.

My preferred form of adventure is trying a new grocery store, but I’ve been known to hike a mountain or two, especially if it means quiet time together with Chris.

There aren’t a lot of quiet wilderness moments when you have two babies in two years. Our life together lately is mostly focused on tending to our little ones and occasionally squeezing in quick family outings in between nap times. And though we moved to the foothills of the Rocky Mountains nearly five months ago, we haven’t actually made it much past the city limits.

Until yesterday.

After a leisurely morning building block towers, we decided to take a lunch up to a nearby State Park for a picnic. But loading and packing took more time than we anticipated and a wrong turn led us astray. We ended up eating our picnic in the parking lot of a hillside government building and then getting right back in the car to get home for nap time.

As we were driving down the hill to our apartment, we noticed a trail leading up the mountain, busy with hikers and families.

“Someday, I guess, “ Chris said, the disappointment thick in this voice.

Returning home, the boys went down for naps and we commenced with our weekend cleaning rituals.

Dinnertime neared and Chris suggested we get something ready to eat.

And as I looked out the window behind him, I was struck by how light it was outside, that even at 6:00, we still had at least 90 minutes of daylight left.

“Let’s go,” I told him. “We’ll give the boys a quick dinner and we’ll go hiking up that trail, the one we passed on the way home.”

“But it’s late,” he said. “It’ll be dark soon and they need baths and it takes time to load everything up.”

“Let’s go anyway,” I said, not responding to his valid points.

“You’re serious?” he asked, eyes beginning to spark with adventure.

“Totally,” I replied.

Off we went, infant and toddler in tow, with plans to hike a mountain before bedtime.

Arriving at the trailhead, we strapped on the babies and began to climb. The further we got into the trees, the fuller Chris’ chest seemed to become. Step by step, I watched as he relished in the surroundings and relaxed into a state of quiet joy.

“I feel . . alive again,” he told me, slowly. “You know? There’s a part of me that needs this.”

“I know,” I replied.

And I did know. I could see it in his expression, his posture, his movements.  He was standing straighter, smiling, moving with a zest I hadn’t seen in awhile.

And I knew because I understood what it’s like to bring a passion back to life.

Scurrying up a hillside is not my cup of tea. I’d prefer the cup of tea—with a spot to write a story or a song. But since becoming a mother, I haven’t often made time for these loves.

Instead I find myself flipping on the TV for the last ten minutes of a home renovation show or scrolling through my news feed. Not my passions, but who has time for those?

Giving up social media for Lent this year made me realize how much I missed being creative. When I stopped consuming everyone else’s updates and comments and ideas, I wanted to make my own.

And so I started to carve out time. A few minutes in the morning. A half-hour in the afternoon. Some nights after bedtime.

Time to be alive again.

To feel the spark of creativity. To craft words into stories for the pleasure of it. To find myself on the page.

It’s bringing me to life in new ways.

family hike

There are passions that will cause the heart to ache if they are not given space to flourish.

Let them live.

There won’t be enough time.

Let them live anyway.

There are other things that need to be done.

But let your passions live. Resurrect them if you must.

Remember that you are alive but once.

And that mountains can be climbed before bedtime.

Lindsey Smallwood
Latest posts by Lindsey Smallwood (see all)

31 thoughts on “Let Them Live

  1. You have a beautiful family! And that mountain. WOW. I’m so with you on living your passions…I’m such a scaredy cat, but I try to live by “you regret what you don’t do more than what you do”. Visiting from the Peony Project!


    Jebbica’s World

  2. I just love this post. How refreshing to me! You have a beautiful family, Lindsey! 🙂 I have been having a hard time fitting all of my passions in, so maybe I need reevaluate where all my time is going. Thanks for this!

    • Thanks Summer – here’s to making more space for what matters!.

  3. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. It’s so easy to make excuses not to do what we love the most. We think we are being selfish when in reality they actually help us to be better at all our other tasks. “There are passions that will cause the heart to ache if they are not given space to flourish.” This is so true. Amen to all you said! “Let them live.”

    • Gayl – yes I love that, they DO help us do better at our other tasks!

  4. and what a beautiful image you used – and what you said about passions 😀

    • Thanks Andi – Boulder is a gorgeous place.

  5. Such a beautiful post and a wonderful reminder to stop and savor those things God has given us to enjoy!

  6. My husband needs to hunt in a way that I don’t understand, but I’ve seen that joy in him when he’s been craving to go and our to do list has him trapped at home and I say, Go! And he is more alive in that moment. He is free. Means a lot to have the grace to toss the to-do’s and the schedule and just live.

    • Jennifer – yes, you’re so right, it is a grace to just live! Here’s hoping he (and you!) get more of it!

  7. Thank you! I love this! I’ve been thinking a lot about resurrecting my passions lately, thanks for the extra nudge.

  8. Everyone needs a reminder once and a while to live in the moment! This is just the quick read to push people in the right direction! Thank you!

  9. Yes!! Love the way you were spontaneous & seized that moment. I totally agree about it being easier to scroll through a news feed than to use that time towards passions, but so much less fulfilling.

    • Here’s to getting off the news feed Lori! 🙂

  10. Love this! It is so easy to get wrapped up in social media. Sometimes you just need to be spontaneous. Great picture.

    • Totally, Melissa – here’s to more spontenaetity for all 🙂

  11. Yes! This is great! It’s all about giving yourself and your spouse grace to throw the schedule and routine out the window and do something energizing. I love that it was *you* who encouraged him to go.

  12. Lovely! This post reminded me of some of my favorite words from Frederick Buechner: “You are alive. It needn’t have been so. It wasn’t so once, and it will not be so forever. But it is so now. And what is it like: to be alive in this maybe one place of all places where life is? Live a day of it and see. Take any day and be alive in it. Nobody claims that it will be entirely painless, but no matter. It is your birthday, and there are many presents to open. The world is to open.” –from The Alphabet of Grace.

    • J.L. – I LOVE that quote – haven’t heard it before. Thanks for sharing it.

    • Thanks Esther – the way you follow your passions is an inspiration!

  13. Lindsey — this is so true for me too. The busier I am the less fulfilled I am because I always cut the best things first. Thanks for sharing here.

    • Cut the best things first – I know! Why do we do that? Thanks for reading Mary Beth.

  14. Beautiful post with an important concept to remember. The things you’re passionate about add too much joy and sweetness to life to be continually swept away in the face of the demands of routine and daily chores.

    • Yes Rachel, life always needs more joy and sweetness (and here’s hoping for less chores!)

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