Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Hotel Life

I don't want to be overly dramatic or negative about this experience because living in a hotel for 14 days on a relocation expense account certainly isn't the worst thing that could ever happen in life.  There are a handful of positive things about it, but it is definitely not the ideal situation for any of us and we're all anxiously counting down the days until it's over.

This is Emma and Megan's space.  Anyone who has to share a space with Emma is at a slight disadvantage because she tends to S P R E A D out quite a bit.  In addition to three quarters of the bed, she has also claimed all of the surrounding floor space and half the bathroom.    

This is McKay's space.  He starts out curled up in a small heap on this chair but we have a sleeping bag standing by on the floor for him because eventually in the night he comes to his senses and decides to stretch out.  He's not especially tidy either, but there is less of him to spread around than his two sisters so it doesn't feel as invasive.  

This is Megan's is banished to the other side of the room...far, far away from anyone else's stuff.  I sneak it out to wash it periodically and then sneak it back into it's heap.  That is all I'm saying about her space.  

This is the Master Bedroom.  Craig opted to "go green" with this stay which means we only have housekeeping service when we request it, but we get double or triple the frequent hotel points, which I have a feeling we'll be grateful for in the near future.  So I make our bed in the mornings...sort of.  And I have a nice relationship with the little ladies who clean the rooms on our floor so I exchange our used towels for new ones, because I can't stand piles of wet towels lingering in the bathroom.   
I'm sparing you the detailed account of the bathroom.  Imagine sharing a bathroom with your husband, two teenage girls, and a 12 yr old boy.  Whatever picture you have in your head right now is probably infinitely better than what this feels like every morning before school.   

But, for all that physical discomfort and inconvenience, though, the thing I've been lamenting  the most as we live through #hotellife is that there is no place and no time to just be quiet.  As much as I love all of the people who have been so kind and invited us over for dinners at their homes, and as much as I've appreciated not being cooped up in this space any longer than we have to be, I have missed all that blissful unscheduled time I usually have during the week.  I really miss being still and at home and quiet.  I like having time to read in the mornings and ponder things and pray and write stuff down.  And with Craig's office, the kids' bedrooms, and the kitchen all contained in the same 300 sf, it's difficult to find any privacy to do those things.  And if too many days pass without those luxuries that I've come to rely on, I feel a little disoriented and far away from the Spirit.  

Craig left for Birmingham today, which I am both happy and sad about.  His leaving means the rest of us are one step closer to Birmingham.  It means that we're just two days away from closing on that new beautiful house that I am so anxious also to make a home out of.  It means that we'll have one less person crammed into what was a spacious hotel room before 5 people and a bunch of stuff settled into it.  But it also means that all the responsibility will fall on me again for a time to get all these kids where they need to be, to settle arguments, to make decisions, to organize and maintain some kind of order in this less than ideal situation, and to do it without having anyone to complain to discuss it with at night.  Single parenting is not my favorite.  Constant motion is not my favorite.  Driving kids all over Allen is not my favorite.

This morning, in the rainy, grey, quiet, unscheduled hours after Craig left, I sat here at this little makeshift personal space with Savannah's laptop and my iPad and two journals, and listened to this devotional by Jeffrey R Holland.  It was pretty much just what I needed to remind me that I don't have to have ideal conditions to have a spiritual experience.  
"We love and cherish our temples and we ought to go as often as possible...but you can have sacred, revelatory, profoundly instructive experiences with the Lord in the most miserable situations of your life.  In one way or another, great or small, dramatic or incidental, every one of us is going to spend a little time in Liberty Jail - spiritually speaking  But the lessons of the winter of 1838-39 teach us that every experience can become a redemptive experience if we remain bonded to our Father in Heaven through it."  - Jeffrey R Holland  
I don't know that this qualifies as a Liberty Jail experience.  It's not even all that miserable.  But it's not what I'm used to.  And sometimes just because the conditions are not perfect, I toss out the whole plan.  Except...I have a good plan that works.  My morning prayer, scripture study, writing and pondering routine in the mornings keeps me sane, functional and positive for the rest of the day.  And believe me, this two weeks requires an abundance of all that stuff!   Now is not the time to toss out the plan.  

So even though I may not currently be surrounded by all the personal things that bring me joy and peace, and even though there is more chaos in my life than I would like, there is still a little space and a little time to sneak in the things that work.  And surprisingly, even a small effort makes a huge difference in my disposition.  This grey, rainy day started out bleak and gloomy in my head when I thought about the ten long days ahead.  But now, after skipping the pedicure and opting for an hour of Jeffrey R Holland, an extended personal prayer and some much needed catching up with my journal, all of a sudden it doesn't seem so bleak.  I've made it through much longer, and much more miserable periods of my life than this.  

I can make it through the next 10 days...just not on my own.  

There is a reason we have the scriptures and the gospel and a Savior!  We're not supposed to plow through these challenging experiences on our own.  We're supposed to use all those awesome and essential tools to empower us to do the things we think we cannot do, even when conditions are less than ideal.  Especially when conditions are less than ideal.   I don't know why I always forget that, but I'm grateful to have been inspired today capitalize on a moment of clarity and a tiny window of opportunity.  And I'm grateful for that awesome talk.  

10 more days isn't that hard, especially with the enabling power of the Atonement.  

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