Such a simple word.
All these years I thought for sure I knew what the word “with” meant. When I hang out “with” my wife, we talk and visit. When I do something “with” Elaina and Anjelia, we laugh, talk and play. As my two oldest daughters have entered their teen years, the word “with” has become a bit different.
When I drop Jessica off at school, we have around 5-7 minutes to wait in the car for the school doors to be opened. Jessica doesn’t usually say anything. A few times I have tried to force conversation which just frustrated her. Now, we just sit there and listen to 91.9 or 97.3 while we wait. The other day, while I was waiting, I started to think of ways I could use up that 5-7 minutes of time better (it’s a sickness; don’t judge me). While sitting there the Holy Spirit put something on my heart.
“James, this is what “with” means to Jessica. Don’t take it for granted.”
I checked my rear view mirror and saw the side of Jessica’s face. She was turned slightly toward the doors of the school so she could see when they were unlocked. She glanced at me in the mirror, and then she returned her attention to the school doors. I relaxed the rest of that time and just enjoyed the time “with” her.
A couple of mornings ago I told her that I wasn’t planning on attending the Science Olympiad state competition with her in April. I was shocked when she got really upset. I just assumed she didn’t care. When I went to the regional competition with her last weekend, she didn’t say very much to me. I just assumed she didn’t care one way or the other. Obviously, I was completely wrong. She desperately wants me to be there “with” her.
For Jessica the word “with” really just means “to accompany.” She doesn’t need to hear a lot of words. She doesn’t need to say a lot of words. She just wants my presence. She wants my silent involvement. I may imagine “with” being deep conversations or joking and laughing with each other. For her it’s much different.
Jessica needs my involvement to be simple. And quiet. Two things I need to learn, and Jessica is probably the best person to teach them to me.
Better is a dry morsel with quietness,
Than a house full of feasting with strife.