Thursday, October 21, 2010
This is the most current read on my nightstand...
And wow. It's knocking me for a loop.
Granted - I'm reading it coming off of two of the busiest weeks in my life, when I was literally running from one thing to the next with barely time to breathe... so I may be a little vulnerable in this area. That kind of busy-ness sucks the life out of me. After two weeks of it, I needed some down time.
And this book is about allowing yourself some down time.
I've always been purposeful about choosing wisely how we spend our time... careful not to overschedule the kids or get sucked into the pressure to have them involved in every possible extra curricular activity known to man in order to raise the most well-rounded people... I never bought into the notion that my kids would be more successful adults if they knew how to dance and play instruments and excel at three sports and discuss good literature and cook and have good manners because they'd learned it in formal lessons... Not that there's anything wrong with any of those things. I just didn't want to be that parent who runs from one activity to the next just in case we might be missing something...
I think so many parents feel an urgency about enrichment activities that is near-frenzied. And Asia and I chose not to play that game. Does that make us better parents? No. It was just a value we held that our kids would have free time... and be able to choose activities that they were interested in without any pressure from us.
But now that they're older, and they're choosing those activities - and now that I'm older and have more interests of my own - and a job that requires me to work six days a week currently - I feel like all my efforts to keep our lives simple have left my control - and we're crazy people - running all the time with nary a moment to just be.
I know it's a season...
But I'm evaluating my part in it.
I do feel like we're in the final countdown with our kids - before we know it they're going to be making their way out our doors and into the world. Every moment counts with them. More than ever, that keeps running through my mind. I'm not afraid of letting them go... that's what we've been working toward their whole lives... but I do know that I LOVE everything about them and I have to savor the privilege of having them in my life while they're still in my home... if we're so busy that we never see each other, that's just ridiculous.
And then there's this: About six weeks ago I had the chance to eat lunch with a couple of homeless kids. I saw them on my way home from work and was compelled by the holy spirit to feed them. I resisted momentarily, and tried to drive past them... but found myself turning around and buying them a meal at Jack in the Box, with the stipulation that they had to sit with me and tell me their stories.
Evan and Jeff were 20 and 21 years old. Both had been 'riding the rails' for three years. (Who knew anyone actually still did that in this day and age? There's a huge sub-sub-culture out there still doing it...) The first question I asked (I couldn't help myself) was "How often do you call your mom?" We had an amazing conversation and they were so grateful for a warm meal... it changed the course of my day to sit quietly with those boys and let them tell me about their lives... to acknowledge their stories and validate them as fellow human beings on the journey touched me deeply.
I don't share this for any other reason than to tell you how it impacted me to have the time to sit with those boys that day. It was a rare afternoon when I didn't have anywhere to be and I could temporarily step out of my life and into theirs... Most days I don't have that luxury. I'm too busy.
But because on that particular day, I got to meet Evan and Jeff, now, every time I think of them I pray. I pray for their safety. For their parents, who must worry sick about them. I pray for God to put other friendly people in their path who can provide a warm meal and a kind word. I pray for Evan and Jeff every time I drive by that Jack in the Box.
What if I had time to respond to the holy spirit like that every day?
Sad that I even have to ask that question, isn't it?
Now, I don't think God is going to ask me to feed homeless kids every day... but I do know that I am to be the hands and feet and mouth of Jesus every day. And if I'm too busy rushing from one thing to the next and I don't have the luxury of noticing the people around me... something's wrong.
So I'm praying. And pondering. And discussing with my wonderful husband the implications for my life.
Maybe I need to work less.
Maybe I need to volunteer less.
Maybe I need to give up evening commitments so we can have more consistant family dinners.
It's hard to consider these things... because I LOVE my job. I LOVE volunteering. I LOVE taking classes at church that challenge me.
And let's face it: being busy makes us feel validated. Needed. Necessary.
But maybe what's needed beyond my personal validation needs to become more important.
Maybe being free to be in the moment is more important than feeling validated because somebody thinks I'm good at my job, or a reliable volunteer, or the best muffin maker, or a creative blah blah blah...
So I'm trying to figure out what that looks like for my life.
Trying to determine how much is enough.
How much time. How much income. How much energy.
It's a journey, this life thing... fascinating that we never really get it figured out...