A friend led me to the blog of Matt chambers. I don’t know a lot about him just yet, but the blog he wrote last night was a much needed reminder and encouragement. I’ve been “busy” here lately, maybe you have been too, and this provided a moment of calm.
This is his post, “I wrote this in the middle of the night”
It’s 12:53am. I can’t remember the last time it was this quiet.
The past few weeks (maybe even months) have been a collision of events, people, decisions, attempts, triumphs, failures, questions, answers, hopes, and longings that hit with such force, it shook the windows of my soul. The only analogy that continually comes to mind is the adage of trying to gently sip water from a fire hydrant.
It’s those moments when you’re speeding forward because the gravitational pull of what’s coming next seems to propel you at terrifyingly high speeds, but then you look up and realize you’re passing some incredible sights too fast to fully take them. A screeching halt seems too risky, but somehow, “progress” has convinced us all that a high-speed rail life is the only way to get where we want to go…do what we want to do…be who we want to be…
It’s 1:15am. Tonight my oldest son asked if he could sit in my lap and steer the minivan while we looked at Christmas lights. Last year he was still small enough. This year he’s too big.
It’s funny. In these quiet moments, I was thinking of all the things I have that were supposed to make life easier. Three of those things are in need of repair: the dishwasher, our home heating unity, and the driver’s side window of my car. It’s amazing how easily a bump in the road can completely derail convenience. We have paint waiting to be slathered onto bedroom walls. We even ordered new kitchen countertops about six months ago. They’re still sitting in the back of a local store until we can figure out how to keep all our villagers busy and away from the house long enough to install them.
At first glance, that last paragraph might come across like a gripe, but it’s not. It’s just life. It’s just stuff. Sometimes it really annoys me, because I want it done, but tonight, the quiet wins.
Lately the most frustrating thing to me is how much I have to try and “fit things in” to the calendar. How much I have to cram a meeting here and rush to finish something there….just so we can prove true our incessant response of “Busy” when someone asks, “How are you?”
There’s an idea floating around that “busy is the new fine”. It’s probably true. But, if we’re too busy, then we’re not fine. Although, I don’t think it’s about balance nearly as much as it’s about giving ourselves the freedom to let some things go for a little bit. There’s no way everything we’re doing is crucial, vital, life-and-death, def con 5 at all times.
It’s 1:35am. Tomorrow I begin a quest to finish raising $50,000 before December 31 for Uganda. It feels crazy, and I’m a little sheepish about it, but this week I’ve had multiple friends tell me they’ve never known me to every take the safe road.
If the ideas we have and the stuff we’re doing doesn’t work the way we thought, it’s not over. I don’t understand how our society came to believe that failure in one direction meant giving up in every other direction. For me, failure’s pretty much a regular part of my day. Not failure in the sense that my work becomes an unsalvageable, unrecognizable mess, but rather “well, that didn’t work, let’s try again.”
Maybe we don’t give ourselves enough room to make mistakes because we just don’t have time. There are so many things already scheduled that we just don’t have any space left for trying again if we screw up the first…second…third time around. We don’t give ourselves enough time to work on our relationships…we don’t give ourselves enough time to think…we don’t give ourselves enough time to ourselves.
A question that came to mind earlier tonight was: “When was the last time you planned a PROPER date with your wife?” Not just going out (we do that as much as we can), but an actual DATE…not dinner and then a grocery run…not coffee and 2 straight hours talking about the kids, or work, or broken stuff in the house.
It’s hard to step away from the stuff that consumes our waking moments. Sometimes it even feels impossible. But, we must remember that we are more than all those other facets. Outside of work, play, church, kids, chores, to-do lists, and “I can’t believe I still haven’t gotten that done” lists, we are…us. We have dreams and hopes and hurts and joys and desires that need tending, but are more often than not neglected because we just can’t find the free time.
The proof of a life well lived isn’t a full calendar, or a flurry of activity, or always showing up to every event. It’s making sure the right events are on the calendar.
And making sure the right events are on the calendar starts with turning off the noise long enough to remember.
It’s 1:55am. Here’s to re-learning how to put the right events on the calendar. My first opening goes to…rest.