Friday, July 30, 2010

Slow Time

My girls w/ first fruits from the garden

It's been an upside-down summer, a summer that has not gone at all as I had planned, as we had planned as a family.   Lots to be grateful for, particularly for health and health insurance.  I started trying, a few weeks ago, to be intentional everyday about the gratitude piece of all of this - because it's really easy for me to get stuck in the frustration, the plans gone awry, the maddening pace of recovery from major abdominal surgery, the inability to parent Abby in the ways I need to (did I mention she hurt her foot last week making it impossible for her to be very mobile, thereby doubling my uselessness and Shannon's way-over-loaded household of people to have to take care of?). 

Today, on my morning walk - the only exercise I'm allowed, but exercise I'm encouraged to do and so have been doing religiously - I realized that I'm beginning to see the value of the slow time I've been forced into.  Yes, yes, I know - should be obvious.  But I'm pretty thick-headed when it comes to myself sometimes.  I can be good at telling others, like lots of preachers, that balance is incredibly important.  I tend to be horrible at it myself.  I thrive in jobs where the demand is constant and the challenge bar is set higher everyday.  I create long lists of expectations in my head about what I should be accomplishing at home every second that I am there.  My teaching, you see, both by example and word, was very centered in being productive at all costs -- and being productive means endlessly moving.  There's no slowing down, no relaxing.  If you do, then you're failing somehow, not good enough, not doing whatever it is you're supposed to be doing.

Abby and our goddaughter, Elisabeth
And so I can admit, out loud now, that there's an enormous lesson for me in all of this - that there is much for me to be attentive to in the slow time that has been forced upon me.  I have friends and colleagues who have traveled the world and the United States this summer, in all kinds of incredible ways.  It took awhile to discover that this small corner of the world is all I needed to see for now.   I can also admit that there are moments I even like it, that I enjoy the not rushing around that I am not physically capable of just yet.  Because all kinds of things happen in the slow time: gardens grow, toddlers discover the world beyond themselves, family comes, dear friends visit from the West Coast, loving spouse simply loves and cares.  And, as I write this on a small, screened-in deck in the mountains of western North Carolina, fireflies come out to play - to wink their light, to display their mystery held in brief, spectacular lives.  There's nothing more to say other than a prayer of thanks to the One who creates, and holds, the winking, shining fireflies - and who creates and holds me.

2 comments:

Elane said...

yay

Eileen Altman said...

Your words make me feel calm amidst the rush of a busy week. Thank you.