Saturday, November 6, 2010

Slowing Down

I find that my weekdays are pretty hectic. I work all day, I run errands, I chauffer the kids from place to place, I grocery shop, I clean other people's houses, I clean our house, I make dinner, I do laundry, and I look forward to the weekends.

The unfortunate part of this equation is that my weekends seem to be slightly more chaotic from time to time than my weekdays are. This weekend, we attended a surprise party for my brother-in-law's thirtieth birthday, for which I made a ton of barbeque turkey meatballs on Friday. We got back home around eleven at night, kids running around like chickens to put away leftover food, clean up dishes, brush and floss, and sit down for a half hour to watch something together before bed. This morning, I made bacon, eggs, and chocolate chip pancakes for everyone since it's a big day today. The SwingFry, which is the show choir concert and fish/chicken fry at the high school, is today. It's a showcase of many area choirs, plus our own middle- and high school choirs from Northridge. Our daughter also had a Civics project at Krider Gardens downtown, where she needed to be dropped off at noon. The boys had to be at the high school at 12:30, Aria had to be picked back up at 2. I did three loads of laundry, cleaned up the counters, table, and stove, let the dogs out twice, gave our husky her antibiotic, sprayed the little dog with flea spray because he was biting at something, and got caught up with my devotionals and journaling for the week. This was all before 2:30, which is where we are now. The rest of the day consists of coordinating with family and watching performances: Aria's choir is at 4:30, Michael has a solo performance of a song he wrote right after that, the high school concert choir is at 7:30, and the Northern Lights performance is at 8:45. Then it's clean up, change, and back home... not sure exactly how long that will take, but it all lends itself to a fairly hectic day. And night. And that reminds me -- at some point in between all of that, I'm going to have to come back home and let the dogs out again!

What is it about our daily lives that lacks the ability to balance? Is it women in particular, or do men have this problem? I have a tendency, as a wife, to fall into all of the household responsibilities by default. My husband works, then goes off to read for a few hours, comes home to eat dinner, reads more if he hasn't gotten caught up, checks his email, and watches some television or a movie with the family. He mows the lawn if it needs mowing and cleans the gutters if they need cleaning. He doesn't hesitate to help out if I ask him to help out, though. I just need to get into the habit of doing that more often. Years ago, when women didn't work outside the home, it wouldn't have been as much of a problem. Now, we work all day and then work all night. Sometimes I can't sleep in the evening because I'm thinking of the chaos of tomorrow. I need to learn the fine art of taking things one day at a time. It's one of the things I admire about my husband -- he's able to live by that philosophy. He doesn't tend to get as ruffled as I do, or to let things permeate him in the same way. He bounces back quickly. I, on the other hand, allow myself to get heavy-laden by obligations, feel guilty for not spending time with everyone I want to spend time with or who wants to spend time with me, and feel like I'm never quite living up to expectations. Is that a male/female thing? A mindset? Or am I just making life too difficult for myself?

"Cast your cares upon Him, for He cares for you", it says in 1st Peter.

I'm casting.

I remember going fishing with my father when I was younger. He was a charter boat captain on Lake Michigan and the St. Joseph River. I loved lake fishing because we could set up the rods, and I would just watch to see if a fish was biting. The rod would pop up, we'd grab it together, and he'd help me reel in a salmon, or lake trout, or whatever it happened to be. River fishing, on the other hand, I enjoyed because we were spending time together, but it was not my favorite way. Casting was a learned art, or science, or something for which I did not have a knack. I would do exactly as he said, watch exactly what he showed me, listen carefully to his words, then pull the rod back and cast my line directly into a tree. Or a bush. Or on the shore. Or a rock. Or his line. And my dad would remain as patient as he could, untangling the ridiculous mess I'd made and reeling it back in, sometimes re-casting for me so he could fish for awhile before I tried it again. It was the trying that mattered to him, I think. I didn't just sit there and try to do everything myself. I listened and learned and then attempted. Sometimes I got it right. Most times I didn't. But he loved me anyway.

I'm still casting. And God, being the Father that He is, is patient with me just like my own father was, and still is. Sometimes I try to do everything all on my own, and I screw it up, regardless of how often I listen and attempt to learn from His words. Sometimes He takes my ridiculous mess of a life and untangles it for me so I can start over. Sometimes He lets it sit there so I can ruminate while He attends to other things. But, like my own father, He loves me anyway.

I'm casting. I'm just not very good at it.


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