Thankfully at the end of those two weeks I was in Florida with 6 of my best friends in the entire world celebrating our sweet friend who is getting married in June! It was just what the doctor ordered. When I arrived home from the trip, I literally said to my husband, "I'M BACK!" because it was the first time I felt like myself since the start of the flu debacle.
Since then, things have been moving right along, and I've been trying to get back on track with routines, meal planning, etc. It's taken a while, so to you all I'll say I'M BACK too! I'm sure you've missed me terribly ;)! It really was a dark place to be with all of my babies sick and me not feeling well to boot. I hadn't felt that badly in forever, and I certainly hadn't seen my kids that sick in a long time. My saying for our family is "Nothing major but always something." Thank goodness that is the truth for us, and I say a prayer of thanksgiving any time something out of the norm occurs whether it be the flu, stitches, a fender bender, whatever because I know to count my blessings and remember that it's nothing major.
I have been struck again and again since the holidays with lots of "majors" for other people, however. Deaths of parents/spouses, addictions, heartbreak, friends diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses, unexpected surgeries, etc. It just seems like things keep coming, and it's honestly scary. It has made me take a step back, say a lot of prayers, and hold on super tightly to those I hold dear. I know that we are not in control, but it is so hard to not want to "do something!" to make things better for those that I love so much. The only tangible thing that I know to do is to pray.
Our church has started a program called Prayers of the People. It started two weeks ago when a member of our church was diagnosed with cancer. The doctors were not holding out a lot of hope, and her friends decided to organize a prayer vigil. They had 20 minute slots from 8:00am to 5:30pm where people signed up to come and pray for her. Since then, the Prayers of the People has continued. Yesterday I had an opportunity to attend.
When was the last time I had spent 20 minutes in complete silence? In prayer? In meditation? Just being? I don't know what happened, but I felt like it was 5 minutes, and I got so much accomplished not only in prayer but also in just setting my mind and my heart in the right direction to start out the week. Twenty minutes. It's really not that long, but I had a hard time even scheduling twenty minutes into my day to go and be still...there always seems to be something that gets in the way...and it's usually nothing that can't wait: laundry, dinner prep, vacuuming, laundry, carpool, working out, showering, laundry. I have a list of excuses a mile long telling me why I can't sit still for twenty minutes, but none of them is true. None of the things on my list can bring me the peace and the rest that came from my twenty minutes in dedicated silence/prayer yesterday morning.
Why is it that we are so eager to do things for other people, to take time for other people, to take things off other people's plates before we fill ourselves by just taking a little time out for ourselves? This is something that I struggle with. I want to be all things to all people, but I realize that I cannot be my best for others if I don't take the time to fill myself up to be my best for myself.
This blog is one example of something that I do that is totally mine, and I have put it on the back burner so that I could get everything else done for everyone else that's important to me. Don't get me wrong, I need to do those things, but I don't need to let go of this in order to accomplish those things on my to-do list that aren't going anywhere. I have been writing now for about twenty minutes, and I will take a break to get my child off the bus, do homework, spend some time with my kids, start dinner, go to Circle tonight, and then hopefully I will have twenty more minutes tonight to revisit this and keep going. I have missed it. I didn't know how much until I started writing again.
So, to you out there who have your plate overflowing with the expectations of others and a to-do list that feels never-ending, I encourage you to take twenty minutes and do something quiet...read, write, meditate, pray. Turn off the television, take a bath, plug the kids into a show, whatever it takes. The laundry list of chores will still be there when you get done. Nothing will change...but maybe you will.