On a Friday morning, once I’ve pressed “send” on the composed-on-Thursday-sent-on-Friday weekly email for youth ministry; once I’ve posted the global missions offering blurb to social media; once I’ve rattled off a few emails, I sit back down to my journal. Already open and one page filled out with my random thoughts on the lectionary text, my journal sits open and waits to determine how I spend the next few minutes alone. It is the morning before my day off with the boys at home begins. It is during these morning moments that I am not wife or mother or minister but simply just me.
Do I go get ready for the day, packing my gym bag and making sure I am fully done before the boys rise?
Why do all my hours have to be considered in advance and done with precision to avoid little boy meltdowns and sweaty mommy moments?!
Do I go do a few final emails so that my two days in the office next week before a conference followed by camp do not drain me completely?
Why is there never enough time to accomplish that which has to be done?!
Do I return to my Thomas Merton book I’ve been reading this week?
Is there anything more comical than reading contemplative thoughts from a monk when I order every hour with a life of little boys and trucks, office work and time with teenagers, iPhones and iPads and Macbooks?!
“There are times, then, when in order to keep ourselves in existence at all we simply have to sit back for a while and do nothing. And for a man who has let himself be drawn completely out of himself by his activity, nothing is more difficult than to sit still and rest, doing nothing at all. The very act of resting is the hardest and most courageous act he can perform: and often it is quite beyond his power. We must first recover the possession of our own being.” – Thomas Merton
And then I breathe. My pen emerges in my hand and my hiatus from writing fades. I am in my sweet spot again… the time when the spirit flows words through me like a faucet and the house remains mysteriously quiet (expect Deacon, our dog, snoring, still lazily laying in her crate though the door is open) and I am present.
As a mother to two young boys, there is never a day when I can actually sit still and courageously do nothing. But there is a posture from which I can exist that gives up my craving for control and my proclivity for productivity.
The voices begin to emerge. Deacon stops snoring and though I cannot see her around the corner, I know her movements. She arches her back and yawns a slow-motion yawn. She stretches and yet senses that is it not yet time to emerge so she lays back down again.
Dare I take this Friday to relax my grip on this life of mine?
Dare I courageously claim it as a true “day off” and let the to-do list officially fall to next week?
Dare I risk slowing down enough to be present and see the Life around me?
“Our being is not to be enriched merely by activity and experience as such. Everything depends on the quality of our acts and our experiences. A multitude of badly performed actions and of experiences only half-lived exhausts and depletes our being.” – Thomas Merton
Yes, I might just dare. For I believe the truth – in the heart of the flourishing one, he or she knows it is good to give thanks and praise to the God of life. So I pause and give thanks, bowing down in gratitude that I might find that my day begins best right there.