December 18, 2013

Slowing Down

It's Friday and it is one of those days.  No matter what I do, everything goes wrong.  All so wrong.

I am worn out after an exceptionally busy week.  It was filled with my older son's school events and spending time getting ready for them, accommodating to my husband's demanding work schedule, and undertaking another responsibility as a baby sitter to my 18 months old niece.  

I took care of everything and everyone and all the needs were met, except my own.  

I'm used to bathing my kids every night even when I don't have clean hair myself.  I'm a mom with little kids and I'm okay with that.  I often forget to feed myself because I'm too busy feeding my babies. 

But when I don't feed my soul, the core of who I am, I starve.  I get impatient.  

I'm a born "maker" and I need to be making something using my own hands every day, let it be art, stories, or cooking.  I make something so that I can come alive.  So I push hard to get my projects going.  I let the kids watch extra TV and I may not sleep much at night.  But sometimes, it just doesn't happen no matter how hard I try.  The kids get sick, or I get sick.  I fall down the stairs or rear end my neighbor's car.  Unexpected things happen, one after another. 

I need a moment to breathe. 

Should I just give it all up? 

I am so frustrated I kick the garbage can in the kitchen at full force.  It falls down, slides across the floor, and scatters bits and pieces of scrap food all over the place.  Did I tell you the garbage can was full?  

I just stand there, astounded to see the scale of the mess I made.  It is much bigger than I thought it would be.  I am standing there feeling awkward, not knowing what to do next.  I just kicked the garbage can.  I can't pick up a broom and clean up the mess like nothing ever happened.  

My two year old runs into the kitchen, stars at the mess.  

"Mommy, big mess.  Big mess here."  He tells me pointing at the floor.  "Big mess."  

Is he talking about the messy floor, or is he talking about me?  Am I a big mess?

I sit on the floor, cuddle my knees and weep.  I bury my face in the knees so the kids won't see me crying.  I don't even know why I am crying.  Do I want someone else to pick up my mess?  

Am I a big mess?  

Am I waiting for someone else to pick up the pieces of the mess that is me and glue them back together so I can somehow stand up straight?   

Why can't I even get a single project going for myself?  Why can't I even write a blog post?  Why do I have dirty hair and a messy house after working so hard all week long?  Is this God's way of telling me I'm not ready yet for anything beyond motherhood?  

Should I give it all up? 

My life was filled with joy just a few days ago.  How could I forget that feeling and going back to the square one?  How is it possible my cup was overflowing yesterday, and now it's half empty and desperately needing to be filled?  

Later in the afternoon, the boys decorate our Christmas tree with a little help from Daddy.  They are proud, looking up the decorated tree, with a smile on their faces.  The bulbs are clustered at the bottom dangling from the branches.  The cat is busy batting the bulbs.  Everything is crooked but I have to say, this is the most beautifully decorated Christmas tree I've ever seen.  So imperfectly perfect.  

I take a deep breath and slow down.  

It's Monday afternoon, and beef stew is simmering in the oven, warming up the house with the expectation of a hearty dinner.  I decided to try Julia Child's Boeuf Bourguignon after watching the movie, Julie and Julia.  It's not a hard dish to cook, but it takes time to prepare and you need to pay attention to the details.  It bubbles in the oven all afternoon long and comes out perfectly tender and brown, the meat and juice and all.  I'm pleased with the result and I grin.  

But the moment I take a bite, I notice the meat is a little dry, and I know why.  I was rushing through the cooking process while the kids took a nap, and I didn't take the time to brown the meat before simmering it in broth and wine.  Browning seals the juice in the meat and keeps the meat moist.  

I take a deep breath and slow down. 

Sometimes good things cook slowly.  That's how the meat gets tenderized and absorbs all the tasty juice.  You shouldn't skip any corners or you pay the price.  Slowing down and working on it, step by step, is the only way to make it good.  

Perhaps life is just like that.  

I need to slow down and savor every bit of the given day instead of rushing through the process.  It may unfold slower than I want it to be, but that's where I can absorb all the experience that makes my life richer.  

So I take a deep breath and slow down, try to let things unfold on it's own. 

This is my offering to you, with all of my doubts and weaknesses.  It is scary, but I am doing it anyway.  This Tuesday, I started unwrapping the story and finishing up a day later.  Sometimes, it takes time to unwrap a gift, and it is okay too.  

Today, I'm linking up to Emily at chatting at the sky for her Tuesdays Unwrapped series. 

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