Time to slow down. That's been the message.... The soft whisper in my soul, the quiet words in my mind. And still I hurry. I hurry to get kids fed and off to school, I hurry to get myself ready for the day, I hurry to load babies in carseats, I hurry to get home to start dinner and homework and snacks and laundry, I hurry to do the dishes and hurry kids off to bed. And still He whispers, "Kari, slow down. Take time to be present in these moments without looking to the next one." And I hear it, and I think that I will slow down, maybe just once I get the kitchen clean and the laundry put away. How can a mama slow down with so much to be done?
And that's when it hits. Two little ones with stomach viruses. Everything else stops spinning and I focus on just these two pitiful ones. I don't do dishes, I don't cook, I don't fold any clothes or put on any makeup. I just hold them, wash their faces with a cool cloth, sit with them, sing to them... I send my regrets for parties and events on my calendar, and the to-do list gets lost in the pile of unopened mail on the table. And the world doesn't crumble around me. The house still stands, the children still get fed, and by some small miracle I regain some lost piece of myself in the not-doing.
Today is day 4 of the virus, which unfortunately has passed from little ones to Daddy. And just today it occurred to me that it was all by design... That just maybe I was saying "no" to the one thing we all needed most. It is hard to be fully present with so many things pulling me away, until I have no choice. While I am not thankful that my family has been ill, I am very grateful that God has used this time to remind me that I don't have to do it all. That He does not need me to run the world. (Imagine that?) That it is not only ok, but necessary to just be still sometimes.
For some weeks now, I have been in the process of evaluating my time and how I spend it, making changes to my schedule and obligations so that I can be here and available. I am thankful for a God who calls me back to the now and shows me where I have overextended myself. I don't want my legacy to be "She washed a lot of dishes and ran a lot of errands." I want to give them more of myself than what's leftover after all the menial and mundane tasks are checked off my list. There will always be more laundry to fold and more dishes to wash. But there won't always be kids sitting at my table doing homework, or babies to read to. If I'm not careful and intentional, I might miss it. And to miss it for something so meaningless as an empty sink would be a tragedy, indeed.
As my family is on the mend, I am praying for a fresh awareness of what's really important that will last into the coming days and weeks and months, that I won't forget next week when the pace of this season tries to sweep me away to just be present. To be here, now. Because now is a gift.
"Live wisely... and make the most of every opportunity." Colossians 4:5