Thursday, December 20, 2007

2x4 (warning, long post)

As in the piece of wood that is 2" by 4" and that sometimes I feel I should be hit over the head with. It's been a long while since I've last posted. Not that I haven't wanted to, but the whole freetime thing just hasn't been there for me. Now that Christmas is fast approaching, I feel like everything is go, go, go. Parties, shopping, baking, Christmas cards just to name a few. Add to that starting back to work (not full time yet), managing a family of 5, 2 dogs that sometimes create more work than the 3 kids, keeping the house clean, trying to help my mom deal with a difficult situation with my grandmother in the nursing home...whew! I'm not writing all these things to complain or seek pity because I know there are people out there who do 10x more and are 10x more effective than I am. It's just that I have had the distinct feeling that God is probably wanting to hit me over the head with a 2x4 because I miss the whole point. He's been sending me subtle and not so subtle messages regarding the true point.
The first nudge came about 2 weeks ago at our small group Bible study. We watched a short video about a woman who was in a dark time of her life one Christmas. One of the turning points for her came when a total stranger bought her a cup of hot chocolate as she sat alone in a hotel restaurant. I was reminded of how I so often get stressed about finding the perfect gift, having beautifully wrapped gifts and attending all the Christmas parties. But that's not what Christmas is all about. It's about small blessings received from God and passed forward to those around us. It's about slowing down enough to appreciate those small things and seeing those who need to receive God's love. It's about family.
The second hit came this week when I received the following e-mail from a friend's blog. I know it's long, but it's really good.

The view from the soapbox

This is something I've written about before, and probably will again, because it's a subject I feel passionately about. Right off the bat I need to state for the record that I am not pointing a finger at anyone specifically. Unless that person would be me, myself. (And I.)
Lily (her 3 year old granddaughter) called the other night to talk to Auntie Susannah about her elf, Pippi. After they had chatted for a while Lily asked to talk to me. Here's the part where I did a wrong bad thing--I told Susannah I couldn't talk to Lily right then because I was busy, and to go ask Pop. What was I thinking? What in the world could I have been doing that was more important than talking to my precious granddaughter? Making supper? Bustling about with some pseudo-vital task? How could I have had such skewed priorities? It would seem that in all my years of mothering I have failed to learn this one crucial lesson -- not to be bothered by the interruptions to my work because the interruptions ARE my work. How many sweet and tender moments did I miss with my kids because I was doing something I deemed too "important" to stop? "Not now..." "I'm busy..." "Go ask Daddy...." "Do it yourself...." This all falls into the general category of "BEING TOO BUSY". There's an epidemic of busy-ness, and it really bugs me. I've heard it said that you can define BUSY as Being Under Satan's Yoke. How many times do you hear (or say) "I can't because I'm too busy." ?? I firmly believe that God enables each person to accomplish the things He has given her to do each day. There is always enough time to obey according to His guidelines: God, spouse, children, others (in that order). People before things. Eternal before temporal. We all choose every single day to make the time to do the things that are the most important to us. I didn't make the time to vacuum before Bible study this morning. But I did somehow "find" time (oh look! time! how handy to have found it!) to sit at my computer and read my e-mail and two or seven blogs. So was I too busy to vacuum? Um..not hardly.And if I had chosen to set my alarm an hour earlier, instead of choosing to spend that time sleeping, I could have done both. I'm here to admit that sleeping in the mornings is rather high on my priority list. hmmm....what does that say about my character?I am not too busy to exercise. I am not too busy to take a class. I am not too busy to volunteer in my daughter's school. I have the same number of hours as anyone else. I don't run every day because it is not what I have determined to be the most important thing to me at that time. Is that screwed up priorities? Possibly. Am I a victim of some cosmic lack of available time? No way.We moms all have extra demands on us this time of year. Suddenly our work load has increased exponentially, with no reduction in the daily duties. But none of us is "too busy". It's all about choices. We each and every one of us will do what we determine to do with our time.I freely confess that I do not always make right choices. Could we just be honest with each other, though, and ban the phrase "I'm too busy" from our collective vocabularies?
Like Phoebe said in that one Friends episode, "Gee, I wish I could, but I don't wanna."
And Lily? Will you forgive me?

BANG! Across the head.

And then the third hit came just the last couple days. C.J. has been an outstanding little guy, a dream! This past Sunday we were relaxing and he spit up all over me. As he did it, I yelled "Heey!" and startled him so that he choked on the spit and most likely aspirated some of it. He immediately became congested with a wet cough. I thought little of it. The next day he continued to have a stuffy nose and cough, but still acted/ate normally. By Tuesday it looked as though everything was on the mend. Well yesterday he went backwards and was really breathing loudly. Dr. Mom heard wheezing in his lungs so we went to the doctor's at 6pm as this was the only available appointment. By then he was really raspy and laboring to breath. Long story short, they sent us to the hospital for overnight observation, chest x-rays, blood work, etc. to rule out pneumonia. No pneumonia thankfully, and all else, besides the upper respiratory tract, was normal. Brochiolitis either from the aspiration or a secondary virus is the most likely diagnosis.
Enough of the doctor talk (that's my comfort zone). As you sit in the children's ward of the hospital and hear crying kids all around and talk to the staff about how full they are, perspective changes drastically and rapidly. It brings me to my knees with thankfulness that Casey isn't deathly ill or dealing with a life-long illness. God has given us so many blessings! I guess I probably needed a dose of perspective on those blessings. Hence the 2x4.
I pray that you all have a blessed and healthy Christmas. Take time to relish the small blessings that God places in your life just because He loves you. Remember that Jesus came as a tiny baby, not a splendid king because He loves us. Pass on these small acts of love. Make the right choices rather than being caught in the "too busy" trap. Keep things in perspective of what is truly important - God, spouse, family, friends. These are the things I'm going to work on. Please keep me accountable.


Trina said...

God's been reminding me of the same things this week, Rachelle. Gotta remember it's not the end of the world to fall short of our goals - it's the biggest thing in our lives though, if we neglect His will for us today - like, maintaining a good attitude today amid the stress.

I have been praying for your mom, too.

I'm linking your 2x4 post to my blog - it was a good read and I wanted to pass it along!

Glad Casey's ok!

Anja lee said...

Wow, Thanks Rachelle I really needed that reminder today!

Becs said...

What a post! It seems a lot of us have been in the same shoes.

We were in the car the other day and I asked Lexie to sing with me and she informed me "I can't. I'm busy." Bam! Clearly she had heard it before and knew what it meant. A few days later I took off and we had a Girl's Day! And it was a really special day and brought me back to what matters. Your post helped affirm that. THanks :)

Glad Casey is ok. I can't even imagine how you or all those poor other families there were feeling. God bless.

You do so much, too, remember to give yourself a break. Merry CHristmas to you all!

Anonymous said...

Ok - this post was great. I'm glad Casey is okay. And, thank you for your comment on my post. It made me feel much better. Parenthood is a constant reminder of how precious life is and how quickly your blessing could change. I wish you a HAPPY 2008.