Can you feel it? Life is running and you’re on a stroll. You’ve got to pick up the pace, but you don’t know how. So many things to do and not enough time to do them…
How do you keep up when you’re worn to a frazzle?
How much is really necessary in this life?
Sometimes I wonder if we don’t stop because we’re afraid to slow down. If we slow down, we might have to think. And if we think, we might start feeling uncomfortable. So we pursue. We’re on a mad pursuit to satisfy ourselves, others, or possibly…God.
I loved living in England. The bookshop opened at 8am and teatime was promptly at 10. The little restaurant downstairs baked fresh scones every morning. You know, the Brits take their tea seriously. It was a delight to watch the ladies choose a scone, cut it in perfect halves, then apply clotted cream and jam. By the time the pieces were ready, the tea had steeped. One lump or two? Tea with cream and sugar and bite-size pieces of scumptuous scones…not at all the typical coffee break we take in the States. Thirty minutes for dinner with more tea afterwards. Another break in the afternoon. Off at four and home for supper.
Not much good on the telly to watch. Most evenings were spent reading, writing, thinking.
When we returned to the States, I went into culture shock. No more teatime. No more scones. No more cream and sugar…one lump, or two? America was running, but I was still on British time. I had learned to love a slower pace.
Back in the states, I needed to teach school so Phat could pursue a seminary degree. I went from teaching sixth grade to third, making my old plans useless. I was starting from scratch once more. I’m not really sure what happened next. Did I strain my voice from talking all day? Was I worn out from the new position? Could it be a really bad case of culture shock? Maybe I was allergic to the hamster in the science corner? Whatever the cause, I lost my voice.
That was really nothing new for me. Throughout life whenever anxiety, excitement or sickness came, I could count on losing my voice. Right before a show, or recital, I would take special care (teatime with honey and lemon) not to overdo, or my voice would be gone. Being tired was cause enough for it to go. So I wasn’t too concerned until two months passed and it hadn’t cleared. After seeing a specialist, complete silence for ten days (murder!), voice therapy for weeks thereafter, yet no improvement…I was told to take sick leave for the rest of the year or risk losing my voice forever. I could not comprehend life without singing, so I took the leave and became a secretary.
The frustration of leaving teaching, knowing my body could not handle the stress, realizing I was weaker than I thought, not the tough Texan I’d pretended to be…well…counseling ensued. It was time to slow down and think. It was time to stay off my feet, type dictation, work databases, create spreadsheets…and don’t forget to get the boss his water with a lemon twist. Grrr! Counseling was, indeed, necessary.
I learned quite a bit from our time (Phat went with) in counseling. It was good to think through many issues from childhood which were affecting me as an adult. I learned I was performance-oriented and constantly felt I wasn’t measuring up. I realized I was searching for something to fill me up. I was working to please God, to make Him happy with me, to get kudos from above. If He would smile upon me, give me a hug, tell me He loved me…then…THEN…I might be able to relax.
It took many years to understand His love for me. It took many years to quit working to earn His love. It took MANY years to get to the place of relaxation I have found in Him today. But I must say, now that I feel it’s “crunch time” again…I’m not going to work myself to a frazzle. Because even if I can’t get it all done in time, He won’t be upset with me. It’s a standard I’ve placed upon myself to try and “fill me up” when in reality, He’s already done that. I need to rely upon Him for fulfillment and not the “work of my hands.” I can rest and not worry about imperfections. He is smiling and I know He loves me…no matter what.
…let’s have a cup of tea, shall we? One lump, or two?