It’s almost 4:30pm, which is that inevitable time of day when I suddenly remember that I should probably make dinner. Or at the very least start thinking about what I could make. Or something.
This is why we eat so much spaghetti.
The day has been lazy and wonderful- a trip to the library and the park in the brisk fall morning air. A nap that is going on three and a half hours.
I’ve been wandering around the house today, attempting to get things in order for our guests who are arriving tomorrow. As I move from room to room, straightening and making mental notes of things I don’t have the motivation to do today but will most definitely have the motivation to do tomorrow because it is the very last possible day to do them before our friends get here, I have been in nearly constant thought about my purpose here on this earth.
As a stay at home mother to one little boy who is pretty easy breezy for the most part, I often feel like I’m not doing enough. Like my life doesn’t have any purpose unless I’m running around at a million miles an hour wanting to pull my hair out. And the question I keep returning to is this:
Does a full calendar equal a full life?
The obvious answer, I’m sure all would agree, is NO. But obvious answers are often the most difficult to accept. It is true that on the rare day that I am really busy doing this or that, I feel more alive. I feel good at the end of the day. I feel like I’ve accomplished something and I take pleasure in declaring how utterly tired I am to my husband who works hard day after day- like, see? I was busy today and now I have a valid reason to be so tired too! See?
And as harmless as this would all seem, I can’t help but be troubled by it to some degree. Because if I am truly feeling like my life has more purpose when I’m running around being busy all day, aren’t I answering my previous question with a heartfelt YES? I may claim that a busy life doesn’t make a purposeful one, but deep down I think I’ve been trained to believe otherwise.
Has anyone else noticed how our society doesn’t seem to value REST? True rest? The rest that does absolutely nothing all day? Sabbath rest? Rest that doesn’t get up to clean the house or rest that doesn’t require some form of entertainment to pass the hours? God repeatedly tells us to rest. Because he knows us.
So, here’s a new question to ask myself:
Do I believe that God shows His love for me by how much he uses me? Because if I do believe that (and I most certainly do at this point), I am way off base. My worth doesn’t come from ink markings in a day planner. The seasons of silence and inactivity in life are just as important as the busy ones. It is during those times God often focuses on relationship and intimacy with Him. (Ummm, super-mega important, no?)
I was outside earlier today trimming my rose bushes and thinking about all of this stuff. Trimming rose bushes is a task that the world might not think has much “purpose” or “worth” in, but I was enjoying myself immensely. I was stepping back to contemplate which branch I should prune next, when I heard the crunch of a dry leaf behind me. I turned to see a woman standing there who had deep scars and markings covering the lower half of her face. I was startled by her presence; I didn’t know how long she’d been standing there. As she saw me turn to look at her, she took a few steps closer. I took a few steps towards her as well until we met in the middle of my lawn with a smile and a handshake.
She told me that she was my neighbor. The neighbor that I’d never met or even seen. She apologized for taking so long to introduce herself and welcome us to the neighborhood. She’d just finished another round of extensive chemotherapy and had been unable to do much for some time. The lower left portion of her face was sunken in and the fresh red scars traveled down her neck as well where her lymph nodes had been removed. She told me that she’d battled eight different kinds of cancer over the last fifteen years. She had some trouble speaking- she was missing her upper and lower teeth in the left side of her mouth.
We talked for awhile about little things- about how cute Ezra was and how we both enjoyed the neighborhood so much. She told me how her husband of 40 years decided a couple of years ago that he didn’t want to be married anymore and filed for divorce. She said he’d been going through an identity crisis, but how recently he’s been coming back around again and has been a tremendous help to her in her time of illness. She told me how she had one daughter, but there was pain in her eyes as she spoke of her.
She lives alone.
I told her I was so very glad to meet her, and that I was around during the days if she ever needed anything at all- that Chris and I would absolutely love to help her in anyway we could. She asked us to pray for her. I told her that we certainly would, and she seemed comforted by this. I felt God stirring my heart while I was speaking to her.
God is amazing. And when I finally take the time to PAUSE and stop freaking out about what I should be doing or not doing and how much I think He’s using me or not using me and why or why not that might be, He finally gets a chance to speak to me in the simplest yet most profound ways. Today I felt like he told me, “Just be a neighbor.” Simple, yet huge.