Hamsters and Roses

Hamsters and RosesI am a hamster on a wheel.  There’s just so much to do….all the time.  And things are always messy and dirty and crazy.  The kids need rides and lunches and clean clothes and homework help and instruction…..and more than an occasional hug or kiss.  My husband has expectations.  My job has expectations.  My inner dreamer has expectations and plans.  My inner planner has lists and schedules.It’s exhausting.  Listening to the voices inside my head and coming from those around me keeps me spinning until I’m dizzy.  And then, I feel guilty for being dizzy.  If I were stronger, more grounded, more capable, more organized, more….just more, then maybe I wouldn’t even get dizzy.  Maybe I could just spin forever and not get tired.  Maybe I could hear all the voices at once and multi-task successfully enough to get it all done all the time for all the people.

Or maybe I should just stop.

I’ve been blessed to be a part of an amazing little group on Facebook (shout out to my She Reads Truth peeps), and we’ve been walking through a routine of daily scripture readings.  We’re doing them in 15-day increments, and my lovely friend, Nat, asked me to lead this set – which is on the teachings of Jesus as found in the Books of the Gospel.

It was the biggest favor she could have done for me.

Sitting and looking for these readings; picking them out and facilitating our online Bible study (I use that term loosely); looking for new gems in familiar stories; and best of all, spending time in the Word, in quiet time for which I am accountable, has helped me get through my days with renewed peace and energy.

Today’s reading is in Luke 10:38-41, the story of Mary and Martha.  Two sisters who had the honor of hosting Jesus in their home.  Martha, the ultimate hostess, bustled and cooked and cleaned and served, becoming increasingly irritated at her more organic sister, Mary, sitting at the feet of Jesus, absorbing every moment, every breath in His glorious presence.  In fact, she allows herself to get so worked up that she actually admonishes Jesus for not noticing the discrepancy in their entertaining talents, and then orders Him to “tell her to give me a hand”.

Oh, sister.  You forget yourself, honey.

She just got so caught up in her duties and tasks that her irritation overcame everything else, including the joy and significance of this momentous occasion.  She actually demanded God notice her work!!  Why should the lazy sister get all the attention, after all?

Sound familiar to anyone?
Perhaps I shouldn’t judge too harshly here.  I’m starting to feel uncomfortably linked to this tale.

This story was in the forefront of my mind earlier this week, thanks to our fabulous group.  So, maybe that’s why my reaction to the opportunity I had required less of a learning curve the other day.

I was bustling around the house, as usual.  Kids were off to school, and I had scheduled my first patient later so I would have a couple of hours in the morning to take care of things before heading out.  I had the washer going, dishes loaded in the dishwasher, my computer open to e-mails and my to-do list out and ready for tackling. Then Gregg walked in and began talking.  He has some stress at work right now and needed a sounding board, which is rare.  Even so, I found myself tapping my foot and trying to look interested while re-shifting my mental lists around.

And then came the kicker.
My husband, the capable, solid, rarely-at-a-loss man I love looked me in the eyes and said, “I just really need to know what you think about this, Bec.  Because your words are important.”

Oh.  Wow.
That got my attention.
So, I stopped.
And I sat.
And I listened…..with 100% of my attention.

This changed the entire course of my day.

Gregg had a really positive reaction to my intentness.  So, I decided to apply this principle of being fully PRESENT and IN THE MOMENT;  of not being rushed or in a hurry; on putting my focus on the WHO in front of me instead of the WHAT that’s lined up for hours to come….
I listened to music in my car.
I picked up lunch and took it to my mom, stopping to visit with her instead of eating in my vehicle while dashing from errand to errand.
I sat and chatted with Emry and her friends at preschool instead of rushing her out of the door – and learned a lot in that visit.  They are strict about coloring in the lines and do not mess around when it comes to playground etiquette.
I sang songs and played 20 Questions on the way home, instead of taking calls.
We had a dear friend over for dinner, which meant lots of talking and laughing and stories.
I fully participated in Game Night, instead of bowing out early or just watching in spurts as I worked on laundry or kitchen duty.
I prayed with Drew at bedtime, and let him facilitate and add on as he saw fit, instead of wrapping him up with an impatient “amen” (he was so overjoyed, he spent three minutes listing the reasons I’m the Best Mom Ever.  Be still, my heart).
I ended that day as I had begun it, in the teachings of Jesus.

And you know what?
I went to bed at peace and settled.

When I got up the next day, life was still crazy.  Two of the three kids were sick, as was Gregg.  The timing of my work schedule was too ambitious for one person.  My to-do list was still a mile long.  I hadn’t gotten any more sleep than normal.

And I was ok.  Things were still as insane as the always are.  I was just more balanced.

When Martha temporarily lost her mind and snapped at Jesus, He answered her with the same love and wisdom He showed throughout His life.  His words rock me to the core: “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but one thing is necessary.  Mary has made the right choice, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Oh, how I know that feeling of worry and upset over many things.  There’s always something to worry about. The world is constant in its ability to upset and stress and weigh us down.  We can never run fast enough to keep up, can we?

What a relief to know we don’t have to.
He meets us where we are. His example of love and family and relationship shows us just where to focus and helps us discern the right choice.
And once we have Him, once we grasp His grace and love and mercy….it will not be taken away from us.

Solidarity, sisters. There is time to stop and smell the roses, especially when they belong to those we love.

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