You know you’re too busy when you find yourself gritting your teeth and telling yourself, “if I can just make it through [fill in the blank: today, or this week, or this month or this year], things will ease up” and you realize you’ve been telling yourself that too often lately. Getting through one crunch time or crisis merely frees you up just in time for the next one.
I lost the last two weeks to busy-ness. It is the busy season for my “extra-curricular” activities: every year I juggle the demands of co-coordinating our annual school supply giveaway while continuing to oversee our summer-long VBS at church. I know going into summer that this particular crunch time will hit. But this year, I piled on a few more projects to my already-overflowing plate, and I found myself swamped. I went into overdrive, fueled by adrenaline and reacting instinctively to everything that crossed my path: knock out this task, then that one and the umpteen ones after those. Whirl around just in time to keep another to-do from sneaking up behind me. In the last few weeks, I’ve had one precious night when I sat in a rocker on my porch for a few minutes and watched the horses across the road. Every other day has been go-go-go from before dawn until I’ve burned a little midnight oil before collapsing into sleep for a few hours.
These last few weeks have reminded me of what life was like when I worked 70-80 hour weeks at a downtown office, and traveled every few weeks. Even then, my pace was nothing compared to some of the road warriors I worked with, but it was grueling nonetheless. I’ve been reminded of the toll it takes on your mind, body and spirit to work those kind of hours, day in and day out.
I admire those who can do it without complaint, week in and out, year after year. But I have no desire to return to that grindstone, at least not to that degree. I have learned that I may be highly productive under those conditions, but it exacts a toll on my psyche that takes longer to re-charge with every passing year. Maybe I’ve just gotten soft and lazy, but I find I need downtime to think, pray, and just be, in order to be my best. And I suspect all those who keep up that sort of pace need the downtime, too – they just don’t have time to stop and realize what they are missing while they scurry around trying to make sure they don’t miss anything.
This week’s schedule is much like the last two: tonight I have the pleasure of hosting our monthly Bunco group and raising a little money for our school supply drive. Another night this week will be spent researching some software we need. Later this week, I will spend an evening counting school supplies, and another evening is reserved for an education meeting. The other nights will be devoted to editing lesson plans and communicating with other volunteers.
And the week after this one looks like more of the same. I’m not going to delude myself into thinking that if I can just make it through this week and next, things will ease up; the calendar shows another month-size block that will be chock-full, especially once canning and preserving kick in. But even in the midst of all the hustle and bustle, I’m also going to carve out some time for my brain to stop whirling at breakneck speed, and for my body to be still.
Because sometimes doing nothing is really something.