When You’re Moving Slowly and Behind Schedule

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Just about the time I think we will avoid illness this winter, an ugly virus sneaks in the back door and hopscotches its way from family member to family member. For ten days I do nothing productive while the kids are at school except read Divergent, a book my sons have been begging me to start for months. Unless you count watching reruns of Friends and Dharma & Greg as productive. In that case, I’ve been dang near prolific.

Late last week I decided to journey my Sicky McSickersons self away from my Lazyville spot on the couch. I still didn’t feel good, but I needed to knock out a little writing. So I heated up the tea kettle, grabbed my laptop, and sat down to write. But as I sat at the kitchen table waiting for the tea kettle to boil, I couldn’t help but notice our dog, Georgie, had tracked in a solid rug of dead grass. So I decided to just real quick sweep up the grass before Georgie spread it to the four corners of the house. When I returned the broom and dustpan to their spot near the laundry room, I noticed my daughter’s swimsuit laying on the floor by the washing machine. When I stooped down to pick up the swimsuit, the tea kettle started hollering. So I slam dunked the suit into the laundry and relieved the teapot from the burner. As I poured hot water over my tea bag, I remembered the letters I needed to mail. While the tea steeped, I walked outside to deposit the envelopes in the mailbox. After coming back inside and grabbing my steaming cup, I felt plumb tuckered and settled myself back into Lazyville.

Like a mouse with a cookie, it is doubly difficult for me to focus when I’m under the weather. Not impossible, just difficult. But what is difficult-er for me to handle? The threat of feeling behind. I know some say sick days are a good opportunity to value rest, and this is probably true. But for me, sick days still feel like wasted days. And I fear that waste.

But like handling any kind of fear – no matter how small – the best way to fight it is through faith, faith that I’ll get done what I’m supposed to get done. In the meantime, I take my familiar spot on the couch with Divergent. I call a very dear friend or sister just because I want to hear her voice. And when I run out of cough medicine, I run to the store and double up on the meds, both cough medicine for me as well as flowers for the house.

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Then today arrives, and it’s all blue skies and 70. In March, y’all! If illness makes it harder for me to focus, then gorgeous weather makes it twice as easy. It’s like my brain gets a supernatural spring in its step, so I am buoyed foreword. I smile through my work, enjoying how God’s love of redemption even reaches to coughy/sneezy/sniffly sick days.

So if you find yourself behind today because of illness or something else, may you find a comfortable spot to enjoy some Dharma or Downton, whatever you fancy. And may you be able to remember that if you are being asked to slow down, He’ll help you make up the difference. He redeems time.

You just need to rest in faith – and that’s time always well spent.

Is it easy or difficult for you to rest when you’re sick?

The Truth About Who You Are

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Of the two sets of quiet that bookend each day, I write best in the hours before dawn’s early light. Today, however, my brows furrow intensely as I grasp for words that seem super glued inside my head. My usual morning chai can’t even dislodge them.

It’s then that my early riser ambles down the stairs. She comes over to hug me before stretching her long limbs over my curled up legs on the sofa. She is content to snuggle near me. In that moment when my words come slow, the feeling isn’t necessarily mutual. I really want to make progress on my article, so I try to plow on just a bit more. But soon my mind throws its hands up in the air, and I set the laptop aside to give her my attention. We talk for a bit as I finish my chai, and she wants to know what is this morning’s Olympic gold medal count. I pull the laptop back over, and we discover the United States and Russia are tied for first with 18 golds while Netherlands sits in second with 17 golds.

She sees a picture of a gold medal winner with a rounded section of his prize between his teeth.

“Why do some winners bite their medal?” she asks.

 “I’m not really sure,” I answer, shrugging my shoulders. “Maybe it’s just tradition? Maybe they saw others do it first so they think it’s the thing to do.”

“Maybe they don’t even know why they do it,” she replies sleepily while reclining back on the sofa.

It’s then a few of those words for my article break free. I lean back, reposition her legs over my own before placing my laptop on both.

I sometimes want the parts of my life to stay in their boxes, my family time to sit right here, my writing time to sit over there. But this often makes for frustrating living. Those worlds slide into each other throughout the day, like when I slice vegetables while discussing middle school issues with my son or when I prepare breakfast while quizzing my daughter on spelling words. Even intentionally focusing on one thing – or person – is a good way to tug free sticky ideas related to something else.

I can more easily accept this about the parts of my life than the people in it. I’m embarrassed to admit how often I’ve wanted to place folks into neat and tidy boxes, too.

To read more, visit here where I’m hanging with one of my favorite people – and one of the most gifted writers – on God’s green earth. Grab your favorite warm beverage treat and join us?

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