My daughter is two and we still have our daily mid-morning routine of laying her down for a nap. The process is similar from day to day. She grows crabby, rubs her eyes, runs away howling, searches for her blanket, her bottle (the only one remaining in our house, which she is only allowed to have when laying down to sleep.)
As she struggles against me, as I smooth her soft blankets over her and draw the curtains closed, as we together do our sing-song conversation of no, Mama…yes, Evaline, as I kneel beside her, holding her still, coaxing her to let go of all of the what-if’s – what could she miss? What wonder will she not see? Was that a car passing by? Did the kids just start playing a game? Will they watch a movie – without her!? As she squirms and as I soothe her through this daily, I envy her.
And I wonder.
How often am I running ragged, rubbing my eyes while editing pictures, snapping at my children who want/need/can’t-live-without their one-hundredth snack of the day, and who ask for it RIGHT as I am just sitting down for the first time in two hours.
And I wonder.
How different I might approach life, if rather than distracting myself in all of the blessings I find daily at my fingertips, if instead of keeping myself busy with all of the busyness of life, what if I chose to quiet myself? To rest.
What if days, like yesterday, when I found myself overwhelmed with life, even in good and wonderful ways, what if I chose stillness over chaos?
What if, while feeling my heart racing from one busy-thing to the next happy distraction, instead of jumping on the treadmill to try and run it out of me, what if I simply let myself lay down?
What if rather than indulging my own inner voice (which lately sounds more like a toddler-spinning in a disco – Ooh! Shiny! Music! Lights! Weeee!) What if I actually listened for the still small one, the voice seeking to give me peace?
Because there is, if I let myself listen, a calming voice, one that quiets my anxieties and can settle me to rest so that I can have strength to tackle every good task set before me (perhaps without even snapping at my children when they come banging on the bathroom door demanding cheese sticks that they can’t open on their own.)
And I wonder.
Can I even let myself?
Can this phone-in-my-hand, lap-top-open-on-the-counter, calendar-booked-through-November, need to be everywhere, do everything, respond to everyone (Right. This. Instant.) life even be paused?
But there are plans to make, curriculum to explore, portraits to shoot, clients to meet, editing and post office runs, field trip permission slips to find, houses to hunt for, houses to prepare to sell, vacations to plan, contracts to be signed, kids to clean, dogs to feed, and the washer just finished and if I don’t change it over now, I’ll forget and have to re-wash it just to get the damp stink off!
But what if I just…