When our governor decided open the state my first reaction was, “Not yet! I haven’t cleaned the garage. The puzzle isn’t complete. I need to finish my book!” All the things I haven’t accomplished rose to my mind.
I am one of those people who wakes up with a to-do list. I can’t help it. It is why I have insomnia. I wake up in the night and the list starts running through my head, and if I am not marking things off, I cannot relax. It has taken years for me to embrace the way I am wired and not consider it a curse.
Being shut in at home, during a pandemic, has been a bit of a dream for me. My usual list is confined to things I can do around the house. That combined with the time to actually do the things on it, has helped the stir-crazy considerably for me. I have accomplished a lot. Yet, I still struggle because I haven’t completed my list…but I never complete my list, just ask my husband.
And, over time, my thoughts spiral into unhealthy places. What if I get this virus? What if my immune compromised self, thanks to previous chemo treatments, is exposed and I go to the hospital never to return? My children will have to go through my garage! I don’t wish that on anyone! Who will finish the things I have left undone? I know it’s a morbid thought, but Cancerland taught me there are no guarantees. My life needs to be ordered, and I am failing at getting it organized.
How many of us are the same way? We beat ourselves up for not doing enough. We feel we should have been more productive. There is always more we could be doing. It is the not-good-enough complex and it eats us alive. We are the doers. The Marthas, not the Marys. We are action oriented.
I am here to tell you, we need to give ourselves some grace. If we rest instead of renovating our houses, it doesn’t mean we are lazy. We are in the middle of a global crisis. Our future is uncertain. This is traumatic. It is okay to admit that. It is okay to do a bit of self-care and not create Biltmore gardens in our front yard. Napping is good for you. Spending time with your kids is healthy. Resting is okay. It fends off the worry for those of us who have lost our jobs. It pushes back the anxiety for those of us who have been working non-stop.
We do not have a crystal ball. We do not know the future. We have never known. It’s just now, we realize how much we expected to. The time we have been closed in is a gift. You might not see it that way, but it is. Yes, we have done some projects and some cleaning, but that isn’t what I am talking about.
It has been a time to take stock. Unloading our hearts of excess junk is more important than cleaning the garage. Putting together the pieces of our lives is more important than completing a puzzle. Revising our story is better than reading a book. Spending time soaking in what God is saying is more significant than sharing our opinions.
These things are not a waste of time. They are the point of the gift. When was the last time you had unscheduled time at your disposal just to be? The bigger question is what are you using it for? I don’t want to come out of this season without a new perspective. I could easily binge watch Netflix, play video games, and eat myself silly, but I don’t want to waste the wait. Instead, I want to take some things from this time into my future.
I want new insights. I want more real connection and less surface level. I want more deep conversations. I want more faith and less fear. I want to know how to trust, even in hard times. I want less clutter and more clarity. I want wholeness. I want healing. I want to be a Mary.
These are the gifts found in the wait. I don’t want to miss them, and it would be so easy to do if I focus on my to-do list or if getting back to ‘normal’ is my goal. If I am working hard to be productive, I might miss the gift of time we have been given.
I don’t want to go back to ‘normal’. God is giving new wineskins to hold the new wine. Things will not look the same after this is over and honestly, they shouldn’t. If we take this time as the gift it is, and use it for our inner health, we will find new ways of being. Don’t waste the wait.