I do this because something has happened within my world that I think strikes to the heart of one of the most challenging issues as parents - namely, to fully grasp the present. Although I have touched on this issue in previous writings, this one will take a bit of a different look, by way of a different eye, at what we miss by being busy.
Our days are defined by activities, are they not? In fact, most would say that it's our activity that make us productive people. I'm not denying that here. What I am presenting is the idea that when our activity prevents us from seeing the most important parts of life then, in my opinion, we're too active.
Ruth Lindberg is a friend of mine. Ruth is in her early 30's, is married to her husband Doug, works as a medical missionary in Nepal, and is mother to seven year old daughter Maddie and three year old James. Ruth and Doug returned to the US for a year long furlough and she began having abdominal pain. Doug took her to the ER and she was found to have stage 4 cancer throughout her abdominal cavity. She is a few weeks into treatment for her still undiagnosed type of cancer and is struggling with fatigue and the other physical and psychological effects of her treatment.
She recently wrote in her online Caring Bridge journal:
"Today Doug and I got to keep the kids with us all day (save a few hours in the afternoon when Maddie went to school), which was such a treat. Just sitting with James at lunch, watching him eat, telling him how much I loved him - those were such joy-filled moments. I don't know what tomorrow holds, but I can be thankful for today. I got to be home today and felt well enough to sit at the kitchen table with my son and share a meal, and that was wonderful."
What a beautiful private 'everyday' moment. And what perspective she offers to all of us on noticing what is really important - time shared with the people who are closest to us. All of us have multiple moments like this in a day. Do you notice them? Or, are we too busy rushing around to the next commitment? Are we so overextended that we don't even have time to create such moments?
If not, shame on us. For those in this category will no doubt find that 'looking to tomorrow' will be the thief that stole your todays. My hope and prayer for all of us is that we can become more aware of the beauty of those around us and more intentional about taking the time to enjoy them and telling them so.
What kind of a change might it make in your life? Why not try it for a few weeks and see. Enjoy.