The Blessings of Being Busy
The other day, someone looked at my planner and said, “Man, you’re busy.” She was absolutely right. On Mondays and Wednesdays, my daughter Riley has dance practice. Every day after school, my son, Alex, has track practice. We’re responsible for picking up on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Oh, and let’s not forget Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, play practice, and indoor soccer. Yeah, busy is a good word for my life.
For the longest time, I wore my schedule like a weighted belt. I was busy and let everyone know how miserable I was about it. I would listen to older parents say, “You’ll miss this one day,” and then roll my eyes. Easy for them to say, I would think. Their kids are grown. They’re not spending hours in the car, running kids all over God’s green earth.
That’s how I used to think—before my kids started growing up faster than I could keep up.
Bring on the Busy
These days, I’m OK with being busy. I’m OK with it because I know that one day it will all come to a screeching halt, and I’m going to miss it. I know because I’m watching it happen right now.
At the end of this month, my oldest daughter, Maddie, will be graduating from high school. And while I know it sounds cliché, it really does feel as if she was just in kindergarten yesterday. When she gets that diploma, she takes one more step away from her father and me toward her future.
It’s not as if this is just suddenly coming to light, though. I’ve seen it playing out since she got her driver’s license and no longer needed rides everywhere. Gone were the days of long talks in the car on the way to her soccer games.
Then she got her part-time job, and her place at the dinner table became empty more often than not. Any family time we wanted to spend together needed to be planned enough in advance that it gave her time to request off.
I see Alex . . . and Riley . . . and then Kacey heading down the same pathway. So, yes, I want to be busy, because doing so allows me time with my kids that will all too soon slip away.
Calm amid the Storm
Having said that, though, there are times when it all feels too much, when I can’t see the blessings in my crazy life. For instance, I wasn’t feeling very blessed recently when Riley had a dance competition an hour away and, as we went to park, she informed me she had forgotten her costumes. I had to drive back home to retrieve the costumes and back again to the competition.
Those are the times when I need to step off the merry-go-round of life and be still. For it is only then that I’m able to refocus on my blessings. Sometimes it’s as simple as saying a quick prayer for patience or perspective, as I did that day during the long car ride home and back to the competition.
Whatever the means, a brief pause is all I need in the midst of my busy, blessed life.
Take a Faith Break
Here are some suggestions for staying connected with your faith, even when you’re busy.
Arrive at Mass five minutes early. Use that time to just breathe, relax, and mentally prepare yourself for Mass. Before you get out of bed in the morning, say a quick prayer that you will see the blessings in all that you do that day. Each night, before you go to bed, stop and think of three things that happened that day for which you are grateful.
If you’re a few minutes early to pick up your car pool, use that time to say a few prayers—either for those in need or in thanksgiving for the blessings of your children and their activities.