Yesterday was busy.
Yesterday has been busy for quite some time now.
Maybe you’ve guessed that. Maybe yesterday has been busy for you too for quite some time. The winter lull of schedules that never really happened and the swift pace of life in springtime. We’ve got friends and family and visits and excursions. We’ve got school almost over and summer almost here and vacations looming just over the horizon. We’ve got appointments and meetings and the never-ending stream of big decisions to make. (We’ve got the feeling that I’m free-writing my to-do list for you right now). I’ve got work. Lots of work. And projects. So many projects. It makes the part of me that always dreamed of being a successful freelance writer dance with glee. This is good, so good. It’s working.
But, you know, a day like yesterday, and yesterday’s yesterday, used to send me quivering. I’d be literally vibrating now with the excitement but also the anxiety and stress of it all. I’d be snapping and feeling like I’ve let my family life slide in this time of so much going on. I’d be worried about the sustainability of our schedules and this life and how do I make it all work?
But yesterday, I was ok. Today I am ok.
On my way home from a meeting the other day, I listened to an interview with Shauna Niequist. She was talking about her new book (officially added to my ever-growing list of books I want to read. Bread & Wine is sitting on my shelf too, waiting for me). In the podcast (and in the book as well, I’m sure) she said, “It is better to be with than to do for.”
It is better to be with than to do for. It’s just a collection of words that could be said and let to swiftly disperse into the air. They sound so nice and it doesn’t take a lot of thought to nod your head, yes, that is true. Honestly, it’s one of those phrases that I will often just nod my head thinking, yes, that exactly, that is what I needed to hear. But in the next second I typically move on with my busy life, forgetting the nugget of wisdom in the chaos of toddlers screaming beneath loud re-tellings of a kindergartner’s day. I actively seek out these nuggets all day long and regularly fail to grasp them long enough for them to make the impact that they need to.
But not yesterday.
Yesterday I walked out of my office after my last meeting of the day and there was chaos. Kids having just arrived home running and shouting and vying for my attention. Husband making dinner and asking questions about ingredients. My own mind still swirling with the list of to-do’s I’d gathered in the meeting, bits of colleague’s feedback floating around. And suddenly, Shauna’s words passed through my heart and mind.
It is better to be with than to do for. It is better to be with. Be with.
And so, I was with. I sat on the floor and let my little boy curl into my lap to play with his toys. I dutifully stood next to my daughter to dress Cinderella and Prince Charming for the ball. I sat on the couch and played hangman until Daddy capped off the game with ‘bedtime’ as the word and we all made our way upstairs. I did a little for too, of course. This season of motherhood is still primarily do for with dinners to make and baths to give and things that rest on shelves too high for little people. There has to be more than a little do for in my life right now.
But perhaps the do for should never come at the expense of the be with.
Linking up with one word.