Sticky notes anywhere we will notice them, planners with color coded blocks of time, reminder apps on our phone. Everyone has a system. A way to keep track of it all. Sometimes I even try to keep track of it all in my head. But, wow! That never seems to work out well! I usually end up doing things like getting halfway home from running errands only to be reminded by a text that I forgot to pick up my son from youth group. Yeah, that one was especially embarrassing, and is in my very recent past. It seems that as my kids hit the teen years, we are finding a whole new level of busy that I didn’t even know existed. I don’t know if I am going to survive being taxi-mom. However, I do know one thing that will help me get through it all. It is actually quite simple, really. I just don’t do it enough.
A few weeks ago I spontaneously found myself without kids for FOUR HOURS. This was not on the plan, but it sort of just fell in my lap…thanks to a very dear friend. I started to prioritize the endless list in my head as I headed home in my empty car. But as I drove down the road on this beautiful, sunny, Florida day another thought started to form in my mind. What if the list waited, I turned the opposite direction, and took some time to put my toes in the sand? It is the end of February for crying out loud. I live in Florida and I had not yet been to the beach at all in 2016. It was time. And as I turned my car toward the ocean, a calm came over me and a smile crept up on my face. I was about to learn what was missing from my list.
The sand was warm, the sun shone on my face, and the sound of the waves brought peace to my soul. I walked along slowly taking it all in. I had my phone with me and began to take pictures, capturing this moment of clarity. I began to see everything in clear focus. Life is busy, yes, but while life is happening, this peaceful place is here all the time waiting to be enjoyed.
I saw a man-o-war glistening in the wet sand,
I saw pretty pink chairs just begging to have their picture taken,
I saw birds in flight, but it seemed effortless for them.
All they had to do was hold out their wings, the wind did the rest. As I breathed it all in, I realized that my focus had become so narrow. I wanted to be like those birds. Floating on the wind in, what seemed, an effortless flight. It is about that moment that I realized what had been missing from my list.
PERSPECTIVE. The one thing that keeps it all from swallowing me up.
When I broaden my perspective things that I thought were important begin to fall away and sometimes even get erased from the list. Sorting piles, never-ending organizing, cleaning that really only stays that way for about five minutes. Are those things really so important? What kinds of things am I going to be proud of at the end of the day? That I cleaned the pantry or that I was clear-headed enough to see a look on my kid’s face and know that they needed to talk. And better yet, be patient, put it all aside, and actually have that talk.
When I watched those birds, who where solely dependent on the wind for their flight, I was reminded that the Lord should be that wind for me. I often try to fly by my own power, but quickly find out it simply doesn’t work like that. I’m often running on empty and have nothing left to give when it is needed the most. But when I stretch out my arms and let His infinite, life-giving breeze carry me, I see it all from above, through His eyes, His perspective. It is there that I am reminded to let go, breathe, and let Him carry me to the places He has carved out, just for me. It is there that I find my eternal perspective.