catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 8, Num 22 :: 2009.11.13 — 2009.11.26


Round and round

Life seems to keep getting faster. The merry-go-round analogy seems more apt every day. On many days, my life does feel out of control.

I have no more on my plate than anyone else. In fact, I probably have less than most, but the prevalence of the “more is better” mentality affects every facet of my life. The worst part is that most of the things I have filled my days with are good things: leading and serving in our community, working part-time so that I can be with our son most days of the week, visiting with friends, making dinner, working out, going on dates with my husband, reading and writing, and the list goes on. They’re all good things, but things that take time and create in me a sense of urgency and guilt when they aren’t getting checked off my many to-do lists lying around the house.

I know what the answer to all of this craziness is: practicing contentment. I just don’t know how to get there. In my head, I tell myself to not expect so much out of each day — that getting some laundry done, reading with my four-month old and having dinner on the table are some real accomplishments. In my head, I know that I need to focus on one thing at a time instead of twenty, to be fully present to my family in the moments that we have together, to unplug more often. In my head, I know that I have far too much stuff and that my life would be cleaner and saner without it. In my head, I know that this lifestyle of mine keeps me from experiencing transcendent moments because I am so infrequently giving a particular moment my full attention.

Even right now, as I write these things, I’m committing to lowering my expectations, to turning off my phone in the evenings, to leaving more space in my life to listen to God’s still, small voice. But I know that later on today, I’ll be right back on the merry-go-round. The number of changes needed seem so daunting. I find myself envying the Amish for their strict rules and legalistic simplicity. It would be so much easier to have a community enforcing these rules than for me to have to live according to them myself.

Lately, life has seemed to move from one crisis to the next, either in our lives or the lives of the friends and family around us. Scripture tells us to expect suffering, so I’m not surprised much at the suffering, just the ceaseless nature of it. It seems like one emergency barely subsides before the next one is upon us. I wonder if God is trying to tell us something, that our frantic paces are not sustainable and that, subsequently, more and worse crises are on their way. I feel the urgency. I just don’t know how to go about changing it.

Our son just woke up from a nap, so I brought him downstairs with me to watch me while I’m working. He is sitting here in front of me as I type with a huge smile on his face. I’m not sure how to live more contentedly. I have a feeling that, like everything else that needs to be changed, it starts with a series of very small steps and that it starts with people committing together to the long journey in front of them. For me, right now, I think I’ll set aside the laptop and focus on the miracle of my son’s delight.

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