Lately, I have been wanting to put things in order. Let's be clear, I am definitely not the neatest person in the world (it's that right-brained creative side of me) but I am also not the messiest. But the events of the last six months or more have sent me on a tailspin.
My mom was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer in April. Two key employees left my department within the space of four months which left me with only one other employee. My husband and I travel often. Sometimes he is gone for a few days one week, then I am gone the next. Back to back. All year long. I was involved in a small group every two weeks that I taught. Volunteering as the "room mom" for Zach's class left me party planning for every major holiday. For fourth graders. I don't DO that very well, I plan work events that don't involved cupcakes. I was also teaching a four-year old Sunday School class every other week. My desk at work became buried under piles of manuscripts and to do lists. The house seemed to have corners and dark closets that multiplied with stockpiles of stuff, like a squirrel getting ready for winter.
And it all began to leave me breathless. So, I stopped. Cold turkey. I *un*volunteered for the Sunday School class. I resigned from the small group leadership...and actually the group itself. I will only show up to Zach's class on party day to support him and help out as needed. But, thank God, I don't have to figure out the games anymore! In a frenzy, I cleaned the desk. People were pointing and looking at me as if I was some zoo creature they had never seen. I've organized more piles for Goodwill than I care to count and am cleaning parts of the house like a mad woman. I've taken time for myself and am rebuilding a wardrobe that I love. And I bought red shoes. At work, I've hired two wonderful women that, I swear, will change the world.
Sure, there are some things that won't change. My mom still has cancer, although she is much improved and there are very positive signs that the cancer is in a managed state. Dan and I still travel, but I am making plans for scheduling date nights on the calendar, even if it's for a month from now. Life is chaotic. There are responsibilities and bills to pay and hobbies we want to enjoy and guilt we face and pain that we don't understand. But in the whirling dervish of our lives, we need to find that center again. That core of who we are.
In the pulling back, we can refocus. We can remind ourselves that we are individuals with needs. That life is too short to ignore what matters most. That it's okay to make time to stop and play the wii with a son who is now ten and going to middle school next year. It's okay to dig out that passion for writing, dust it off and devote time to it. It's okay to sit with your husband on the couch during Monday Night Football and laugh at his antics, secretly enjoying the fact that you are perfect for each other. It's okay to put aside time to create for fun. It's okay to become crazily fixated on taking photos again for the art of it. It's okay to begin running because you feel amazing when you are done.
And it's more than okay to be able to pray with a freedom that comes from knowing that you have done what you needed to do. It feels so good.