Monday, June 21, 2010

When busy meets slow

I suppose this could be called "further ponderings of Sunday Afternoon Tea"... either that or proof we are an Equal Opportunity Ponderer.  Yesterday's musings were about circumstances in our life bringing us to living a life which is... slower.

As I wrote it, I was thinking of all the people I know who read this blog who have no options other than a busy life... those who are called to full time work and ministry.  Thus... today's further ponderings.

I've been remembering those times in my life when there were seasons of crazy busy. We all have had them... whether with a full time job, school schedules, athletics, volunteer and church work, taking care of babies, being a caregiver for one who is ill, farmers and gardeners in spring through fall... you get the idea.

It was during my corporate years that I learned the necessity of balance in my life.  Since I love to cook, my only hobby I took time for was gourmet cooking.  It may sound strange but on the weekend, I enjoyed spending hours cooking.  I relaxed as I was alone in the kitchen (my work always involved being surrounded by lots of people) and my family appreciated the yummy results... truly a win-win situation.  :)

Stephanie had a friend with a busy professional schedule.  Her refuge was her sewing room in her home.  Although I didn't receive the sewing gene (nether did my mother or daughter), I can understand how the process would take one's mind away from that part of their life for which they had little control.  Slow balanced busy...

When we spend too much time on the gerbil wheel of life, never having time in our days for anything which requires us to slow down and ponder, we end up years down the road looking back and wondering where the time went. 

My eventual decision to leave the corporate life came on a business trip to San Francisco, as I looked at the beauty around me.  Suddenly I knew I did not want to share my life with co-workers... but with my husband and daughter... no matter how much I enjoyed my work.

Expectations run high in our society.  Yes, there are those who are called to be salt and light in the workforce but to what extent do we fill our days with work and never slow down to "stop and smell the roses"... or knit a scarf, arrange flowers, listen to music, read a book for recreation, really talk to a child, or enjoy an hour on the deck with a cup of tea and a devotional.

I believe this is what Swenson is talking about in his wonderful book called Margin (highly recommended).  In past generations, people were forced to slow down as much was done by hand.  The busy mother spent hours preparing a meal and sewing clothing by hand (later with that wonderful invention, the sewing machine).  Unless one was wealthy, this was the way families were clothed and fed.

Farmers planted seed by hand and pruned fruit trees one branch at a time.  Society depended on craftsmen and women whose work came... slowly.  Slowing down was not the decision it is today, it was a way of life.

So, why are these ponderings so important to me right now that I spend two days writing about them?  Because I'm seeing so many families who don't realize they have hopped on society's electronic treadmill with the gears set to fast.  They spend their twenty-four hours each day without really living their days.  They do not realize that a full calendar does not equal success in life.

It honestly does not seem like much time has gone by since I brought my newborn daughter home from the hospital but I look back now as a grandmother.  Life passes quickly but we live it one day and one decision at a time.  My prayer is we all know the difference between pure gold and fools gold... and choose life.

Picture:  Globe basil in my garden


Lisa in Texas = ) said...

What a powerful post. It is so true we need to choose life. Not fall for all the fool's gold out there.
And I think your basil is awesome -I have never seen anything like it before.
Lisa :O)

Anonymous said...

WE want to get off more of the treadmill too...mostly that affects hubby as he is out working a job...but we only get this one little life...and it is not the crazy times that matter so is those special times with loved ones that do count!!

Vee said...

This will take me awhile to get my mind around. As one who has looked up and wondered where the time went or has said, "What? I don't remember that" I know that choosing life is very important. Essential. Thanks for always giving food for thought.

Anonymous said...

Great post, Brenda. Did you ever wonder if the stress of our busy schedules, and the schedules imposed on our kids is partly responsible for the apparent increase in autoimmune illnesses? Think how many more kids have asthma and allergies these days. When I was an asthmatic little girl, I did not know one other child with allergies; now there's at least one kid with a prescription inhaler in every class. A school nurse told me that. I read that lack of sleep leads to high blood pressure. Think how many people don't get enough sleep because of their work schedule or worries. The fast paced life is necessary sometimes, but we can often make other choices, and maybe it's time we do. Thanks for sharing the message.

It's good to see you posting again. You must be feeling a little better! As my lovely Polish neighbor says, "Thanks God."

By the way, the bees have finally discovered my bean patch. JOY!!!
Isn't that a silly thing to get excited about? But I am thrilled. I love bees. And beans.
Please feel free to shorten this message or to read it without posting it. It's way too long.

D in NY

Anonymous said...

I've spent the last 22+ years home schooling my children, and I still look up and wonder where the time has gone. Seems like everyone I know is on a fast track. How can you slow this thing down?!? Good post.

Susan said...

Thank you for putting your ponderings into words, captured in your blog, so that I can in turn ponder ...

Jan said...

I have read "Margin" and learned from it. As I have grown older I have really enjoyed the slowing down. Life is happening on much slower terms and still most everything gets done.

The Working Home Keeper said...

Great post Brenda! In this season of life, I work full-time. But purposefully decided to take a position within my company that would allow me to keep my family and home life as my priority.

Mary Ellen

Heather L. said...

Such a great post. Cooking and handsewing/knitting definitely are my refuge. Last week was crazy with meals fed to 31 different guests. This week I've stepped off the gerbil wheel :) and am trying to enjoy summer with the kids. Balance is often hard.

Loved your basil. Mine is doing well too. And I'm contemplating a garden addition. :)

Kelly said...

This is a wonderful post! I wholeheartedly agree. I love being home with my children and having the steady balanced slow way of living caring for my home and my children. And I, too, thoroughly enjoy cooking and baking, as well as sewing and home educating my children. It's all such a blessing!

Pam@FarmtoCottagetoShore said...

Thank you so much for your post. I have been feeling this way also for many months and trying everyday to live in the present and accept things that slow me down(standing in line, traffic,my computer taking its sweet time) as a gift from God, a time to step back reflect, and realize that I have never been happier in my life, and the hardships I am currently facing can not change that.

Mrs. Staggs said...

Hi Brenda,

This is a subject very close to my heart, and I think about it daily. I've been very fortunate to have the choice to stay home and create a slower way of life for my family, as much as one can, depending on outside circumstances. I'm grateful that my husband enjoys his work, and that we can live comfortably on one salary. Often, when my son was growing up, other moms would tell me they wished they could do what I did. I could never seem to gently make them see, that so much of what made it possible for me to stay home, was doing without many of the "things" they thought were necessary. I didn't buy lots of clothes, or a new car every couple of years, those sorts of things. So much of living with less, is about having more freedom, I think, to create a life.

Shan said...

Dearest Brenda,

This post is so wonderful...It really spoke to my heart!

Glad you are starting to recover...slow and steady!

Yours so kindredly,
Honey Hill Farm