One hand full of rest is better than two fists full of labor and striving after wind. – Ecclesiastes 4:6
Right about now the outdoor soccer tsunami officially crests over our calendar, and we become helpless little crustaceans, tossed every which way by the soccer tide until it subsides again in June. “You can do anything for 6 weeks,” a mom once comforted me, in referring to the outdoor season (which comes in spring and fall each year). I love to watch my boys play soccer. Good thing. 2 boys, plus 2 teams each, equals spectating in lieu of a part-time job. Even Bob and I play on an adult league during the “off season.” “Off” doesn’t mean “off” as in “not on.” “Off” now literally means “low gear” or soccer 3 days a week as opposed to 7. I have a friend with 4 of her 5 kids playing soccer. She has 7 games to watch this Saturday. 7! That’s possible because, like us, her kids play both club and travel. This post looks more like a math lesson, and anyone who knows me knows I’m no good at math. Don’t take this to be a lament about the soccer tsunami. We mostly enjoy it. Somehow it’s become sinful to be too busy in some circles and in other circles, lazy to be not-busy-enough. So we hopscotch in and out of those circles, alternately trying to slow down and savor a moment with the kids or step on the gas because… well, the game started ten minutes ago and we’re late! So the times when we are speeding are in response to an external schedule imposed on us (by our own choices). The times we choose to slow down are self-directed or are self-preserving responses to the insanity of the previous choices we made to schedule ourselves too much in the first place. Once the tsunami passes, we’ll be looking around us asking, what do we do now? And we’ll have to adjust to the freedom of unscheduled time. We’ll have one hand full of rest… in about 5 weeks.
In February and other short months I get a break from that perfect woman, the Proverbs 31 woman who likes to taunt me with her godly perfection. You know what bothers me about her? She wakes up while it’s still dark outside, and she doesn’t even live in Alaska. Is that a requirement for excellence? Well I’m out then. Today the cat woke me at 8:50 with his low humming purr and the pong of his wet nose oscillating against my face as if I’m some sort of horizontal scratching post. Were it not for my kitty alarm I’d still be “getting beautiful,” as we say in our house. The Proverbs 31 superwoman gets up early “to give portions to her maidens.” I figure my maidens, had I any, would have starved to death long ago. But no! On further study of that word “portions,” it seems that she gives jobs to her maidens first thing in the morning; she’s giving them their portion of the work. Just think of what I could get done with a horde of maidens to do my bidding… So why wake up so early with all those helpers? It takes more forethought and is more risky than just doing a job myself. Take the cat’s puked-up furball that’s stuck to the carpet. Cleaning it isn’t rocket science. But if it doesn’t get done and done right I know I’m going to have a memorial of that half-done chore until we buy new carpet in 20 years (I speak from experience, unfortunately). So I weigh one risk against another. If I keep doing the chores meant for my proverbial maidens, I’ll never get ahead, and they’ll never learn responsibility. If I assign them a portion of the work, but don’t oversee it, I’ll have a sloppy brown stain in the middle of my living room carpet. That’s where the waking early comes in I guess. Good thing I have a cat.
In the first post I ever made to this blog (Jan 6) I said that my first act of obedience to God each day was not to hit the snooze button. As I write today I have the feeling He wants me to remember that.