I’m sitting at the kitchen table. Grace and Matt are gone for the day, and I’m home with two crabby sons: Noah is crabby because he has strep; Jesse is crabby because he’s three. To compound things, we probably pushed them too hard this weekend. Matt and I both suffer from the same disease – the one marked by lack of a shut-off valve. Matt’s plagued more than I am because my body generally gives out before his, but both of us – we don’t rest on the weekends. We run. Karate, gymnastics, physical therapy for Noah, Home Depot, cleaning the barn, organizing more closets and more shelves, entertaining, running, running, running.
The snow falling outside today is small and light, like flour let loose from a canister. And it falls slowly. It falls in such a way that I long for slow-ness myself. The Lord is here with me at the table. I’m sure He is smiling at that comparison.
“I don’t know how to slow down, Lord.”
“I know. I made you, remember? I know your struggles. Why are you running so hard?”
“Because there is so much to do, and so little time. There is never enough time.”
“There is always enough time.”
“But Lord, my list! There are so many things on it. Mundane things, like laundry and cleaning and errands. And pressing things, like taking care of the children and the animals, and paying bills, and buying groceries. And then there are the things I want to do – my riding, Lord. And my writing. But sometimes I’m so overwhelmed by it all that I just really want to go to sleep!”
“So sleep. Come to me, you who are weary and carrying so many heavy burdens, and I will give you the rest you need.” (Matthew 11:28)
“But when I do that, I wake up to even MORE things to do! Lord, why didn’t you make a 36 hour day?”
“Because your body couldn’t handle it. At the end of this perfect day I’ve created, you are forced to sleep. You must stop what you’re doing, and rest. Even I rested, you know. And I told the apostles to do the same (Mark 6:31) … Have you noticed the snow?”
I drop my head. I think I know what He’s going to say.
“Sometimes there is much snow. But sometimes, it is merely a few light flakes, quiet and pretty enough for a dusting, and nothing more. It may be heavy and wet, or dry and airy, falling faster, or slower. It moves as it must, for the purpose to which it’s intended, and what the clouds themselves contain. Snow is not always a blizzard, my child. And neither can you pour yourself out so completely or quickly all the time. There will be nothing left of you for the most worthwhile pursuits if you shake out all you have until you collapse.”
Noah is coughing in the family room, and telling me his stomach hurts. His fever is back, and I get up to medicate him, and bring him more water. His sicknesses are particularly pathetic. He moans and screams in pain, particularly intolerant to it. This is consistent with studies indicating those with Autistic Spectrum Disorder have a hyper/hypo sensitivity to stimuli i.e., above average range of feeling or super-sensitivity, first written about in 1949 by Bergman and Escalona. (Contrast this with my daughter, who sliced her foot open on a beach rock in Virginia, and couldn’t wait to tell everyone about it – refusing pain meds and waving to people from her wheelchair at the airport on the way back home like the Queen of England).
I return to my seat and my coffee in the kitchen, my conversation with the Lord.
“You will finish what you need to, when the time is right.”
“WHEN the time is right? Couldn’t I just get it all finished and be DONE? That way I can rest!”
I can hear Him laughing. “And miss what I’m trying to teach you about prioritizing and resting now?”
“Okay. I give. Two things on my list today, and no more.”
“Just one, child.” He looks into the family room where the boys are watching tv, comatose under their blankets. “They need you right now. I willed Noah’s sickness for reasons you do not know, but today, it is so that you yourself might slow down and just be with them.”
“Whatever’s left on your list, you can finish later. When there’s time.”