Some days remembering to make myself breakfast is a victory.
Because life can come at you hard and fast in the mornings. And before you know it kids are already out playing in the piles of mulch in the backyard and calling for snacks when mama hasn’t even gotten around to buttering a first slice of toast. From that point on the day can wash over you like a tidal wave and it’s hard to catch breath, look around, plan a way forward.
It can become nothing more than defense all day long.
I’ve been trying to change that. I’ve climbed into this beautiful life boat that my friend Ann recommended. The “Life is Not an Emergency” dinghy. And it bobs happy on the waves and gives me a sense of perspective as I look out over the ocean of to-do’s. Now there is chance for me to steer this day and not simply survive it.
I make tea.
We South Africans turn to this every-day Cape of Good Hope for shelter from the routine. We brew calm and sweeten with sugar, tender with milk and drink in a few deep minutes of peace. Twice a day. In South Africa tea time came at mid morning and late afternoon. And we gathered around it to reconnect, to slow, to remember that we are more than the sum of our work.
I drink from a cup with this reminder written on it, “I have come that they might have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10. Not full of emergencies. Not full of panic. Not full of frustration. Not full of temper. Not full of rushing from one thing to the next.
What am I filling my life up with today? Even right there at the sink and over the laundry machine; while meeting deadlines and planning new initiatives and especially while picking up the umpteenth piece of lego or stray nerf bullet. What am I filling up on?
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23.
These things do not reside naturally in me. I need someone else to pour them right into my empty self. To fill me up from my toes to my hairline and then let them spill over my head and into this house and the people who live with me. Some days even just one of these fruits poured only as far as my knee caps can make all the difference.
I do not want to live my life like an emergency. I want to savor it like slow brewed tea. Right there, between last night’s potty training accident and this morning’s magic markers on the walls.