I just turned my laptop on after being gone for 11 days.
My mind sags from the weight of all the thoughts I’ve collected during our time away in the mountains.
Do you ever feel like that? Like your heart and mind are physically heavy with thoughts? How can that be though if thoughts aren’t “solid” objects? It’s something I’d love to ask a neurologist about someday.
I’m not sure how or if I an express all these thoughts into anything tangible or understandable…or if anyone will really want to read them. Oh well, I’m overdue for a good brain dump and I’m sure everyone’s getting tired of book and movie reviews. 😉
It was so wonderful being gone – hard coming back though, I’m not sure exactly where to go from here.
Before we left, I was drowning, completely overwhelmed by commitments and self-imposed pressures that were eating me alive. It had all started small, then, before I knew it, I had drifted so far from the shore the waves had grown so big and strong I couldn’t find my way back to solid ground.
I was so stressed, I didn’t even think I had time for a vacation. Which is exactly when you know it is the perfect time for a vacation.
But, thankfully, we got everything packed and I tied up as many loose ends as I could before leaving, and off we set on our family vacation. I knew I needed to unplug but I couldn’t fight the urge to “just check” my phone every so often.
Then something funny happened. A few hours into our trip, as we drove through lonely western Kansas – the bars on our phones went from 5 to X – zero, nothing, zilch.
At first, I panicked. What if our van broke down or we got into an accident?! What if someone needed to get a hold of us? What if someone posts something funny or makes an important announcement on Facebook or email and I miss it?!
Then I stopped and smiled. This is exactly what I needed. I put the phone down and got out the book I brought – like the real, old-fashioned-paper-back book that you hold in your hand and turn the pages type of book. It was lovely.
We also passed three HUGE Signs along the highway like this –
We finally got a signal once we reached Colorado Springs but then lost it again once we made it to our friends’ home outside the city whom we stayed with. They did have Wi-Fi so I was able to check email and FB every now and then if I needed to. The first few days, I felt like I needed to “just check” several times in a day. But for the most part, I tried to stay off it altogether.
At first, my thumbs twitched from withdrawal and I couldn’t get my mind to stop thinking about “just checking real quick”.
I felt like an addict. Because I am an addict.
A guy I know, who happens to be going through AA, wisely commented once:
Everyone is addicted to something – they just don’t always admit it.
The first step, as anyone familiar with AA knows, is admitting you have a problem.
So here’s one of mine:
I’m addicted to busy. To feeling like I have something to do every day, all day long. To feeling like I’m contributing. I’m addicted to feeling like I am doing something important. I’m addicted to being recognized, admired, praised.
But once I unplugged and just relaxed, I felt peaceful, uncommitted – content.
In a way, I was still “busy”. Apparently, little people still need to eat and be taken care of even when on vacation. But it was a different type of busy – not such a frantic, keep-up-with-all-the-demands-of-life-and-commitments type of busy that I’d left back home.
After a few days, while hiking in the majestic mountains of the Colorado Rockies, breathing in the crisp clean air, and taking in the breath-taking (literally) views, I wondered to myself – why?
Why do I have to be so busy all.the.time?
I think a big part of it is maybe my personality. Like I told my friend when asked, I consider myself an introvert/extrovert hybrid. Or, like she put it, an introverted extrovert. I love being with other people, I long for deep insightful and meaningful conversations with others, but I also relish time alone, time to think, time to just be.
But, aside from my personality, I think staying busy has also become my escape. When I feel like I’m failing as a mother, as a wife, or just as a person in general, I get busy with something I am good at, something I can be clearly acknowledged for.
In the early years of our oldest child’s life, I had become obsessed and attached to the idea of homeschooling. It had become more than just a way of providing education for our children – it had become my purpose. When I “failed” at homeschooling, (or surrendered to God’s Will not mine), and sent the kids to formal school, a huge void was left in my life. Because I had attached myself to my will, instead of trusting God’s Will for our family, I didn’t know who or what I was supposed to do or be anymore.
So I got busy with other things – all good in and of themselves of course, but maybe one can have and do too much of a good thing if it takes away from the Greater Good of the family.
The funny thing is I actually wrote a little about this for the Chapter Two Reflection for CatholicMom.com’sUnleashed Book Club before I left for our trip (I love the ability to schedule posts!):
Too often, I get caught up in all the things I could do – all of them good. I’ll get all excited about all the wonderful ways in which I could serve God and bring Christ to others and then I start hopping from one idea to the next until – without fail – I crash into a dozen brick walls and fall of my high horse of righteousness in the name of God.
A few days before our trip, and while in silent prayer on our vacation, I thought about the main groups/projects I’ve committed myself to, and I basically told God – “Here, take these. All these “Yeses”, all these works and services, I give them to You. Take them from me and let them be Yours – not mine anymore.”
Ahhhhh, what a weight lifted off. Like the immediate relief I felt when my husband held our two-year-old on long hikes instead of me. I had been trying so hard to do it on my own – trying to prove that I could do it without help. So stubborn, so prideful. So dumb.
So now we’re back. I have emails to catch up with, Facebook beckons me to see what I missed while away, and I’m sure the kids will need lots of help in the transition from constant adventure back to our boring, hot, summer days with only a mountain of laundry and chores to climb.
I could feel stressed and overwhelmed by it all. But maybe I won’t. For now, maybe I’ll just try and listen to the the gentle voice of the Spirit, and TRUST.
Do you ever feel addicted to busy? How do you deal with it?