Monday, April 25, 2011

They arise and call her busy.

A couple weeks ago I prepared a devotional for a women's group. It was a spin or parody on the Proverbs 31 woman. Unfortunately, as I admitted for that group, my children do not arise and call me blessed; but arise and call me busy

They see me as tired. Overwhelmed and over scheduled. But I take pride in the fact that I say "no" to activities that eat into our family time. I value simplicity and solitude. And yet, somehow in the midst of my un-busy life, I managed to be very busy. 

I cannot deny it because when people ask "How are you?" I generally reply with the sad cliché, "Busy!"

The hubs asks what I have going on this week and I say, "Oh, it's going to be busy!"

I bore myself with my busyness. But moreover, I fear that my children will remember me as busy. 

I fear they will not remember the countless hours I sat with them on our playroom floor building with blocks. 

I fear they will never know that I read Goodnight Moon five thousand times. In one day. Because they kept asking for "just one more!"

I fear they will have no recollection of the countless days we spent lounging at the park. Or the beach. Or in the backyard. 

Will they only remember the piles on my desk, the bags under my eyes and me screaming "Be quiet so I can finalize this blog post before we run off to our next activity." 

So last week I indulged in a little bloggy experiment. I stopped blogging entirely -- both writing and reading. I wanted Holy Week to be a quiet time. A time to snuggle up with my family and be still. I wanted time for introspection and reflection. 

I wanted time to focus on being more of what Proverbs 31 refers to as a "wife of noble character." 

Well guess what I discovered?

No matter how much time I have, I fill it. 

I should have had hours and hours to spare, but I didn't. 

When I have time I simply find things to fill such time. 

Were they "better" things? 

Maybe. Some of them.

At least for the first few days I did not sit down at my computer in the afternoon hours when the kids were home. And I did make a conscious effort to spend time just being with them. 

Not doing something with them, but just being available. 

It was Amy unplugged. 

But as I said, that was the first few days. 

As the week progressed, however, the obligations seemed to mount again. Family was arriving for the long weekend. There were meals to plan and prepare. Sheets to wash and beds to make. And, of course,  the Easter Bunny was not going to fill the eggs and baskets without my assistance. 

By Thursday I was back to frantic-busy Amy. Unplugged maybe, but not unengaged. 

But then I realized: The "wife of noble character" I so long to emulate is not idle. In fact, that woman is running herself ragged.  "She sets about her work vigorously." {Proverbs 31:17} "She does not eat the bread of idleness." {Proverbs 31:27}. 

And technology is not to blame for my busyness. 

This blog is not to blame for my busyness. 

Busyness is simply inherent in who I am. 

So while I may not yet be revered at the city gates, I realize that my busyness is nothing about which I should feel guilty. My kids and family are never rarely neglected. 

Quite simply, my busyness is a product of me doing all I do for my family, my community, and perchance, for myself. 

But moreover, my busyness and being a wife of noble character are not mutually exclusive. In fact, it is at least partly my desire to be a wife of noble character that lends itself to busyness. 

I know I still have much work to do in that regard, but I feel like I can now see the path in front of me -- a cluttered, messy path with unmade beds and piles of paperwork, but truly, that's the only path I know.

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