I’ve been lingering at the table a bit longer lately.
And this is a victory for me.
Because my natural way?….
On any given night – as the pots on the stove begin to boil and the timer on the oven goes off….I don’t think about how good the food is going to taste or how thankful I am that I get to dine with my kin and indulge…
As soon as dinner is ready for the plate – I am thinking about cleaning the plate.
I am thinking about scrubbing sauce off of dinnerware, soaking pots in degreaser, putting away condiments, and sweeping up all manner of crumbs from the floor.
So I rush through eating….and run to the kitchen. I just want to get it done. I want it to be over. I want the kitchen to smell of Method Pink Grapefruit All-Purpose Cleaner. I want the dish washer running. I want the candle lit – the one that smells like mocha. I want the kitchen to look like no one ever cooks in it…and I want the table to look like no one ever sits there – as soon as humanly possible.
Sadly…this isn’t limited to the kitchen after dinner.
This frantic hurry – this is my bent….in homeschooling, grocery shopping, present buying, exercising, reading, writing, phone calls, praying, serving, child rearing, even sleep….
I have a hurried (albeit idealistic) spirit.
And it’s been there since at least the 4th grade.
Mrs. Williams had a schedule set for our morning assignments – I knew the routine. It was the same every week. So I would hurry over to my book cubby, grab my handwriting text – and have at it. I wanted to be the first done. I wanted it to be behind me. And I vividly remember a long-time classmate saying this after watching me scribble through my work each week:
“When we were younger….I loved your handwriting. It was pretty and I wanted to write like you. But now that you rush through it – I don’t think that anymore.”
But it didn’t make a difference. I raced through the rest of fourth grade – and I’ve been racing at top speed ever since.
Work that is poor in quality. A neck full of knots. Wasted moments. Indigestion. A blurred life.
Oh Lord – help me to hear this…
Don’t hasten life away.
“Life is not an emergency.” That’s what Ann says.
Pause. Engage. Sit. Simmer.
All with eyes wide open and ears agape.
Life’s not something I have to check off of my to do list. It doesn’t belong there. Life – is to be lived, not listed. Life is to be soaked in, not checked off.
When my kids are grown and my hair is all grey – will I be praised for how quickly I got the kitchen clean after the pot roast? Will I be recognized for how many school lessons I could cram into an hour? Will I be known for how quickly I sped through Kroger? Or how fast I wrote a post?
You know the answer.
But make no mistake…. if things don’t decelerate – I might be remembered….
Yeah, I might be remembered for making short little toddler legs keep pace with Mommy’s frantic stride. I might be remembered for skipping out on conversations and preventing pleasant memories – all so that I could get dishes done and counter-tops cleaned. Things not changing could result in me having high blood pressure, ulcers, and joylessness. If I’m not careful – I might be known for making my children look back on a smeared, fast-paced, fogged childhood.
I get to choose.
Hence – me lingering at the table.
**There is no glad rush in rushing. There is nothing about a hurried life that will send us soaring happy.**
So as dirty plates pile up around the sink – and crumbs crunch under feet….have a sit. Look into the faces that dropped the crumbs. Really see them. Really listen as you linger.
You’ll get to the plates. They will wait on you. There’s no reward for a sparkling kitchen as soon as the baby takes his last bite.
We will carry out our work, yes.
But let’s do a little digesting first, shall we?