(AKA That Time I Read 4 Pages of a Book)
I’ll never forget the day I read four pages of a book. An actual book. Not a board book. Not a picture book. Not a commentary. Not a lectionary blog. A real novel. There I was months into the COVID-19 shut down. Two very small children. Two working parents. Little sleep. No quiet. But on that day, a miracle occurred. My son was asleep in his crib. My daughter was QUIETLY SITTING watching PBS. My husband was upstairs working in his at-home office. I snuggled under a blanket on the couch and picked up a book that had been collecting dust for months. The stars aligned. God smiled. I read.
Then, at the end of the 4th page, the universe felt like that was just too much peace. In the course of 5 seconds, my husband came downstairs, my daughter needed to go potty, and my son woke up. So endeth my great reading journey of the 2020 pandemic. Friends, it was a good 4 pages…
In our household, the pandemic shut down has meant there is no rest. We are constantly caring for our very small children and constantly working. I pastor a 200-member church and my husband runs the marketing department of a mortgage company. We are both called to parent and called to our work. We used to do relatively well with work-life-family balance, but the pandemic has meant there is no balance – there only is what is.
In the last 5 months, many people have asked me what I’m doing to take care of me. I usually answer (with a laugh) that I get to sleep for a few hours before my son wakes up to nurse; then I sleep a few more hours before we’re all up for the day. So, all told, a good 6-7 solid hours of alone time every single day. Oh awake alone time, you say? Well, honestly, I get that when I go over to the church to work my allotted 3 hours a day, while my husband takes childcare duties before we swap.
Our system has worked well for us and we’ve fallen into a pattern over the weeks and months (currently 131 days, but who’s counting?) Some days, we’re drowning. Some days, we’re treading water. Some glorious days, we’re sailing.
In all of it, taking care of 2 small children and a church family in a hotspot of a global pandemic, we’ve faired pretty well. Yet, I haven’t had time to process any of it. I just keep moving, because there’s no other choice. The problem is: I’m a processor (Context: I’m an INFJ and an Enneagram 9). I need alone time to think and operate and be. So, I’ve been finding ways to manage it in the midst of the chaos: reading 4 pages of a book here and there, listening to audio books while washing dishes, netflixing while pumping, messaging with friends, zooming with colleagues, etc…
Lately, though, my brain has been swirling with unprocessed thoughts. Ideas and stories and insights are filling my brain with nowhere to put them. I’ve been writing little thought snippets down on small pieces of paper. I’ve been typing thoughtlets into the Notes app on my phone.
As it turns out, I have a few things to say. This is why I have started this Blog.
I have resisted blogging or publishing sermons for years – even when friends or church members have suggested I should do so. Frankly, who has time for that? I already have to write a weekly sermon and monthly newsletter and bible studies and social media posts and on and on. How could I possible add one more thing? I didn’t have time for it then, and I probably don’t have time for it now.
But now … I feel words and stories bursting from me. The thoughtlets I’ve written down over the course of the last few months at tugging at me to be shared.
So I hope you will come along with me as I share the words on my heart these days. Funny stories. Sad stories. Blessed stories. All stories of my life from my own point of view. I share them in hopes that you might find a nugget of your life in them. Something to make you giggle. Something to make you smile. Something to make you feel you are not alone. Something to make think and pray. Something to help you see God’s blessings in your also chaotic but beautiful life.