Last Friday I woke up on what is the first day of my weekend, since I am on staff at a church and work Sundays. There are colorful words to describe the state of my mind as I tried to prioritize my day, but I will spare you my command of this deprived dialect. Suffice it to say my mind was awash with a torrent of overwhelming guck, namely a series of statements that seemed to begin with, “I can’t” or end with “but I can’t because.” I considered the myriad of items on my to-do list from the domestic to the professional realm; and for at least a little while, the morning disintegrated into a mess of tears until that still small voice I’d like to call wisdom (because that makes me feel better about the voice in my head) implored me to stop. Just stop!
You’re thinking of all the things you can’t do. But what CAN you do?
Sometimes there is nothing worse than our inner voice giving us just what we need to hear in the moment because it feels like a conflict of interest. It’s so much easier to sob on the treadmill and lament how out of control and hard life feels sometimes than to lay it all down, set it aside and think within reason about what is possible.
So there I was, done in by that still small voice, urging me to dry my tears and get on with it already.
I’d let my 4-year-old son stay home from school on account of a bad cough and general cold-symptom-induced grouchiness. This was most likely behind some of my own tears. We ventured out to my favorite French bakery where I downed my almond croissant before eating my lunch. Then, full of happy carbs and fresh-baked goodness, I meandered with my son in hand through the antique mall on the lower level of the building we were in. Generally speaking, and one must be general when describing an outing with a 4-year-old through an antique mall filled with very old and breakable things, it was a good outing–just the thing to turn my dread of the day’s tasks on its head.
And from there, the day truly got better. I accomplished a few things that had been put off and watched as someone else accomplished something I’d been waiting for. While I took my kids to meet a friend at the playground, a sweet little fence went up around my backyard. Now puppy and children will be somewhat reined in.
I needed to let it all go; to admit that in some ways I am defeated. I cannot do everything I might be able to do if I had more support or family nearby. I can’t accomplish everything I need to or want to at one time. But, so what? Really. So what?! Eventually, it all gets done, and the things that remain undone are usually the things that are not so important anyway. I always know when I start moving the furniture (my neurosis) that I’m grasping for straws, trying to control something when so much of life feels out of my control.
This week I kick-boxed in my living room because I can’t manage to get to the gym. The gym might appreciate this, actually. I’m going to start replacing my “I can’ts” with more of what “I Can” and lay aside the pity party.
So, to the weary-eyed one with the endless to-do list and the never-ending demands, what can you do today? Go for it. And then celebrate. Or start by celebrating–because you can.