I have spent an insane majority of my time folding laundry. Sometimes it's mine, sometimes it belongs to other people (even near strangers). Rather than get into the odd details of why I'm folding other people's laundry I will simply say, it's always been a large part of my career.
I took a test the other day that indicated I have up to 740 thoughts per hour. The test giver assured us this was a fairly accurate way to rate the amount of stress you feel, and also a good tool to use in slowing down our brain. If you are wondering if I was in "self help" class...I was. I will admit that one morning I woke up and said, "Self, you need help." So I went.
740 thoughts is a fairly decent number, however I would argue that my thoughts while folding laundry sky rocket to up around 1000/hr. Any mom reading this might roll their eyes and think, "I'd kill for only 1,000 thoughts per hour...I feel like I'm approaching ONE MILLION". And then the few men that read this blog might be thinking, "1000 thoughts per hour? That sounds HORRIBLE. The only way I'd have that many thoughts is if I had to choose between a thousand different types beer at any given moment."
In general, while folding laundry I can run through my list of duties, projects, ideas, hurts, fears, regrets, memories, dreams, chores, and goals at a pace that would make a rabid squirrel look methodical.
Do you know where that gets me? Nowhere. The only place it takes me is to an insomniac filled state of stress and insecurity. This place lacks peace, tranquility, mindfullness, kindness and soul. The fruits it bears are barren and tasteless...lacking spirit of any kind.
What I wish my list looked like:
What TODAY Actually looks like:
I woke up at 5am this morning in an attempt to carve a little time out of this blasted list. Laying in my bed I stared up at the patterns in my ceiling, counting each and every bump trying to keep my mind from wandering. I wanted to talk to God, I wanted to pray for people. I wanted some peace, but I couldn't find it. All I could do was count those stupid ceiling bumps, otherwise my thoughts wandered to my list. The list that has come to dictate my very existence.
My employer, Karole, once posed a simple question to me: "Jenni, when we die do you think either of us will wish we'd eaten less carbs or got more done on our to-do list? Nah. We won't be thinking about that."
A busy woman in her own right, I've never forgotten her statement.
When I die, I can't take my lists with me. We live in a society hell bent on destroying peace. I'm not speaking of Peace Vs. War either (though there is an argument for that). I speak of peace, the kind that you notice while watching your kids play. The kind that causes tingles down your spine while listening to music. The kind that lingers gently, and passes quickly.
One of my favorite songs in the whole world is by Sara Groves. It goes a little something like this:
So many words to say, but I'm opting for silence • So many days to live • I thinking I'm sitting this one out • Cause something I've been chasing finally stop to let me catch it • Something I've been longing for and dreaming about • • It's a whisper in my ear • It's a shiver up my spine • It's the gratitude I feel for all that's right • It's a mystery appeal that's been granted me tonight • This peace • • It's something so elusive • Something close but far away • It's the home that I can't live in yet somewhere in outer space • And sometimes I barely miss it when I walk into the room • The curtains are still swaying and I feel the air move • • And it whispers in my ear and it shivers up my spine • It's the gratitude I feel for all that's right • It's a mystery appeal that's been granted me tonight • This peace • • No time to grab a camera • No time to write it down • Just time enough to breathe it in • And linger • • • • It's a whisper in my ear • It's a shiver up my spine • It's the gratitude I feel for all that's right • It's a mystery appeal that's been granted me tonight • This peace • This peace • •
After staring at my ceiling this morning, I felt a little more relaxed. While prayer didn't come to fruition as hoped, I did make some breakfast. I meandered out to my car, rather than the usual mad dash. I arrived at work at 6:45am on the dot...dropped the kiddos off at 9am...I'll pick them up at 3pm...we'll go to Karate... we'll have homework time...I'll make dinner...help everyone get off to bed..and then I'll return to my space. These children do not belong to me, but I've adopted their schedule for the day.
But NOW, right NOW....it's quiet. My to-do list is right next to me ever beckoning. There's an even longer list for tomorrow. Some additions are the same, some are different. But here in this moment I WILL CHOOSE to be at peace. I'm blogging because I enjoy it. I'm listening to Rosie Thomas because her music rings true to me. I'm wearing my coat inside my apartment because I like how the lining feels on my arms. I lit a pumpkin spice candle because the smell reminds me of christmas rather than thanksgiving. I'm going to make another attempt at prayer because I know it's the only way to really know my Father...and without Him, all I have are lists.
If I die in the next hour, I doubt I'll care a whole lot if I missed my email deadlines or forgot to call someone back. 740 thoughts can't follow me where I'm going. Besides, I'm out of quarters for more laundry anyway.