27 December 2007


This is how I spent most of Christmas day this year.

Once I completed my final exams December 11th, I hit the ground running with just two weeks to "do" Christmas. At a few minutes after midnight Christmas morning, I finished! Sadly, I spent so much time "doing," however, that by 10:00 a.m., I was done.

Fever, chills, aches, pain, cold, cough... you name it, I had it.

Yes, it's flu season, and this is the risk you run when you consistently opt against a flu shot (of course I'm starting to royally regret this decision). But I think (I know) this was more than the flu.

The truth is, I hit the ground running long before December 11th; I haven't stopped running since some time in the early 80s. It's who I have become, it's how I've learned to cope - to control, to find order in disorder: I run. I do. I go. I make lists, I check them once, twice, thrice.... I write them, then re-write them. I delight in completing them (perfectly), and then of course, it's time for another list. There is ALWAYS something to do, ALWAYS something left to be done, ALWAYS something else to put on my list.

This year, leveled me (literally). I can't keep up with my lists. I can't live up to my standard. I can't keep going like I'm going. No one can. There are not enough hours in the day (or the year) and there isn't enough grace to go around (or perhaps it's the other way around). But Lord knows, I'll keep trying. I'll keep pushing, fighting, going and doing until I'm done... doing until I'm debilitated - unable to pee let alone able to enjoy the most special of days with people I love.

I was forced to acknowledge this Christmas what I've probably known for a while: I'm missing the music. It's a humbling truth to face especially realizing that I don't know how to live otherwise. Invariably, I spend so much time, effort and energy obsessing, checking, re-checking, perfecting... orchestrating every detail, that I rarely experience the symphony. Precious moments are passing me by. I'm missing the music.

God, in his wisdom and mercy, placed a brick wall (a hard one) in front of me on Christmas morning . I crashed and crumbled in front of my fireplace, and for 20 hours, at the expense of Christmas spent with my husband, kids, siblings, step-siblings, Dad and Stepmom, I stopped running and could do little else but to listen.

In the stillness, solitude and excruciating pain of Christmas day, I smelled, saw, tasted, felt and heard a bit of what I've been missing. The bar is high, indeed, but the stakes are much higher.

And the orchestra plays on.


Leah said...

Oh no! I'm so sorry you have that horrible flu that is going around. It seems to really be hitting people hard this year.
You work so very hard Abi... don't cheat yourself out of the joy from all your efforts.
My mom is a lot like you. She strives for perfection and I admire her for that.
Take care of yourself dear friend. Enjoy your life and your hard work! You deserve!!!
Much love to you.

Jen said...

Oh how awful! I've been wondering about you and your lack of posts, and now I see you were too busy running yourself ragged doing everything else. I hope it was very short lived for the flu, and God shared some of His mercy and compassion when you had your light bulb moment of realization as to what you're missing out on. I only know you from your blog, but I think I connected and keep checking back, because we have a lot in common. (Child of God, wife, mom, doula, always giving, striving and doing more to help others..) I realized a few months ago that my life, not my family, was in utter chaos. My family was paying a price for it, but not as much as me. I saw my doctor, read a book on simplifying my life, started to get organized, chose quiet time for myself to do devotions, and tried to get control over myself. I've learned a few things already. I'm a people pleaser, and want you to genuinely be happy. That's a great thought, but I can't make anyone happy but myself. I'm who I need to work on, and if I'm happy, that attitude will rub off on those around me. Likewise, if I'm stressed and grumpy, they will be on edge and grumpy. I'm also a perfectionist to the point of disability. It has to be perfect, no matter what, or I'm not happy. Well, that's pretty high standards to live up to, not to mention nearly impossible for anyone to succeed. Try slowing down where you can, take time for yourself, and enjoy some fun, even if you have to ask for help. I know it's hard to do, but you are worth it. Many blessings to you!