A few years back I was asked to share with a women's group on busyness.  That was the topic. Learning how to say no and slow down.  You know for the sake of your family, yourself, yada, yada.  Well let me just tell you I got up there in front of these women and spoke my heart out.  I also felt a bit pompous. At the time we were homeschooling, I was making strides in some areas of darkness that needed addressing and I thought I "had it all together".  Well, I didn't really think that, but I wanted everyone else to.  My intentions were pure.  And yes, there were areas where I was slowing down.  Our family unit was becoming stronger and our priorities were shifting.  Yet, there was still this anxiousness of doing it all. 

Here we are, further on the journey and we are still busy.  I notice it now especially.  Being back in the states.  There are commitments, sports, school work, meetings, social functions and errands.  Where did these come from?  If I had to be transparent here, it stems from my desire to control, to schedule and to be productive.  I don't suppose one can be considered fruitful if not actively participating at all times.  Wrong.  And here's why I think so.  My insides just don't feel right.  If the six of us are flying in and out of the house without so much as a peck on the cheek, (they always turn their lips away), or a hug, only to return after dark and just in time to do homework and climb into bed then we are too busy.  More like weary and exhausted and trying to constantly catch up on something.  That busyness stems from a lack of relationship and reliance.  Dependency on something and someone not of this world.  Immearsurably more than me and One to be feared.  Fear shouldn't come from stillness or the lacking.

In Turkey we were chill, as the Things would say.  No extenuating commitments.  No pressure to be somewhere or anywhere.  We just were.  If we wanted to go on a field trip midweek, we did.  Should there be an opportunity for a night away we all packed our bags and hit the road.  And of course if the sea was beckoning us to come play in the sand we answered, immediately without question.  The fireplace was ablaze in the winter and board games and books covered our coffee table.  Friends unexpectedly showed up and stayed for dinner.  Why then upon our return here did we feel the need to be "involved"?  The expectation shifted and I was an active participant. 

For the ease of transition for the Things I thought they would appreciate being "signed up" for activities.  Football clubs, extra curriculars, etc.  And they do.  On the whole, having a passion and being engaged in it is exhilerating.  They were looking forward to being back in their "normal" routines.  Sidenote, I just despise that word "normal".  Who defines it anyway?  So for this family we do enjoy cheering one another on from the sidelines, watching riding lessons, listening to music practice and so forth, I guess the choice lies in making that same commitment to down time.  Time to recover.  Rejuvenate.  Just be.  Whether it be together or on our own.  Just be. 

To summarize, I understand more completely now what the objective should have been in my speech on busyness.  Certainly not how I had it all figured out, because I didn't.  More on how I was learning, and still am, to be a Mary and not so much Martha.  To encourage quietness and stillness.  To be.  To listen more and talk less.  To observe.  To know my children.  To capture their hearts.  To be with them.  Whatever that means, on the sidelines, in the car, around the table on the sofa, etc.

Just to bring this point home, literally, our morning devotional a few days back was the story about Mary and Martha.  The Things had never heard this particular story before and weren't familar with the passage.  Husband Jared and I took time to explain the characteristics of each woman and the setting for the story.  Without so much a hesitation Thing 1 looked directly into my eyes and said, "Hey Mama, maybe you should practice being Mary and not so much Martha".  Whoa.  Really?  My initial reaction was defensive if I must be honest and yes I must.  She then continued and reminded me how I ran around like a mad woman cleaning for when Grandpa and Mema arrived.  I once again was on the defense.  Who doesn't want their house to look nice when their in-laws are coming for a visit?  I know, I know.  By mid morning after good byes I knew what had to be done.  I sent a text to Thing 1 apologizing and thanking her for holding the mirror up to my face.  What a gift to have a child who is so bold as to call me out on something I have essentially preached about before.  She did remind me that I always say those things aren't important and being with people is the priority.  Yeah, thanks.  I'm listending now and paying close attention.  Because I know the Things are.

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