Each month our church sends out religious magazines with counsel from leaders. Yesterday I happened upon an old magazine article from a June 2010 issue titled, "Don't Be In a Hurry."
It starts out by relating a story from one of the church leaders from the early 1800's. He is given counsel from another church leader with a degree of sharpness, "Don't be in a hurry. Brother Brigham, don't be in a hurry. Don't be in a hurry."
Recently I feel very much in a hurry. A large part of me would love to skip this California trip, and just enjoy this Thanksgiving at home. Not in a hurry. These portions of the article struck me, and really have me pondering,
"We live in a world of fast food, rapid transit, instant messaging, and constant claims about how to get rich quicker, get fit faster, succeed now. Despite the proliferation of supposed time-saving tools, we often feel pressed and stressed by the demands on our time...President James E. Faust (church leader, now passed on) observed, 'Our hurry to meet the relentless demands of the clock tears away at our inner peace.'
"...In the midst of our modern-day frenzy, how well do we remember that our time on earth is actually a gift from God? While we go about our business, this earth is spinning on it's axis, and all the while the Lord is 'preserving us from day to day, by lending us breath that we may live and move and do' what we will, and 'even supporting us from one moment to another.'
"...In return for all He gives us, the Lord invites us to love Him. Jesus taught that the first commandment is to 'love the Lord thy God with all thy heart...soul,...mind,...and strength. ' (Mark 12:30) 'When we put God first, President Ezra Taft Benson promised, "all other things fall into their proper place, or drop out of our lives.'...'We will move faster if we hurry less.' Undistracted by other things, we trust the Lord to help us allocate our time and talent to their very best uses each day. As a result, we do more good and we make real progress."
Trying to allocate my time and talent "to their very best uses each day" is perhaps, one of the biggest things I struggle with as a Mother.
I had a phone conversation with my Mother on Monday that went something like this,
Me: It is so hard for me to figure out what are the most important things I am supposed to be doing with my time. I have so much to do, I can hardly keep up. And then I feel guilty that I am not doing it all.
Mom: Oh, yes, I know what that is like! (She had seven kids!) It's that guilt that says 'you should be doing something else!' No matter what it is you are doing, you should be doing something else.
Me: Yeah! I feel that way all of the time. If I am doing laundry, I feel guilty that I am not cooking. If I am cooking, I feel guilty that I am not playing with my kids. If I am playing with my kids, I feel guilty that I am not doing the dishes. I always, always feel like I should be doing something else.
Yesterday I told Samuel that I wanted him to be with me, while I worked in the kitchen and exercised. Usually he tries to sneak as much instant Netflix time in as possible, and I had had enough of being in two separate rooms -- away from each other. I locked the computer, and asked him to be with me.
Because if there is anything I feel guilty about the most, it is the act of not being with my children, and the people I love. President James E. Faust also said something that has stuck with me for the last five years,
"If you do everything for your children, then you will never be with your children."
I have found this to be true in my own life. If I do all the dishes, all of the laundry, and cleaning and cooking for my family, then I will never be with my family.
I found a great deal of peace yesterday, inviting Samuel to help me with my household tasks. I am always surprised by how much he enjoys it, too. It is the best way that I know how to get my work done, pay attention to, and be with my children simultaneously.
I often try to have my kids help me cook.
We exercise together.
Shop (and play in the toy section at Target) together.
Yes, and even play at the park together.
When I go to the park, I try to actually play with them. Instead of sitting my tush down on a park bench like I used to.
However, while it is essential that I spend time working, playing, and being with my children, I also find it essential that I take time for meditation, pondering, and introspection. Time to slow down and think. Remember.
The article goes on to say,
"[Be] cautioned against a frantic, heedless busyness...[that often] crowds out contemplation and leaves no time for renewal. [Likening] thoughtful intervals between our tasks as to the green belts of grass, trees, and water that interrupt the asphalt...When we plan some time for contemplation and renewal we will feel drawn to our work instead of driven to it."
My mornings start early, most days. Sometimes at 3 or 4 a.m. It is so quiet in my house at that time. Peaceful. I can hear myself think, and often my priorities become clear as I study, ponder, meditate, pray, and exercise. After doing these things I quickly feel motivated to attack the tasks ahead of me. These renewing practices are like water in a desert. On days that I go without them, I feel parched and unable to handle my responsibilities.
It is very easy for me, during the busyness of "Holiday" season, to forego that daily renewal. To forget to include my children and use the excuse that I have too much to do.
This year I feel differently. I would love to simplify. Slow down. Do the things that matter most and then forget the rest; simply let the less important things fall by the wayside.
As one of my friends stated on her way out of my home yesterday, "You know, we forget, that it's Jesus' birthday. He was born. We don't need any of the rest."
Thanksgiving. A time for Thanks. A time to ponder what things I am grateful for.
Remembering these wonderful things, I slow down. Take a deep breath. Enjoy my family. Look forward to California, and even the long drive. That long time to be with my family without interruption.
It may even mean that I don't get all the recipes that I have for you, posted. But I will certainly try. I will try, because it is something I love, and I hope that in some small way, these recipes bless your life, and give you time to slow down and enjoy your families.
My favorite excerpt from the article, by our current church President, Thomas S. Monson,
“Before we can successfully undertake a personal search for Jesus, we must first prepare time for him in our lives and room for him in our hearts. In these busy days there are many who have time for golf, time for shopping, time for work, time for play—but no time for Christ.
“Lovely homes dot the land and provide rooms for eating, rooms for sleeping, playrooms, sewing rooms, television rooms, but no room for Christ.
“Do we get a pang of conscience as we recall his own words: “The foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.’ (Matt. 8:20.) Or do we flush with embarrassment when we remember, ‘And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.’ (Luke 2:7.) No room. No room. No room. Ever has it been.
“As we undertake our personal search for Jesus, aided and guided by the principle of prayer, it is fundamental that we have a clear concept of him whom we seek. The shepherds of old sought Jesus the child. But we seek Jesus the Christ, our Older Brother, our Mediator with the Father, our Redeemer, the Author of our salvation; he who was in the beginning with the Father; he who took upon himself the sins of the world and so willingly died that we might forever live. This is the Jesus whom we seek.”President Thomas S. Monson, “The Search for Jesus,” Ensign, Dec. 1990, 4–5.