Sawyer, Focused. Yona, Guam: December 25, 2013.
Farewell, Plan Q
I’m known for my efficiency. People sometimes use words like “organized” and “strategic” to describe me. They’re right. I’m good at juggling family, career, writing–all of it.
And it costs me dearly. I’m always thinking two steps ahead, conjuring a contingency plan. If Plan A washes out, Plan B is already fully formed. It’s a helpful life skill.
Unless you idolize it. Plan B hasn’t been enough for me, lately. No. I’m more comfortable with options up through, oh, say, Plan Q. This arrangement (a mirage of control) comforts me. It’s also exhausting. And it’s a thief. It steals my time. It steals my attention. Left alone, it could steal my faith.
Visiting our daughter and son-in-law over Christmas, grandson Sawyer pointed it out. He did not say, Lala, you’re always preoccupied. It’s like you’re not really here with us. Your mind is somewhere else. How can I help you to focus on me? He didn’t say those things because he is 37 months old.
I was quickly checking my email one morning (you know how that is, right? You log on for a quick moment, then a rabbit-hole opens up and swallows you) and he said, Lala, can I be with you?
Me: I’m right here with you, Honey.
Sawyer: I want to sit in your lap.
Me: I’m not playing a game on the computer, Sweetie.
Sawyer: I know. But your eyes are not with me. I want your eyes, Lala.
And that, my friends, is how it feels to be sucker-punched by a preschooler. He was trying to tell me that while I was there with him, I wasn’t engaged with him. I wasn’t present.
If you’re my friend, maybe I’ve done it to you, too. You’re telling me something and right before your eyes, I unfocus. My mind is living two hours in the future (you would think that could be quite nifty on PowerBall day, but no), thinking through all the things to be done and places to go and what contingency planning will make me feel safer.
I begin this year in a new place. Sure, I know we can never swim in the same river twice, but this New Year feels different. I have some new health matters to manage. I’ve signed a contract to write a series of novelettes based on the characters from my Christmas story, Kathi Macias’ 12 Days of Christmas: Volume 8, Yankee Doodle Christmas (more about that later). Exciting changes at my place of work present great opportunities and those devoted footmen of opportunity, challenges.
As a young woman, I wrote poetry. One piece contained this line:
Wherever you go, live there.
My dream for this year is to be fully present in each moment. So when I’m tossing the ball for J.D. the Labrador, I’m not composing an email in my head. I’m watching him race down the hill, thrilled to be snagging the ball and bringing it back to me. I’m hearing his panting and feeling the gritty surface of the ball. When I’m in a staff meeting, I’m listening to my coworker instead of mentally revising my own remarks. When my husband is calling down a blessing on our dinner, I’m drawing his words into my heart instead of wondering if there’s still enough ice cream in the freezer for dessert.
This year, I will quit living the hotshot fantasy that it all depends on me.
Instead, I will inhabit the truth that I depend on Him.
The Lord will accomplish what concerns me;
Your lovingkindness, O Lord, is everlasting;
Do not forsake the works of Your hands.
Psalm 138:8 (NASB)