I sat in the kitchen losing my ever-loving mind beneath the tumbling, towering waves of anxiety. I didn’t even know why. It was just a regular day – no need to perform to a certain standard, no need to get certain things done, no need to do anything other than simple, regular daily chores.
The computer sat on the counter in front of me, and my breath stuttered while I read these words:
One of the ways we find breathing room is by taking apart all the various voices vying for time in our minds and then sit long enough to determine that space where our soul (our deepest desires, longings, our wild) and God meet up. And then sit a little longer . . . and listen.
So I paused. What were the words in my soul? What messages did I have on repeat?
Bubbling to the surface came these ugly thoughts…
I can’t do this! There’s too much to do, not enough time, and not enough of me to go around!
I’ll never live a happy life. Anxiety and depression are hopeless.
These babies need more than I can give.
I’m losing myself!
And then, just as I reminded myself of her phrase “sit long enough,” Jude padded into the kitchen, arms raised with book in hand, his eyes imploring. “Read me the story, Mama?” they asked.
So I set aside my stillness. Just do the next thing, I told myself, and picked him up to read.
As we turned the last page of the book, I saw Isla streak by out of the corner of my eye. “Mama! Guess what?!?” she hollered.
“What?” I sighed, steeling myself for what I thought was an inevitable request – any request – that I wasn’t emotionally ready to tackle. “I love you!” she called back. And with that, all at once, time slowed her clocks for me, and I became clearly aware that the universe was offering me an enormous gift, one that I needed to consciously open my hands to receive.
You think you’re stressed, that you’re getting it all wrong, that you don’t have what it takes? Nope. I’ll show you. I picked you for these children and them for you, and some days might be hard, but you’re doing fine, it said. Take these gifts – the moments snuggled up to read, the spontaneous declarations of love, and the hundreds of others that trickle by unnoticed – and just breathe. For now, right this moment, you are where you need to be doing what you need to do and you are doing it well.
I went back to my day, but I didn’t go back to it the same way. I went back lighter and easier. I shooed the brain vultures and moved brazenly forward – if only a little bit.
Tomorrow it will start all over again, responsibilities and successes and failures and not-enoughs and effort and uncertainty. Hopefully I’ll be a little faster at banishing those mind vultures and opening my hands to receive the little gifts being offered to me along the way.