Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Thoughts a Rumbling

I have a few different thought a rumblin in my brain the last few weeks and I am not sure which to tackle first. I did recently read a quote at the top of a friend's blog by St. Augustine that reads, "I count myself one of the number of those who write as they learn and learn as they write." I love the idea behind this quote. Because that is true for me. I love to share what I am learning with others through writing, but I also learn so much more about myself and the subject matter when I write. It is cathartic and educational for me to write. I get a lot out of the process personally which is why I think there is value in making the time to write. And yet I don't always.

I have recently been busy with life and have not had a lot of time to think, to ponder or to write blog posts. I have been busy doing things that are worthwhile and often necessary but things that keep my mind and body busy, leaving me little time or energy to read, ponder and write. I have felt productive getting things checked off my to do list and yet I have also felt like I have been spinning my wheels a bit and not really getting any traction. Because while my to do list was getting done, I was neglecting those things that make me really feel alive and present in my life, reading and writing. I was getting my "assignments" done but I was rushing through them without absorbing what I was doing. I was checking things off, getting things done, being productive and yet, I felt very unfulfilled and superficial.

This is the struggle I discussed with my husband on that long drive across the state of Washington in the dark. I am not a task oriented person. I am relational. I am contemplative. Given time to myself you will likely find me at Starbucks reading a book on prayer or whatever great read I have in my bag. Right now at this moment, I am exhausted and really just want to crawl into bed and yet I really want to write this post. I want to think and use my mind to create something. I want to put words down on the screen and feel my hands and mind working together as my fingers tap along the keyboard. I love that feeling of a sentence or an idea flowing from my mind, through my hands and onto the computer screen, knowing that when I hit publish post, I will have created something lasting. And maybe, just maybe someone will read what I write and be challenged or encouraged. If I am really lucky they may even leave a comment and my writing brings connection.

I can be practical also. I know there is work that needs to be done and done on time. I want to get dinner on the table with as little fuss as possible so we can then enjoy our evening as a family. I make the next days lunches while the kids are doing their homework, thus supervising and getting prepared for the next day. This is the work that the world sees as productive as valuable and this is the paragraph I write to let the world know that I do real work for my family. I write about my volunteering in the kids' schools, the driving I do for my kids, the meals I prepare, the laundry I fold. I justify my contemplative nature but making sure the world knows I do real work. Thinking, writing, learning are my hobbies because those can't be real work. They are the things I do after I have finished my real tasks of the day.

And yet, somewhere down deep inside me, I know that the thinking, the learning, the listening, the reading, even the writing are my real work. Because it is in the quiet moments of contemplation that I learn more about who I am meant to be. I learn more and more about who God truly is and not who I think He is. It is in the quiet moments of thinking through the tough issues, of seeking more information, studying what God's word says on a subject, that I find what I need for that day. Life is complicated, full of choices and challenges. I could easily get caught up on the good mommy's to do list and create a "normal" life for me and my family without ever thinking through what is really best for us. What is good, what is right, what grows us up in God and closer to Christ.

I don't think everyone needs to sit at Starbucks with their music playing, tuning out the world and spending time thinking and pondering and wondering what life is all about. But I am thinking that it is okay for me to do. I am being productive even if I am not crossing anything off my list.

1 comment:

  1. It is interesting how we (as a current culture) define "productivity", isn't it? Throughout most of history, many people had the profession of thinking or of praying, for instance. That is what they "did" for a living. The desert fathers, Monks, priests, theologians, professors, writers,... what did they do 100 years ago?--- they prayed, they wrote, they thought, they discussed. Why is this not a perfectly acceptable way to spend time these days?... I remember reading in a Jane Austen book about a character that was choosing to spend her afternoon thinking--- and that was perfectly normal.
    I always enjoy your thoughts-a-rumbling/or rambling! Thanks for sharing!