Interval Training

Last week I was talking about trying to take time out to rest, and to build space into my day for peace and reflection.  Slowing down.  


Well, I have been trying.  There have been a few sweet rewards in this.  I have had a couple of days where the craziness of my day would typically have engulfed me, but just having a few moments of quiet and focused prayer really did quiet my soul.  It was definitely hard for me to retreat.  With a long list of "To Do's", it felt counter-intuitive to step out of task mode and just be.  But, more than anything, I have this feeling that this is going to be a long process for me.  My typical nature is inclined towards being busy, and towards trying to multi-task because I want to accomplish so much.  It felt a bit like interval training for me.  Anyone ever do intervals while exercising?  It is a process where you have a steady pace and then every so often, you kick it up a notch and move more quickly (with more intensity).  It is supposed to accelerate how quickly you get into shape and give your workout an extra level of cardio and fat burning.

This is what it felt like for me, only in reverse.  It felt like I was running fast, and then occasionally remembering to slow down.  Then, I would start running again.

Another picture of how this felt was like a teenager learning to drive a car with a stick shift for the first time.  Not smooth.  Not fluid.  Screech.  Lurch.  Jerk.  Jerk.  Lurch.  Ow, my knee hit the dashboard.  This is awkward.  Okay, start the car, try again.  Screech.  

You get the picture.

Anyone else feel like this is going to be a long process?

One thing that encourages me to continue to cultivate this was watching the Oprah episode this past week about the mom who accidentally left her daughter in the car for her entire day at work.  The shortened version of the story was that her husband usually dropped the kids at day care, but she needed to do it on this day. She was a Vice Principal of a middle school and it was the first day of school.  A very busy day was looming.  She went to drop her 2 year old off, but realized she was too early.  Her baby was asleep in the car with her as she drove.  She ran an errand (picked up donuts for her staff), and then got back on the road that she drives every day to work.  She slipped into automatic mode and drove to work (forgetting that she still needed to drop sleeping baby off).  Her mind was already 3 steps forward in her day.  She got to work, headed inside and went about her day.  She was sharing that even throughout her day she had a few conversations about her kids with co-workers, but never remembered that she had left her baby in the car.

I have absolutely NO JUDGEMENT for this mom!  You can tell just from her interview that she is a loving mother, that she is a devoted mother.  She was just busy.  How tragic to realize at the end of your work day that your child has been baking in the car all day.  Her baby was dead when she finally got out there (a co-worker spotted her in the car).

I have had moments of forgetting to snap my kids in their car seats.  I know I could make this same mistake under the right pressure points.  My heart breaks for this family.

But, I am reminded.  There is always a cost to our busy-ness.  We may not all experience something this costly, but there is a cost for each of us.  We are a culture marked by a frantic, frazzled busy-ness.  We move to music, we have gadgets in our hands or at our fingertips non-stop.  I think sometimes we do not know what to do with ourselves, or our thoughts, in the absence of movement and motion and work.  It will continue to be messy and a challenge, but I am in it for the long haul.

4 comments:

  1. Love this post.

    This is what I meant to say over on the EO when I wrote about the Oprah show, but it turned into a frantic rant over there :) (could be that Ryan was out of town and there were NO moments for down-time)

    This was so well said, Ali. I appreciate your insight so much. I needed to read this as another week of solo parenting looms before me. I need to find some time today, while I've got the chance, to refuel.

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  2. I missed this interview. I wanted to see it. Hear this mother's story. I did judge her(when I first heard about it when it happened)...I do NOT anymore. Thank you for the post. We do the best that we can. The rest is up to God. And somethimes he lets us fall a bit so that when we are caught we will look to Him, instead of everything else around us.

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  4. This struck a chord with me as well. It's a process, especially for those of us who thrive on accomplishments.

    Thank you.

    (And sorry about the deleted comment. Somehow, a comment I left on another blog also got put here.)

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