When life gets uncomfortable it’s easy to busy ourselves in order to escape whatever discomfort we are facing.
Work. Hobbies. Fitness. Social media. Organizing. Rearranging. Shopping. And whatever else we can think of to do.
I found myself in that place today. Because, you know, kids. And summer break. And a husband who is gone for a few days. And the building stress of a crazy couple of weeks coming up.
Our morning was full of appointments and errands. And by the time we got home the kids were both wound up and worn out.
The tantrums began. The whining began. The accusations about what an unfair and uncaring mother I am began. The bouncing around the house like wild apes began. The screaming began. The complaining began. The destruction of the house began. And it went on and on. There was no end to the madness in sight.
So I attempted to escape by getting lost in social media. And then it was online shopping (for things I absolutely didn’t need.) And then I started organizing closets and tackling the junk piles in the basement. But my attempts to at least mentally escape the chaos of my children had failed.
And when the state of the house continued to decline, I attempted to busy all of us by going to the park. Which was a good idea in theory since outside time is necessary for physical and mental health.
But it didn’t take long for the pants to come off and the shoes to get lost and the crying over who-knows-what to begin again. And when my son stood there half-naked in the wood chips crying with all his might, the only escape I had was to go lay down on a bench.
So that’s what I did. I stretched out and stared up at the sky as the wind picked up and the clouds rolled in. I was still. And somehow being still in the midst of epic meltdowns was the most successful escape that I had experienced all day.
I felt my hair moving wildly in the wind. I watched the clouds thicken and expand, ever-growing masses that eventually erased every last bit of blue sky. I listened to the leaves rustling maniacally as the gusts of wind alerted me to the impending storm. I breathed in the scent of fresh cut grass that had wafted over from the neighborhood nearby. And I watched. Nothing and everything. The great big world around, moving and changing.
In the stillness I found the beauty. And awareness. And peace. Life is so much bigger than inconveniences and irritations. And God puts order into life even when life feels out of control.
I noticed the gifts of the glorious creation that surrounds this chaotic and uncomfortable life every single day. And in recognizing the gifts, I found escape. In appreciating the beauty, I found escape. In grasping the promise of peace, even for just a moment, I found escape.
Busyness had failed, but stillness brought freedom. For it gave me the time to drink in the beauty of life.