I turned around from my desk and let out that under-the-breath-kind-of-sigh as my eyes rolled up and over to my husband. I had things to do, and little interest in what he was saying. It was quite apparent to him too.
“Never mind. You’re obviously busy.”
As he walked away from me, I sank further down in my chair realizing the moment he responded that I had made the wrong choice.
“I’m sorry! I just have so much to do since I got home late…” My words faded into empty air as he had already started to retreat to the basement.
I paced the kitchen with that punch in the gut lingering.
I tried again to holler down, with my pathetic explanation of how I’m really tired and I just wanted to get this done before I pack the lunches and it’s late and… and…
Attempting to excuse myself of any offense and negotiate a new deal of interaction-
He’d have none of it.
He wasn’t mad, just disappointed. I heard it in his voice. I saw it in his eyes. And he had every right to feel that way. I haven’t seen my guy all day, and he simply wanted to talk. He had some ideas to share, and his bid for my time was rejected. So he checked out. He received my message loud and clear.
Other things in my life are more important than him.
It happens too many times.
Funny thing is?
If I were to list my most important priorities in my life, that guy is number 2.
He’s right up there on the top of the list, only second to The Almighty Creator of heaven and earth.
Well, it sure doesn’t look that way.
There are just so many little distractions eating up our lives, biding for our time and attention, steering us away from the things that matter most.
Some of them are actually pretty important, and deserve our attention. Some of them are even on our top priority list, but perhaps down a few lines beneath the big ones. Others, not so much. They are simply time eaters. Really. An utter waste.
I live a lot of my time in many of these categories.
Distracted by them all.
This moment with my husband was one of them.
There was nothing urgent I needed to do. Sure there was a long list of things on my agenda, but really?
I just felt the urgency to get it done.
What I missed out on was the big catch of the day, while swimming against the crashing waves of little fish nipping at my skin.
It’s all upstream I tell ya.
Picture your own top five priorities in your life…
Think of them as those beautiful big whales in the deep blue sea. Such valuable pieces and parts of our lives are easy to spot right? Not if you are constantly in a swarm of massive schools of fish nipping at your legs and clouding your vision so all you see are millions of little fish in those murky waters. You flail your hands trying to swim through them to open up that clear path to find the whales, but they keep coming right back through your legs and arms engulfing you everywhere.
You are submerged.
And that thundering white noise of splashing fish can drown out the true priorities of our lives. I hear those precious top priorities whisper as I muddle through those waves of little fish, and often the simmering whispers finally bubble into a boil of screams begging for my attention.
That’s when I know I am in too deep…
And I finally make the right choice.
Oh, how I wish I had made that choice with my husband.
This week I lost many opportunities while being swarmed with other stuff, but there were a few times I did make the right choice…
The other night, I rushed home from the grocery store and threw all the bags in the house knowing my boy was waiting ever so patiently for me.
There he was, sitting at the piano waiting for the lesson I promised him weeks ago. THIS was the night I was going to come through on his plea. It was a near miss. I attempted to shove in one more thing and time was running out.
“Where were you mom? I’m ready! I’m waiting! Can I have my lesson now?”
I took off my coat and walked straight to the piano and sat next to him with a squeal of delight and left those bags strewn all over the floor, while I focused on the right choice. I have never let the grocery bags sit on the floor like that. Ever. I’m sure my anxiety drives my need to complete tasks, because I get increasingly anxious and overwhelmed when I can’t finish them. I decided in that moment to consciously keep that crap at bay. I heard the bubbling whispers turned into boiling screams. I needed to grab hold of this precious priority NOW.
We had 45 minutes before I had to leave again to go get my daughter at swim practice. That was just enough time to pour all my attention and my love all over my boy.
The kid was beaming.
And I kept thinking to myself, “Yes. THIS. Oh so much THIS.”
Earlier that afternoon, I left my messy house and loaded email inbox to go help a dear friend prepare for an upcoming surgery.
Another really good choice.
I swatted that anxiety and all those frenzied fish right out of the way for my catch of the day.
After I helped clean out her craft closet, I went to work on her bed. I flipped her mattress, shook her sheets in the air to fall on the bed just so. I tucked the fitted sheet underneath the corners, then followed with the loose sheet on top, gently pressing through the wrinkles with the swipe of my hand, lining her bed with perfect symmetry. I added the top comforter, the pillow cases and then fluffed the pillows and centered them on top- as though I was creating a work of art.
“Yes. THIS. Oh so much, THIS.”
I’m not sure there is anything sweeter to taste in life, than helping someone you love…
My own house chores could wait. The emails, the paperwork, the errands, the text messages- all of it- swarms of fish were swatted aside so I could set my eyes and my efforts on the big whale of a loving friendship and a need I could fill.
That’s the weird thing about this ever elusive balancing act. When we get it right? When we make the right choice?
Oh the joy! The fulfillment.
That peace in knowing you are holding that thing which is most important right in the grip of your hands, settling it into the folds of your heart…
It’s really something, isn’t it?
If only I could share a pie chart that reflected my lovely life of right choices. But I can’t. Not even close.
I envision what it would look like if I created one for you to see.
It would be a pathetic image:
Slivers of my priorities.
And a big-ol’-piece-of-empty- calorie-laden-non-nourishing-filling of…
Schools of fish.
Bubbling whispers unheard in the throes of the wrong choices.
I’m painfully aware of the options I dismiss.
Oh, how I want to make the right choice every time.
I know some things will come up and take first seat in the priority list as they warrant our attention. I realize there are priorities we cannot control, that immediately render first place.
But oh there are so many other times I DO have a choice.
It’s up to me to make the right one.
What are your priorities? Do you have feisty fish keeping you from them too?
How about that pie chart?
(I’m totally craving a pie right now- WITH that sugary dreamy filling.)
Lets all keep swatting at the fish and take hold of the things that matter most.
So with all that said-
Please excuse me now…
I see a whopper of a whale with my husband’s name on it.