Sitting outside on our back porch in a swath of unusually cool air, H and I were lingering in early evening darkness with our books and laptops. After I finished The Great Gatsby I posted this picture through my Instagram feed onto Facebook, adding this update: Reading outside with the crickets. #coolnights. And this was the response I received from one person who commented:
I want your life. No chaos. Just reading. Writing. Quietness.
My first reaction? Fear I’d been found out. I’m not busy, which means I’m a loser, I thought. I literally felt heat on my cheeks and my heart began racing.
A few minutes later, a good friend came to my defense: I hate to break it to you, but no one in the 21st century has a life of just reading, writing, quiet and no chaos (well, maybe a monk). Moments of no chaos, maybe. But a life? No. Especially a mom with kids, even older kids.
I thought about it while agreeing with what she said and then I responded.
I am enjoying a season of peaceful quiet as my kids grow up however, it comes with the excruciating ache of loneliness, which in my opinion is worse than busy chaos. I’m thinking about starting a FB Campaign to debunk the myths we create with our idealistic status updates. Want to join me anyone?
I haven’t started that campaign yet but the feeling of being found out about my un-busyness, it drifts into more situations than just Facebook. I feel oddly out of place in small group discussions with other mothers as my kids grow up. Women talk about how frazzled they are, complaining about the lack of family dinners with everyone present around the table; stressed out with their lists of volunteer commitments.
I usually keep my mouth shut.
Because busyness isn’t a badge of honor for me, it’s a two hundred pound weight. Our lives are meaningful and full with responsibility, but our house is mostly quiet and peaceful. I know. I’m tragically out of place, right?
In the early years of my kid’s lives, I spent most days feeling like I needed a nap but as they grew up and found their places of belonging, motherhood excluded logging miles on my mini-van, spending weekends seated in folding chairs in the grass or running copies in the school office.
Though I do, at times, struggle with feeling left out of the community aspect of my children’s lives that I enjoyed during their adolescence, I’ve come to terms with the fact that the trajectory of their lives and my own isn’t conformity. God didn’t make us like that.
There is an old part of myself puddled in fear that rises to the surface when I think about sharing this post with you. The part that fears no one will relate to an un-busy lifestyle which will confirm that I am, indeed, a loser. But my new self, the one that cares about an audience of One more than the masses, I’m okay with the possible embarrassment that comes with revealing my true self.
Perhaps in the early days of motherhood, –wearing the weight of weariness around my waist and living in the tension between responsibility and passions I pushed off — was a longing for quietness to hear my soul think. The fact that I’ve arrived at that destination is a gift, not an embarrassment.
I think every season of life has its hardships and hurdles but you know, that is the very thing that gives us hope. And hope pulls us into the future. Without adversity, we have nothing to become brave for . . . that’s how I ended our conversation on Facebook.
And the cricket choir chirps on in the darkness.
Have you ever felt guilty for not being busy “enough?”
Join us in the comments and for further discussion at Redemptions Beauty Book Club on The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown as we talk this week about Letting Go of Exhaustion as a Status Symbol & Productivity as Self-Worth and Letting Go of Anxiety as a Lifestyle. This is day 22 of 31 Days of Letting Go in the Deep End. Find out more here and join us for daily posts delivered to your inbox by adding your email address to Subscribe in the sidebar. It only takes a few seconds and it’s painless, I promise.