The snow flakes fall – big and fluffy -for the third time this year and second bigger storm. What is it about the snow? The pretty… the peace… turning all things into a blank canvas. It brings up feelings of hope, cozy and also of pause. Pause in the daily life … pause on plans… and the demand to pause and be home. From childhood on it represents time with family.
Last weekend/into the week, we really enjoy it and I was feeling like I had been the best version of wife, mom, employee as a did a successful dance that kept the house clean, carved out some really good moments of family time, and kept work momentum up. Then Danny shared he has not been taking all his pills, his anxiety had been really high… he needed a reset.. he needed a chance to just focus on him. Maybe a few days.. maybe a week … he could hide out at his parents and get things back on track. Huh? There is a lot to unpack there that range from – you already are not doing well and not taking your meds… to how am I not supposed to dive in and wonder what this means on so many levels. But honestly – not productive. But how to just keep going?
Over the past few days a message from Elisabeth Elliot, a Christian missionary, author, mother and widow whose husband was a martyr at the exact place they had their mission, has found me: just do the next thing. One person mentioned it in regards to the sadness of the state of the world and how to move forward. One writer wrote about it in terms of dealing with her serious breast cancer diagnosis and her new baby’s spinal chord complications (now that is a heavy load). And another blogger spoke about it on social media after receiving sad news about to the diagnosis and life expectancy of her one year old. But also it has found its way to me in not such dramatic things: like a sales training that says you just got follow the process over and over again. Or my parents coaching that things may not be how I expect right now, but my responsibilities remain the same and their is power in seeing them through – that is best way to be a wife and a mother in any situation.
So often I am looking for the lesson… the direction.. the guidance .. the God message of how it is all going to end. How come in the Bible God tells folks stuff in a burning bush or knocking them off their horse or from an angel in a pretty crystal clear message? But it seems like this life requires cobbling together of crumbs to find the right path. But this message actually is even more powerful: maybe let the crumbs not be a focus (yes pray and seek and study), but really just do the next right thing. God will still find me if I am doing laundry… vacuuming.. loving my little lady in the dark… especially when I am the one and only to do these things. In fact, maybe it’s a gift. The full list of responsibilities added the few that had found a different owner back to my plate. But maybe there is a freedom in that reality.
This morning’s snow storm had me on edge. How do I manage Shannon and shovel … what if the power goes out or our heat messes up… what if our washer leaks again or dish washer stops on me again. What if I don’t have daycare on Monday and no other adult? Something about the idea of snow that could make getting help in or heading out harder was throwing me and out being alone. I also had the fantasy that Dan would come back through the door and say his levels are better… his med schedule is good to go and we are enough to fight the anxiety. My emotions started to run away from me. And that is just so perfect for these words…. don’t think about any of that… don’t worry about any of that… just do the next right thing. And in fact when it is getting Shannon nuzzled up on my lap for a nap or planning my week to start an exciting new client project… or to enjoy the sales class I am taking … it’s actually a pretty good to do list.
Over the last 2 weeks I have spoken to friends and family who are in all different stages of life trying to stay motivated to keep walking despite the mental gymnastics of this current life. The pressure or overwhelm or fear or frustration of work life at home, parenting without a lot of outside support or change in scenery, relationships under pressure, to vaccine or not to vaccine – or I did vaccine and I am afraid to say it or I won’t vaccine and I am afraid to say it (this is a strange life). So I decided this simple- just do the next thing: send that email, make a phone call, clean the dishes or change that kid… might be a comfort to us all. And truly, I don’t need to be sad when you know what today has been filled the most with, Shannon loves to give kisses… maybe God is sending me a direct message after all…He and my little girl are right here and love me unconditionally.
Thanks so much for reading and remember to make it a great day!