Tuesday, October 09, 2007


"Empty time is not a vacuum to be filled.

It is the thing that enables

the other things on your mind

to be creatively rearranged,

like the empty square

in the 4x4 puzzle

which make it possible to move

the other 15 pieces around."
Harvard Dean, Harry Lewis

I copied this quote into my journal a few months ago. Isn't it true? I find I need time to be able to be creative, to see things differently, to truly live life.

I spent so many years with every waking moment filled. I was busy and I accomplished a lot. I was very productive. But I wasn't that happy. I wouldn't have had time to write anything in a journal!

Now, life has changed. I am no longer a classroom teacher working a ridiculous number of hours every week. I'm not even on any committees, or in charge of anything, but our home and the kiddos. While I maybe really busy taking care of the boys at different times of the day (and night), our schedule is such that many days we don't even leave the house. I love that.

The six week period of staying home everyday last Autumn while Pumpkin was in his cast really changed a lot of the way I look at life. I enjoy going out and am not a recluse by any stretch, but I've come to appreciate my home and my life more.

I enjoy the quiet moments during naps and after bedtimes to just read, write, blog, or work on my collages and scrapbooks and cards. I don't feel a need to be busy. That's not to say that I don't enjoy spending an evening with Sweetheart out, or with friends, I do. But I could never go back to what life was like before and still be happy and sane.

Those little 4x4 puzzles Harry was talking about were always so hard for me to solve. I'd constantly try to just shove the pieces around and try to force them into the pattern. I usually wouldn't bother to slow down, look at the big picture, and plan how to make it work. I'd get so frustrated trying to just move the pieces without thinking of the next step that I'd rarely ever solve the puzzle, but would just give up and toss it down.

My life was like that, too. I'd be so overwhelmed and frustrated trying to balance everything I was doing, that I'd finally give up; instead of slowing down and trying to get perspective and realizing that the only way to solve the puzzle would be to have more space in my life. The only way that space would appear would be by my saying, "No," to some of the things I was trying to do. Now, the things I was doing were all good things, but I've since learned that I don't need to be the one doing them all.

One of the greatest myths I believed for a long time was that I was the only one who could do something. It was often that I was the only one willing to do that thing. Do you want to know what I learned? If I was the only one willing to do something, it must not really be that important. If it was truly important, then someone else could and would step up and do it. It didn't need to be all up to me to do.

This was hardest to accept on things that I thought I "should" do, especially when it came to my students. I didn't want to disappoint my students. Or, it might be a really good event to plan for school, or even church. There are so many good things I could do! Now, though, I'd rather save up my energy and do fewer things better.

I remember telling myself, and Sweetheart, that things would settle down after a particular event would be over. Hah. Maybe for a day it would be better, but then I'd jump into the next thing immediately. Come on, I'd start planning the next school year on the second day of summer. Seriously.

Wow. I was just planning to post the quote, and not pour my heart out. These are ideas that have been floating around in my mind for awhile. I guess they finally needed to come out. Can I say, I'm amazed that I've had the time to actually write all this in one sitting? Both boys are still snoozing. What a blessed gift in the middle of the day!

Note--Dumpling had his one month check today. He's gained two pounds and grown 1 3/4 inches since his arrival last month. Guess all those feedings have paid off! It also explains why I'm having trouble fitting him into his clothes.
Our pediatrician is the greatest. I taught one of his boys 8 years ago. Now he's watching my sons grow up. He was so reassuring about all my mommy concerns. We consider him such a great part of the boys' lives.

Dumpling Smiling at His Aunt Yesterday

Guess the post I was planning to do today on "Things This New Mommy Loves" will have to be done another day. I'll also be including the Scriptures I wrote out on cards to read during labor. They were really helpful to me, maybe they can encourage someone else as well.


BaileyZimmerman said...

It's so nice that you have figured this out at such a young age.....I didn't come to the same realization til I was in my late 40's.
I love solitude!!
Glad that you are finding wonderful pockets of time!

Mimi said...

so nice that you are able to come to the realization that you are not the be all do all person... and you can give of yourself to your family...
you have a beautiful young family and it's great that you also have time for yourself!!!

Jodi said...

If I was the only one willing to do something, it must not really be that important. If it was truly important, then someone else could and would step up and do it. It didn't need to be all up to me to do.

Ouch! I should have had that on a t-shirt to wear at church a few years ago when I was running a children's choir of 60 - by myself!!

What a thoughtful post, Kimberly. I completely understand your point. In fact, we're struggling through this with my husband right now. Not that he's overloading himself by choice, but he's overloaded because of his company's unrealistic expectations. (No one should have to work 100+ hours a week!) And when you are that busy . . . you feel like you lose a sense of who you are! He has no time to just think. How is one supposed to meditate on the Word of God, if they have no time to think? So in our family we pray, keep our eyes opened for - um - opportunity ;o), and wait on God's timing . . . because we believe God wants us to take the time to mull and ponder Him ... His creation ... His Word. (Love the Harry Lewis quote, by the way!)

Jodi said...

Oops ~ I was so focused on your thoughts I forgot you included a picture of Dumpling. What a cutie pie he is! And a pediatrician you really like is a blessing. I so miss the one we left behind when we moved last winter.

Adrienne said...

You will live longer and be much more relaxed and rested since you realized you can't do it all! Enjoy your quiet times when the boys are napping. Thanks for letting us see your beautiful Dumpling. He's so precious. ~Adriene~


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