I did it at least twice – once right after I signed out of work on Friday and once while taking a drive with the fam. I didn’t think about all the books I wanted to read right now or the books I’m trying to write or that I wish I had written or that I wonder if someday I’ll write. I wasn’t surfing facebook or twitter, texting anyone, watching television or movies, loading the dishwasher or flipping laundry. And I wasn’t even giving into the feeling that I should be doing one of these things.
I gotta tell you, I’m not a crazy-busy person. I realized a long time ago that mostly we’re only crazy-busy in this life if we choose to be. And I don’t choose it. I consider evenings at home with my boys the hard-earned reward of that choice, and I’m really glad and proud when the week has more of those than others. Plus, the kind of busy we are, which is mostly our kids’ ball games of various sports, is a kind of busy I deeply enjoy. So that helps too.
Still, most of the time – and lately I’ve noticed this to a painful degree – I’m doing something all the time. And I’ve noticed that I do them lately with this weird sense of urgency. I feel like I’m in a terrible hurry to get the next book written. And I’m definitely in a hurry to read, because the To-Be-Read pile grew dramatically while I went through chemo and couldn’t really count on my brain to remember movies we saw in the theater, let alone to focus on the sentences in a book. Normally I have a conclusion when I share something like that from my life, but this time I’m a little stumped. Why am I in such a hurry? I feel like it might be because cancer makes you face the unpredictability of life. But I’m not too sure. It’s definitely not the frame of mind with which I hoped to emerge from this trial.
Do you ever feel jealous of a child? The way they sink into their favorite movies without wondering how their facebook newsfeed has changed? The way they’re perfectly happy to go outside and wander around the yard with sticks and cowboy boots? It’s inspiring really. I rarely even watch a movie with the single-mindedness I used to, certainly not with the single-mindedness of a child. But this weekend, I did that too.
And somehow, even though I did this nothingness not so much from overcoming the feeling of urgency but because I was just too tired to be in a hurry anymore, the nothingness rewarded me with a contented feeling that’s just as good as the contented feeling I get when I’ve accomplished much. I hope that says something about the productivity of caring for your soul. And I hope it makes my something moments all the more effective.