It’s unusually quiet in the house this morning. Everyone else is still sleeping and even the puppy seems content in his bed. Why am I awake? I had looked forward to this week off for so long. My body and mind are exhausted and the only thing on my agenda for the week was to sleep late every day. And yet, here I am awake, as if it were any other day in which my schedule overflowed with things that had to be done. The difference is there is nothing on the schedule for today, nothing that must be done.
I guess I really don’t do well with unscheduled time. As much as I knew that I needed this week to rest and recharge, here I am, wide awake, unable to switch off the thoughts that fill my head, so that I could truly rest. Usually my calendar overflows with meetings and plans. I know that my need for constant activity is driven in part by my desire to make up for the time that I wasted in my younger years. However, it is also driven by something much deeper, my attempt to outrun the grief and emotional trauma of events from my past. My busyness keeps my mind occupied in the now, limiting the amount time I have for my mind to wander.
And yet, as I get older, I am realizing that I will not be able to keep up this pace forever. At some point I must develop better coping skills that are sustainable for the long haul, for times when I might be physically unable to keep up the pace that I do now. This morning, I admit to myself that I am worried that my worsening back injury might slow me down sooner, than later. How will I react if I must sit out some of the activities that I enjoy? What will I do when my kids are grown and there is more quiet time in my house? Is it possible for me to be happy living at a slower pace?
The puppy is wide awake now, running towards my daughter’s room. The quiet of the morning is about to be shattered by spontaneous laughter and joy. What will I do when there are fewer moments such as this to break through the quiet of my life? I guess time will tell. In the meantime, on with the day.
Rev. Lisa LeSueur
Rev. Lisa LeSueur is the Pastor of Congregational and Staff Care at Coral Gables United Church of Christ and a member of the Board of Directors of the UCC Mental Health Network. She serves as the UCC Florida Conference WISE Mental Health Coordinator and the Suicide Prevention Initiative Coordinator for Nami Miami. She lives in Coral Gables, Florida with her wife and their two children.