I had just settled into my chair in my garden with my morning coffee when I was rewarded with my first hummingbird sighting of the season. It was during the long days at home during the pandemic that I first noticed that my garden had begun to attract these enchanting creatures. It was in this very chair that I first caught sight of one of them darting in and out of the lantern bushes in my backyard. Even though I have lived in this house most of my life, it took the forced shutdown of most of life’s normal activities to notice that these beautiful creatures had taken up residence in my yard.
To be honest, it is likely that the hummingbirds have been back for a while. The first hint of fall in Miami occurred several weeks ago when the summer rains subsided, and the temperature had dropped down to the eighties. However, it had been months since I had an opportunity to take my morning coffee outside and quietly sit for a few moments before beginning my daily routine of work. My schedule this last year has been brutal, juggling work, commitments, and family. For me, life has sped up again to the point where I have been growing concerned that I have spread myself too thin, overcommitting myself to too many activities, some of which had been put off during those long months of isolation.
Over the past months, my days have seemed to blend into each other, with no clear beginning or end, as some form of work creeps into my life each, and every day. I have allowed the lines between work and play to become blurred by the sheer volume of the tasks before me. This constant motion in too many different directions has not served me well. Lately, I have felt that familiar feeling I get in my head when my blood pressure is elevated and the subtle feeling in my head that indicates a migraine is on the horizon. I have noticed that feeling of anxiety that rises from my core, affecting the way that I breathe and process stimulation.
I take little comfort in knowing that I am not alone and that so many people I have spoken with lately are feeling that same fast-forward motion as life kicks back into full gear. Like so many, I missed the parts of my life that had come to a halt during the worst of the pandemic. However, I do not think I was quite ready for life to resume full speed ahead, with so many commitments and a calendar that is overly full, once again.
In this quiet moment in the garden, I realized the toll this pace was taking on me and just how good it felt just to be outside again. I knew I had to commit myself to reestablishing balance in my life, leaving more time on my calendar that is intentionally unscheduled; more time to breathe. I got up from my chair, walked back into the house to refill my mug, and glanced down at my phone. I resisted the urge to pick it up to check my emails, instead leaving it on the counter, and walking back out to the garden where I would stay for the rest of the morning, a huge first step for prioritizing myself.
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.