Nap time at last; time for tea!
I filled my mug from the cold pot, popped it in the microwave for a couple of minutes and waited impatiently for that soul-refreshing experience that is my nap time cuppa ritual. With a cheerful double beep, it was done.
I reached for the milk but, this is awkward, I’d been a bit heavy-handed in my hasty pour and there was really too much tea in the cup to top it with my desired dash of dairy.
I tried anyway – administering a tiny, clumsy plop and the skimpiest of swirls, but the cup was too full to move. It was a sad moment. Reluctantly, I admitted defeat, decanting teaspoonfuls from the full cup down the drain.
The ritual had lost much of its magic; its flow. I mean the tea was still alright but the experience as a whole was just unsatisfying.
Have you ever found your days crammed full to overflowing, yet unsatisfying?
When we found out we were expecting I couldn’t wait to be a stay-at-home mum, but when the time came it was a challenge to adjust to the strange new pace. My days blurred into one another. It didn’t really feel like I was achieving anything purposeful, but I always had so much to do.
I started noticing how many times I’d answer the question “How are you?” with “Busy”, or, even more irritatingly, “You know, busy” – like busy was simply the normal and expected state of being.
I would get kind of annoyed at things I’d read about slow living and making margins and practicing self-care. I didn’t get it. I was already living slowly and there was no time.
I didn’t want less. I wanted more. I wanted to do something that I wouldn’t have to do again tomorrow.
Then, as my baby grew into a toddler, life started evening out and the truth is I’ve found a new appreciation for the spaces between. I’m realizing now that time is one of my most important assets.
This slower pace of life which in the past would have had me twitching restlessly is becoming such a joy to me. I crave the way that a little space can enhance my whole day. Milk and tea do not separate as oil and water; they become one homogeneous liquid- something new. This is the way that space in our lives mingles throughout our days, enhancing and even creating the whole experience.
Being busy can be good, but space is needed to figure out where to put our resources to work effectively.
Any designer or artist will tell you that the spaces between the shapes and words are just as important to the overall experience of a piece as the shapes and words themselves.
The same is true for our lives. The margins are not dead and unused. The margins teem with life. When there is space, there can be both spontaneity and consistency, two things I need every day as a parent.
It’s in the space that I notice moments with my son that I could otherwise so easily miss.
Space is the difference between rushing an explanation or a teaching opportunity, and having the time to convey a lesson and check for understanding. I can only teach my toddler to wait if I have the time to wait myself. I have more opportunities to model self-control if I have the time to spare. A slower pace means time to check the facts, decisions better made, bodies better cared for.
The space I once misunderstood has become a vista point from which I see the ever-gracious hand of God teaching me patience. Here I think clearer, work smarter, I am more present, and life is more satisfying.
I believe that when we are intentional about time, we are better stewards of all our resources.
A slower pace should not cause us to stagnate, instead it provides time to stop and consider the options before we apply ourselves whole-heartedly to the right tasks.
The tea is way better when I leave space for the milk.
And when I leave space in my life, it seems,
God brings milk and honey.
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Cat is a follower of Jesus, the tea-drinking wife of a coffee roaster and the stay-at-home mum of one busy toddler. She delights in the mingling of art and science, small and simple pleasures, wit and whimsy, and the doing of life. Her heart is to encourage. When she’s not pottering behind the scenes at Precision Coffee Roasters, you’ll likely find her eating cake, trying new recipes, making lists, or just playing – with or without a child.