This morning I took a very long shower. Very. Long. Longer than I probably had time for. Certainly longer than necessary. I could have accomplished something in the time I spent standing under the stream of near-scalding water thinking of nothing at all but how good it felt to be there and how long I could stay before the water went cold or guilt got the best of me.
It’s so easy for me to focus and dwell on the things that I don’t do well. The places I fall short. The tasks and projects left unfinished or, worse, not yet started at all. It’s so easy to look around and see the messes and the broken drawer, the laundry pile and the dirty floors, the falling-down stacks of paper on my desk, the pile for Goodwill taking up valuable space in our dining room.
It’s so easy to think about what I forgot to buy at the grocery store, or how I should have bought gas on Thursday so I could have saved five cents per gallon. How I’ve already strayed from my weekly meal plan (and it’s only TUESDAY). It’s so easy to sit in my house and spend my time thinking about all the things there are to do that I’ve never quite done right. And still, they need doing again and again. All those tasks of home and family.
Why can’t I sit here and more actively appreciate what I can do. What I accomplish on a daily basis. What I have. Why can’t I focus and dwell on a warm, safe house for my family. The dishwasher running in the kitchen. Hot water in my shower. Extra boots in the closet for my growing 4-year-old. A vacation day to take when doctors’ appointments need attending. The sun shining in the window of my room.
Or, better yet. How my kids want to see me at the end of the day. How excited they were this morning upon learning that I wasn’t going to work today. That I’d be picking them up after school. How tonight’s dinner is (mostly) planned and the rest of the week is full of activities for the kids that they’re excited about. How my Sweetie shaved this morning and smiled his grinny smile and looked, as he got dressed––as I got to watch him get dressed––exactly like the person he is when he’s unshaven. Which is to say, entirely the same as when he’s gone a few months without shaving and yet different somehow in a way that guts me with love and desire and awe.
I am trying to listen. I am trying hard. And I’m learning that so much of what I need to listen to is inside of me. That in these rare moments of solitude in a house usually full to bursting with life and noises there still is plenty of listening left to be done.
It’s a New Year of Just Write. I hope you’ll head on over to Heather’s place and take part. Read, write, listen.