Sometimes, inadvertently, I pride myself on being busy. To wit, I hate being busy, but all the same I seem to cultivate the lifestyle of busy-ness for myself, and then talk about it ad infinitum: how I have no time.
Time just is, right? Still I seem to make it something in my mind, giving it clearance to rule my life as a static, fillable thing of limited resource.
But is it?
Because sometimes time is the thing that crawls so slowly then speeds up willy-nilly, then mercifully pauses—an elongated heartbeat, a deep breath, an awakening against the chaos.
The other night, long after bedtime came and went and the TV was still on and every light in the house flared and kids were bustling about, wired and loud and making toast, I rounded them up. Reluctantly. Because they have a job and it was time to work.
They pulled sweatshirts over their heads, slid on shoes, donned headlamps and work gloves and jumped on to the car’s running boards. I turned on the ignition, the hazards, the playlist, then slowly backed out of the driveway… a mom-car decorated with the limbs of children and the gleam of flashlights.
Inching slowly around the neighborhood like some type of odd, fanciful, midnight parade, I’d stop the car and the kids would jump off to gather flags we’d placed in lawns earlier in the day. Just like the Boy Scout program but different, because instead of American flags they are college football flags; and instead of holidays, it’s on game days; but all the same it’s a job that is funded graciously by our neighbors and affords my kids the luxury (yep, luxury) to work hard then donate the money to charity.
This year, it’s for refugees.
And I’m sure it’s that fact, that act, right there. That we are doing something together, outside ourselves, for a greater cause, coupled with the fact that we are just outside, and flying against the darkness while the cold air of winter-coming-on wildly messes with our hair and fingertips… but before I know it, the kids are laughing big belly laughs. They are laughing that someone’s head almost hit a tree branch. That a rebar is stuck into a lawn, that someone threw a flag into the back of the car too wildly, that they have finally figured out the lyrics to a complicated chorus on the playlist.
They are laughing because they are entrenched in the moment. They’ve forgotten that I tore them away from a warm kitchen, that toast grows cold on the counter, and the TV is still on at home. There’s nothing else but this. And just like that, time pauses: the elongated heartbeat, a moment captured, time standing still.
Time standing still—stillness—is the ultimate antidote to the feeling of busy. Even in the midst of busy.
At this busy, busy time of year, my wish for you and me is that we capture those moments when time stands still. That we remember to laugh in the midst of work. That we remember joy in the midst of the chaos. And that we commit to this joy by serving and loving and giving to a neighbor—whether they’re from another country or just down the block.
Happy Holidays, my friends!
Brooke Benton, Editor
We are grateful for the chance to give to our local refugees. You can be a part of this too. On December 3, a huge service opportunity is coming to Draper. Head to page – to join us.