So, I’ve been slowing down.
I’ve mentioned here before how strange it is that my life seemed to be emptying out this fall. My ESL gig ended when my student moved away. My cub scout calling went away. I’ve passed off some of my AML responsibilities. I didn’t get into grad school. My schedule seemed to be clearing out, and I assumed it was because Something was Coming.
Turns out, the thing that was coming was Nothing. And the sort of creepy thing is that it has been OK.
I have had opportunities to put things back into my schedule, but I have had that sinking, dead feeling whenever I considered them. I’m not always great at being guided by the Spirit in my life, but one thing I learned rather early on (when I was deciding where to go to college, in fact) is that when something is right, I feel interest in it, can’t stop thinking about it, start getting itchy to make it happen. And when it’s wrong, it keeps slipping my mind, and, when reminded, I drag my feet, dreading it.
And I haven’t felt like doing a darn thing lately. I have been a blob at home, managing my duties but nothing else.
But a strange thing is happening. When I don’t have any reason to hurry through my duties, I find myself settling into them, actually (brace yourself) ENJOYING them, feeling like I’m living life right there and then, instead of hurrying to get to the next thing. I used to feel like I needed my writing (for example) in order to reward myself for getting through the other, boring things I needed to do. And now, without the reward, I’m starting to enjoy the doing of the tasks. (Well, except for planning and cooking meals. There’s no enjoying that for me.) I feel like, maybe, this slow time is teaching me how to live.
I recently got a very beautiful blessing from my next-door neighbor, who is in the stake presidency. He even mentioned this—that this is a time for thinning out my schedule. That I’ll be able to do the things I must, but many of the extras will go for a while. This is comforting to me because I have moments of guilt, especially when I’m around my very accomplished writer friends who run marathons, etc. “Is it really OK that I’m not doing a thing in my life?” I wonder. “Am I just being lazy?” I used to care so much about AML, Segullah, ESL, WIFYR, etc. and now I feel so apathetic about them.
But, rather than paralyzing myself with guilt about this, what if I see it as a gift? What if I decide that this apathy is God’s way of helping me to slow down? Because I know that if He really wanted me to be involved, he’d send me that energy and interest, right?
Which is why it’s so confusing that I felt so sure that it was right to apply for grad school last year. I’m finally to the point where I am actually glad that I didn’t get in (because that two-week flu last month would have forced me to drop out. Seriously.) but why did it feel so right to apply?
One possible answer came to me the other day: if God knew it wasn’t right for me to be in school this year, but wanted to send me the message that I’m capable of doing it, that I’m not a complete loser as a writer, having me be #1 on the waiting list was a pretty good way. I got to feel like I was at least good enough to BE there, without having to drop out later. Hmm, it’s a thought.