picture retrieved from y9npk.edublogs.org
We move through mounds of snow, he and I, in slow, steady motion. Cutting our way through the drift, making our way around the various obstacles that mark our path. We make a u-turn when branches block our path, finding ourselves cutting a wide berth around the small blue shop where our two cats sleep under the warm heat lamp. Our poles there to guide us, while our feet remain securely encased in a web of wire and plastic, we push forward. Awkwardly, we make our way around the barn in fading light of day. I misstep and find myself nearly toppling over, but catch myself just in time. Moving this way is hard. It is challenging- but so worth the effort it took to get my weary soul out here in the brisk air.
We find ourselves in the middle of our back field walking in rhythmic motion, carefully watching each step. It is beautiful here in the quiet of this open field. In the still of this snowy evening. And snowshoeing is a fine way to pass the time- albeit not the easiest way to get around. Earlier, the clutter of supper preparations and a day’s worth of toys, books, and other odds and ends surrounded me. I almost didn’t make it out here- feeling there was just one more thing I should have been doing. One more task to attend to. Getting outside to play and move about all seems such a luxury for me as a mother. It is easy to see why we women and mothers forgo pleasure when the demands of life appear so urgent. And perhaps some fathers are guilty of the same. Mealtimes, laundry, housecleaning, school work, life- it all seems so pressing and urgent. So needing of our time.
Shauna Niequist, writing of her goals for this brand new year, had this to say about her resolution to live life this year with more focus on living in the moment and enjoying the little things in life- the small pleasures:
“Burn the candles. Not just when people come over. (Burn them) for you, because someone gave them to you. Open the wine and have a glass tonight while you fold laundry. Wear the perfume, the pretty scarf, the whatever that you have tucked in a box, too fancy for you.
This year, brew the good coffee, wear the sparkly jewelry, crack open that fresh journal. Gifts are to be loved, to be burned, to be eaten and used up completely, reminders that someone loves us, that someone thought of us.
Because it’s not about candles or coffee. It’s about believing that you’re worth the good stuff, that someone wanted you to feel loved and seen and known” – Shauna Niequist
Like Shauna, I often feel I am not worth the good stuff. And by good stuff- for me, I mean time. We never feel that we have enough time in this busy, frantic world we live in. And with our busy schedules, finding time is nothing short of a miracle. There is always going to be one more thing we should be doing- one more task requiring our attention. And how easy it is to put ourselves on the back-burner, sacrificing the small pleasures of this hard life in the name of duty and obligation. Life is hard enough- must we make it even harder on ourselves by denying ourselves what we enjoy?
So to Shauna’s resolution to enjoy small pleasures, I will add my own call to make time. Make time for pleasure. Make time for play. Make time for you. Taking time to do what it is you love. Making time- even if that means putting life demands on hold for a while. Leaving piles of dirty dishes on our counters- so that we can get outside and breathe in the air that replenishes our soul. Leaving laundry so that we can rest and replenish- even if but for a moment.
Shauna’s call to burn the candles will underpin my own call to walk away from duty and breathe, rest and play.
Go for that walk that you’ve been aching for all day.
Take that bubble bath and soak for a good long while.
Turn off the computer and read that book of which you’ve been dying to crack the covers open.
Go for that drive to the ocean to watch the waves.
Sit in a chair and daydream.
Let your hair down and dance.
Take a nap.
Make this the year that you say ‘yes’ to time.
Make this the year that you find pleasure in doing what you love- whatever that might be.
We can be certain: there will always be another job or expectation on our list of obligations. Making time to do what brings us joy needs to be at the top of that list.