My Facebook status said, “Having the house all to myself while hubby is at work and #3 Son is away at camp was a great idea! For the first twelve hours.”
That’s fairly accurate, except that I had already been feeling as though I’d had enough as I entered the 4th hour.
For years, I’d griped about not having enough time to myself, not having enough peace and quiet, not having the ability to decide what I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it. Now that I had it, I didn’t want it. The house was too quiet, I had too much freedom, and I couldn’t decide what I wanted to do or when I wanted to do it. I was, figuratively speaking, lost in my own house.
It wasn’t as though I didn’t have enough to do, either, because I had projects galore and looming deadlines. But, once there was no one else around and I’d been given the time and space I’d longed for, I didn’t know how to structure it for myself.
At first, I went gangbusters, humming along at my workstation, moving through the pages… Then I found myself stalled, wondering what #3 Son was doing at camp, or how hubby was faring at work. Suddenly, I felt sure that our houseplants were dry as bone, so I went to water them. On my way through the dining room, I noticed the pile of junk mail on the table that had to be read through – thoroughly – just to make certain there weren’t any nuggets of importance buried inside. There weren’t. I was amazed at how thirsty being on my own made me, because I needed another drink of water, which reminded me to refill the ice cube trays, which reminded me to see how much iced tea mix was left. There was plenty. Whew. It’s critical to have enough iced tea mix on hand in case a band of nomads stop in and you want to offer them something refreshing to drink. Thankfully, I’m ready for them. Ms. Daisy strolled by for some affection, so I had to check how long her nails were to see if they were scratching up my floors. They weren’t. I was tempted to go check my Facebook and Twitter accounts, but resisted, since that would obviously be a distraction from my work. One time, the mail carrier made a second stop at our house, probably because he found that some of our mail had sunk to the bottom of his bag. So, I went to check to see if it was a second-delivery day. It wasn’t. I went back to my workstation to continue my project, but then wondered if that chipmunk had dug the hole deeper at the root of the tomato plants. I went outside to see. He had, doggone thing. I covered it up, even though I know he’ll just dig it again. I marched back into the house, only to realize that it was time to start making supper. Mark wasn’t due home for another two hours, but I didn’t want to serve him leftovers I’d warmed in a hurry. That brought to mind the fact that I hadn’t finished the project I’d begun that morning, so I went back to my workstation. But, then I thought of the house plants again and wondered if, since I was so thirsty today, they were, too. So, I went to water them…
Have you ever had a day like that? Perhaps it’s not been as extreme mine was, but I’ll bet that you’ve experienced the same kind of not-really-wanting-what-you-thought-you-wanted. It’s human nature – we always want what we think we can’t have, and when we have it, we don’t know what to do with it.
I’m so grateful that God knows better than we do. He knows whether we need quiet or chaos, joy or sorrow, ease or hardship. Sure, he may allow us to waste a day here or there out of our human weakness, but he’s got the overall plan for our lives. He’ll give us what we need, when we need it, and in the way that we need it. He’s the best one to manage, not only our time, but our entire lives.
There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven—
A time to give birth and a time to die;
A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.
A time to kill and a time to heal;
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to weep and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn and a time to dance.
A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing.
A time to search and a time to give up as lost;
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear apart and a time to sew together;
A time to be silent and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate;
A time for war and a time for peace.
What profit is there to the worker from that in which he toils? I have seen the task which God has given the sons of men with which to occupy themselves. (Ecc 3:1-10)