By Kelly

Last night, as I waited for my brain to turn off and the drowsiness to descend, I read through my journal from last year.

I was sad and slightly startled to see how much depth my writing had 12 months ago. These days, my writing tends toward the surface and the amusing. Nothing wrong with that, inherently. It’s a large part of who I am. I’m always thrilled when good friends tell me my blog is exactly like the real-life me. That’s a compliment.

Yet, I’m not a shallow person. At least, I didn’t use to be.

“I’m forlorn,” I thought to myself as I snuggled under the comforter, drowsiness padding my brain. “Yes, that’s it exactly. I’m forlorn.”

Waking up this morning to sunshine and cereal with blueberries and “Diego’s Moonlight Rescue,” I didn’t feel quite so melancholy. (My sanguine personality wastes little time throwing pity parties. They aren’t fun.)

But the basic premise remains: This year, I’m living. But I’m not delighting. At least, not enough.

I know much of this can be chalked up to the changes of the last year. New house, new city, new baby, new school, new church, new friends, new schedule. New, new, new. Who has time to reflect and ponder and wonder when the dishwasher needs to be unloaded and the dinner needs to be made and the kids need lunch and the baby needs to be held? Oh, and did I mention my husband has been gone at least a week each month on business trips?

Thus, I have been consumed by the urgent, day-to-day details of life. It takes a lot of energy to keep this many plates spinning.

And while I truly love the adventure of the new and the delight of new discoveries – and yes, a part of me even delights in the challenge of keeping the plates spinning – I also miss the old me.

The old me was better at balancing the surface, urgent life with the deep, important life. I was better at playing with my children, instead of excusing myself under the guise of getting another task accomplished. I was better at noticing the simple gifts in my path each day, instead of rushing about, like a chicken desperate to get its fill of grain before the wind blows it away.

I had more margin in my soul. More space. More room to breathe.

How do I get it back?

Originally posted August 20, 2008

Find Kelly blogging Love Well.

5 Responses to Margin
  1. Hannah
    August 12, 2009 | 11:10 pm

    Pray about it? And maybe realizing it is half (or more) of the battle.

  2. Karen
    August 13, 2009 | 8:16 am

    I know exactly where you are coming from on this. Our newest baby really threw me into the be as organized as I can be mode to try and survive. That is okay for a time but as he is nearing four months old, it is time to get back to how it should be. I love how you put I have been living but not delighting. That is really insightful.

    One of the things I have been doing is allowing my brain to go into to do list mode. It really is quite happy there. But, along with or even overshadowing the tasks such as sweep, clean kitchen, etc. I have been mentally adding in things like color with my toddler, read to everyone, take the family outside to play, and I do them. It sounds regimented but for me it has been freeing. It keeps my mind focused on really being present with my children, family, and friends. It makes me remember how important it is.

    Another thing is something I read somewhere out in the blogosphere. I rethink those to do lists. There is never a day that I don’t get things done. How can there be with two under two? But somedays my list more looks like 1. change everyone’s diaper 2. feed everyone (remembering myself) 3. get everyone dressed etc. 4.cuddle a sad toddler who doesn’t understand why mommy doesn’t focus all of her attention on her anymore. When I look at it from that perspective I realize I have been very productive.

    Last and most important, pray. Let God set your priorties. He will give you the tools you need to accomplish His work, His agenda. These are the things that have been working for me.

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