We have turned the corner and stepped into the busy season, or as my sister-in-law calls it, the “eating season.” Either way, it’s busy because we have lots to do and lots of good food to eat. When you find yourself tired and tapped out, I encourage you to build some pauses into your days. Take time to remember the reason we are celebrating, and enjoy the special moments which come so frequently this time of year.
Do you know that old phrase, “Running around like a chicken with its head cut off”?
Once, when I was around nine or 10, I was at my grandparents’ farm when they butchered chickens. Before that, I didn’t know that the chickens could actually run crazily around the barnyard without their heads…until finally after a few headless laps they would just stop.
This scene sent me running to the apple orchard where I hid in the top of an apple tree with my red bandana over my eyes and my fingers in my ears until the whole thing was over. Hiding in the limbs of the apple tree was my way of escaping an overwhelming and unpleasant situation.
Happy Thanksgiving, right? Don’t stop reading yet. I’m not encouraging you to go find a tree to climb in the middle of cooking Thanksgiving dinner or wrapping Christmas presents. I’m just saying, sometimes we all need to step back from the holiday noise and activity.
This must be how we look to God sometimes. We are running around in every direction trying to do all the things we must in this life and sometimes we get so tired and overloaded that we finally just stop out of frustration and exhaustion. We can look like chickens with our heads cut off running aimlessly in every direction without any focus…or like one of the kids in The Family Circus comic strip whose activity cartoonist, Bil Keane so cleverly tracked throughout their busy days.
Sometimes, pausing means simply stepping off the treadmill of busy-ness to give yourself the chance to regroup and renew your strength. This will also give you the opportunity to enjoy what is happening around you, to be thankful for your blessings, and to be mindful of the needs of others.
The world is much busier even during non-holiday times than it was when I was young. I didn’t say “easier” as we had to do a lot more steps to do things that are now done at the touch of a few buttons from home, or remotely with our oh-so-smart phones.
Besides our families and friends and jobs to keep track of, there’s that whole other world of social media out there. I ignored and didn’t participate in social media for a long time because basically, I was so busy with my non-virtual life, that I didn’t want one more thing to have to do…or worse, to do halfway. But then I realized, by not participating, I was missing out on the opportunity to connect with long distance family and friends more frequently and to keep up with the events in their lives.
In the midst of this busy, eating season, don’t forget to push the pause button to give yourself time to rest. Only you know what you need to renew your strength…a power nap, some devotional time with your Bible, a visit with a neighbor or a friend, a favorite TV show, a massage, a call to your mom (to my kids…yes, call your mom), or perhaps simply a cup of coffee or tea and some quiet time. Whatever gives you a chance to slow the activity level long enough to regain your enthusiasm for it.
Life is not an infinite resource and we are only here for a short time, so don’t skim over the moments that make life grand and give it meaning. And now that I’ve taken this wonderful pause to write to you, I have a cheeseball and some cornbread dressing and a few other family favorites to whip up. Happy Thanksgiving!
Author’s note: “The Family Circus” comic strip was originally titled “The Family Circle” and was based on cartoonist, Bil Keane’s own family. Started in 1960, it has run continuously ever since. Mr. Keane died in 2011 at the age of 89 and his son, Jeff Keane, now draws the comic and carries on his father’s work. Check out The Family Circus website for a fun, new comic every day! http://familycircus.com/