My spiritual director is a quiet, gentle man. His spirit is opposite mine, I guess, in many ways. About once a month I sit in an office and talk about my prayer life and how I sense God in my stuff and what not.
I have no idea if this is standard spiritual direction or if I just highjack that train. Either way, it’s the life I live.
So, anyway, here I am, telling this holy man about all the things and he says to me, gently, quietly, that maybe I should try to take more time for myself. Like, a lot more.
And I stared at him. Because, I didn’t even know how to start that process.
“How many hours a week do you do something for yourself?” he asked.
My mind flipped through my schedule. It’s tight. Work/ volunteer/ groceries/ household responsibilities/ church responsibilities/ projects/ class/ exercise….
But, I gave myself a touch of exaggeration and said, “Maybe two or three.”
And he said, “That should be closer to eight or twelve.”
Cue imaginary jaw hitting an imaginary floor.
WHAT IS THAT SUPPOSED TO LOOK LIKE?!?!?
A few days later, I was talking to some family members. I’d been asked to head something else. Something rather large and daunting.
My brother turned to me, “What would it look like,” he asked, “if you said ‘no’ for one month?”
And I couldn’t answer that question.
Because I don’t know.
Someone, as I was even writing this, just called me to invite me to a specialty gathering tomorrow. I said I’d go. I enjoy parties. The people seem cool.
Only, there’s a pile of art at home that I haven’t touched in months…because somehow self care is the lowest priority for me.
And I just wish I was better at this. I want to do everything, ya’ll. ALL THE THINGS. I want to throw 100 parties and take 100 classes and create 100 art…but, I can’t. Because I need to sleep, too. And exercise. And pray.
I don’t know what a balanced schedule looks like, I guess, because I always just want to do more. I want to write more…lots more! I want to take more circus classes…all of them! How to walk using my hands! How to strengthen my core for the silks! Trapeze! Lyra! I want to paint things! Carve things! SEW THINGS!
But I also want to talk to my people. I need to talk to them. I need to make them simple foods so we can eat together and share life that way.
And I need to sleep. The darkness of the winter always wipes me out.
There is a plaque near the front of my church. It has a quote from a man who served here as priest centuries back.
“God knows how many plans,” he wrote, “great and small, for schools and missions pass through my head, for the Indians, for the deaf-mutes, for the children of the poor. My mind, my imagination, and still more, my heart are full of projects…”
Sometimes, in the dark of the chapel, I walk past his tomb and hold the carved bust of his likeness with both of my hands cupped around the metal face.
“Let me open your cause,” I whisper, sometimes fiercely.
Because I know, man. Do I ever know.