Sherry Antonetti is a freelance writer, blogger and published author of The Book of Helen. She lives just outside of Washington, DC with her husband and their ten children.
The doctors told me I've gained 20 pounds over six years. Why? I'd been busy. Too busy to exercise. Too busy to eat well. Too busy to give my body the time it needs to rest. She gave me one of those “that's a lame excuse” looks only a doctor who is also a friend can give — and I told her, I'd make time.
This past fall, I started working and found my schedule so crammed, I no longer read to my children every night. Cleaning up one evening after they'd gone to bed, I noticed my nine-year-old's birthday list, which included “time with mom” as a present. Reading together had always been a way I made sure I wasn't too busy. Once again, I knew, the priorities I'd allowed to take precedent weren't the ones that should be dominating my hearth, my home and my life, and I put chapter books on each kid's pillow. We'd begin again, starting today. I wouldn't wait for her birthday to start such a thing.
How could I possibly do more? I'm supposed to work, to keep up with the paperwork, to keep up with the home and the kids, and to somehow write 1K a day, or edit or do something toward writing. How could I possibly manage?
Yet I knew, if I let “busy” take the lead, it would begin with a day and become a week and then a month. No words would be written, and the dream, like my figure, like the time I spend with my children, would be swallowed by time spent on things which when I'm finally not busy, when I'm dead, no one would remember or notice that I did. Did I want my life to be a long list of errands, and not a story of memories?
The ladies of the Auxiliary Legion of Mary wanted me to pray the Rosary daily. Part of me balked. “No,” my brain said. They've got to be kidding. I just don't have the time. I'm... busy. The word caught me again. What we do reveals what we value. What we value reveals who we are. What I'd revealed by my squandering of gifts, was I'd proven myself a poor steward of time, of my body, of my brain, of my children, and my soul.
Be still and know I am here.
God does not require we be busy bees. God actually commands us to rest on Sunday — to be present, to waste time with Him and those we love. To be what God willed, I'd have to somehow learn to ignore that word when it pops in my head with respect to exercise, to doing things with my husband and children, to writing and to prayer. These are the things time was made for — to pour ourselves out, to be present, to be good stewards of all the gifts we receive day after day.
A friend called and asked, “Did I have time to talk?” which really meant, “Did I have time to listen?” and here was the test. There was laundry and papers and cleaning to do. I answered, “Sure. I'm not busy.”