Stopping to Breathe

PHLI’ve just experienced a long weekend in Newport, RI for vacation and now I’m trapped at the Philadelphia Airport for an almost four hour layover.  I guess part of it is self-induced because I knew that I would be here waiting for the connection to Louisville for the COGA (Committee of the Office of General Assembly) meeting.  But now as I sit here, the struggle to simply be in one spot with very little to do has become a struggle.

It’s outside office hours and, though I will be working remotely while attending the meetings in Louisville, I can’t help but want to spend my time checking some to-dos off of the list.  Just a little email cleaning, stewardship season planning, sermon reflection, communion liturgy writing, and phone calling.  All things that will make my life much easier when I return on Thursday to the office.  Why not check them off of the list now while I am sitting in an airport terminal: there’s nothing better to do, right?!

Life has become even more hectic as I balance a professional life as both congregational pastor and vice moderator.  If you know me, you know that I love being busy.  The thrill of juggling different responsibilities keeps my brain buzzing and attention focused on the big picture.  But I am learning the art of saying, “no.”  I find myself in meetings to listen and contribute but stopping the urge to jump in with two feet because I am already knee deep in several areas taking my attention.  It’s a completely different hat to wear in which I contribute but not serve as the go to person with endless tasks to follow-up on after the meeting.

So, herein lies the problem as I sit in Terminal F in Philadelphia.  I gauge my professional success in the ability to be busy.  I want to knock those items off of my to-do list and sitting here makes it even easier to do so…what better things do I have to do with my time?

I’ve realized that juggling countless responsibilities is not only stimulating but a completely justifiable excuse to keep myself from slowing down, taking a breath, and enjoying the moment.  I’m good at being busy.  I’m amazing at serving as the go-to person and always quick to jump to action if someone needs me.  My cell phone buzzes with personalized rings so that I know if it’s an email, text message, phone call, tweet, or Facebook message.  Truth be told, it doesn’t really matter because I’ll check my phone at any of those sounds.

So now I am blogging about this struggle because I am NOT going to check my work email, respond to any messages, or search for liturgies on Google.  I’m going to sit here to read a book, surf the internet (for fun!), and relax.  All of this because what I do outside of the office is just as valuable as inside.

And now you are my witnesses and can hold me accountable to it.

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