I’ve been convicted of late. I feel stuck on a road paved with good intentions.
Maybe its my procrastination tendencies … maybe its being a mother of five … maybe its motherhood induced ADD … I’m not sure. But at the end of the day, I find myself thinking about all the things I’ve been meaning to do, but rarely get around to doing.
So, for the next thirty days, I’ve set up a chart for myself – a checklist of sorts. Something to help me exit my good-intention paved road and put me on the living-life highway. Because the good-intention road, though often admirable in aspiration, is full of stress and loose laces that never seem to get tied. Some of the things on my list are oldies but goodies that fell off the radar at some point. Like our morning readings that I’ve done with the kids for years. Somehow when we moved last year and lived at my folks, our morning Bible got lost in the shuffle. A day without reading came and went. As did several more. And there you have it. No more reading. I loved that reading. So, its back.
Other things on the list include the most ridiculous items that I just keep putting off. Like this:
What in the world? you might ask. Well, its the light fixture over my sink. I look at it every day. More than once a day. It still has the new-purchase wrapping on it. No need to mention we moved into our house in May 2013 and its now February 2014. I’m telling you – I have issues, people. How hard is it to cut that wrapping off?! But I don’t have scissors in my bathroom drawer. So I’d have to grab them from someone’s desk. And truth is – any good intentions get lost pretty much the minute I leave my bathroom -day after day after day.
But it’s not just the undone, my list includes the follow-throughs. When I bump into someone I adore and haven’t seen in a while and we exchange, “I miss you! Let’s have lunch … or coffee … or go on a walk.” I’m doing it. See also: Priscilla who I saw at a basketball game Friday night – I’m following through TODAY. And Marsha, we’re on for lunch next week! Mandy – just sent you a text. … I could keep going. And I want to. People are the greatest joys of life. There’s lots of spots we can walk it together if I just remember to do it and to spend time purposefully.
And the kids – I want purposeful with them. I’m sad for the spots my good intentions stopped. I could show you the journals (who am I kidding, there’s only one) I started writing for the kids. I planned on compiling letters about milestones, things I loved about them, funny stories, … My sole attempt began with monthly letters. It quickly digressed to a letter a year. Then, pretty much ended when the kid turned 4. I’m not even sure where that journal even is. And I only wrote for our oldest. How sad.
Then there are the well-intentioned journals we bought for each kid. Here’s one (I’m not sure where the others even are!):
Yes, that blurry stuff on the cover is dust. This good intention road was set up for the kids to write encouraging things to each other. The journals were a place for them to document times when a sibling did something nice, or when they wanted to encourage each other. Great idea. Terrific way to get their eyes off themselves and onto someone else.
Um-huh…that’s the one and only entry. In 2007. So sad we didn’t follow through on this one. Just reading the one entry makes me laugh. I had forgotten about their “clubs.” I wonder what Club White House was and which Audrey had the privilege of being included?
So the journal thing clearly doesn’t fly around here. It doesn’t mean I can’t start today writing notes. Or maybe making it a little easier by getting each of my kids a box or something. We did the box thing with our first child. I found something he would love, then started to accumulate “blessings.” He was going through a particularly rough patch; so for his birthday I asked special people to write him thoughtful messages. That was four years ago. He still reads them.
The good intention road lets me linger on thinking about doing something like that for my other kids. The living-life road is follow through – without setting some bar that will only serve to remind me that I forget to even jump. Simply taking a step is good. Anything will be movement in the right directions. Maybe I start with an envelope. I sure don’t need “finding a box” to waylay me.
So rather than think about writing a note to my kids or to a friend who might be in my thoughts and prayers, I’m doing it.
And mailing them. And – I’m taking scissors with me as I head upstairs for a shower. Something as small as removing the wrapping from my sconces is step in the right direction.
The point it… don’t waste any time looking back and wishing. Or seeing what someone else has done that really was a terrific idea (like the dad who gave his graduating daughter a copy of Dr. Seuss’ Oh The Places You Will Go signed every year since 1st grade by her teachers – yeah, that’s a good one for sure) and feeling bad that I didn’t. That’s a waste of time and loaded with comparison-laden discontent.
For me? I have no interest in guilt. I’d just like to begin today with do-able. Nothing extravagant. Just regular little somethings.
I’m hoping that my road less traveled will actually be the one paved with good intentions. It’s a weary road. So, rather than thinking about exercising, I’m just doing it. Rather than talking about getting together? I’m putting it on the calendar. Rather than thinking about how to encourage a kid – forget about extravagant – I’m grabbing an ice-cream, or whatever they might need in the moment. Any little extra that lets them know I’m listening and care. Last night, I surprised one by stopping at CVS for mascara. She didn’t think I had heard. And on the way, we got a great conversation in the car – full of several issues I wanted to discuss. Issues that wouldn’t have been received quite as well if I had “planned” a talk.
I guess that’s life off the good-intention road. I’ll keep you posted. One day is better than none. What can I say – we have have to set the bar low around here.
Thanks for walking it with me.