Believe it or not, I was in the Gospel Choir in college. And if I do say so myself, we were good.
Okay, to be perfectly honest, I dropped the choir's status a few notches when they let me in, but it was one of the best things I did with my college career.
Now, as a History major & Art History minor, I also admit that most of my classes weren't extremely challenging to me. I figured out how to write a 10 page paper with a perfect intro, thesis & conclusion, throw some quotes in the middle and get an A without breaking much of a sweat (unless you count the full sprint I usually did getting the paper into the professor's office on time). But learning how to sway back & forth and clap my hands on the off beat while singing required more mental energy for me than all my History classes combined. I am sorry to say that I will never live out my dream of being the drummer in a garage band. Rhythm has never been my strong suit.
My lack of rhythm has played out in the rest of my life, as well. I tend to move forward in awkward fits and starts, trying to pull together certain areas, while others are neglected. I over work, and routinely get sick every time I give myself a break (creating countless disappointing vacations).
There was this brief period of time where Chris & I were onto something. We called in Maintaining. We would set the kitchen timer every night for 10 minutes and clean as much as we could until the timer went off. We created a little weekly chart that we kept on the refrigerator with post-it's that marked how we would spend our free time each evening. We made sure that we included activities in our weekly and monthly schedules that were life-giving, and we also made space for the less-than-exciting duties of life. It was good.
We started the whole project by making lists of activities would restore us, dreaming up a life where we could go camping once every couple of months, hike every weekend, spend one night a week doing something creative or just hang out with the guys. Then we brought our lists together, looked at our calendars and did the best we could to match our fantasy life with reality. We took into account how many nights a week we tended to work late, how often we travel, and trips to the laundry mat and the auto shop.
Surprisingly, our dream life looked pretty similar to what we came up with on our chart. And even more surprising was the fact that we were able to actually live it out. Our lives are full, we travel more than is healthy, and our jobs (although we love them) can be absolutely exhausting. But when we were living out this simple rhythm and were intentional about using our time towards restoration, it was as though the reserves that are so often depleted were protected a bit more.
It is so easy, when I am worn out at the end of the day, to plug into my computer and scroll through Facebook or Pinterest and lose that precious hour or two between Nolan's bed time and my own. It is so easy to turn on Hulu and watch a few episodes of Modern Family, when what I really needed was to sit and talk with my hubby. It's funny how, in the times when we need restoration the most, we slump into our chairs stare at a screen and give ourselves the exact opposite.
Chris & I have decided that it's time to re-establish that rhythm we lost, to make a new plan to fit the current reality of our life, and help us move into living it more deeply, more intentionally. We've been red-lining for too long. So today, Chris takes his last grad-school final EVER (I just want that to soak in for a moment), tonight we celebrate with a giant homemade Italian feast, and tomorrow, we will sit down and create together a structure that will help us really live. Chris describes it an ancient Christian practice called a Rule of Life, but I've never really been one to like the word "rule". I like to think of it more as a rhythm we're creating: clapping, swaying and singing off-beat & out of tune, but singing nonetheless.