My husband, when talking about his skydiving experience his sophomore year of college, had said: “The moment I jumped out of the plane, I was filled with peace.” Peace. Freakin peace. Are you kidding me?
“Because,” he explained “You realize that your whole life, whether you lived or died, was totally out of your control.”
Today, as we soared 30,000 feet above the earth, on our way to Maryland for the wedding of our two friends, I thought of this and tried to imagine the tranquility that came with lack of control. But mostly I just felt annoyed at the peace I wasn’t experiencing.
All I kept thinking was about everything that was in my control, everything I had to do—today, tomorrow, next week, next month, over the holidays, even a few stray thoughts about future plans, some years down the road. There’s the obvious laundry list of chores, in attempts to keep our home constantly available for ministry. There’s the wedding this weekend, the rehearsal dinner tonight. There’s the people in my life I need to spend time with and those who need particularly to be reached out to. There’s my Master’s project to write, a Christmas party this Sunday and next Friday to finish preparing for, writing deadlines quickly approaching. There’s the events I am planning for, for next semester and the trips to New York and San Antonio. I have about five different to-do lists that grows each time something else is crossed off.
You have time for what you make time for —this phrase has been so instrumental in the last year in succeeding in the roles I have taken on. It usually involves me doing two to four things at once. Working on homework on longer car rides, writing bible study reflections as I am cooking lunch for me and Ben. Ideally though, I should be up at four a.m. every morning and doing something every moment until my head hits the pillow. I like the feeling of being productive. I like being busy, and using my gifts and talents constructively. More importantly, I would like to leave the world a little bit better than when I found it.
Today, before I could even reach for my laptop, the pilot informed us that we were beginning our descent.
Slightly ashamed, I looked at my husband. “I didn’t do anything on that flight,” I said, woefully. He shrugged. “It’s a flight,” he said flatly.
That simple truth struck me. I wasn’t doing nothing. I was traveling to my best friend’s wedding. I was catching up on sleep lost last night. I was thinking about life and my writing and enjoying my hot cup tea.
There will be time to catch up. There will be opportunities for productivity that I can (and inevitably have to) take later.
But for now I can sit back, relax, and enjoy the flight.