My son gave us a new whiz bang espresso maker for Christmas. My husband has perfected the art of making Latte, and has taken to bringing me a cup before I am awake and declaring “Wake up and smell your coffee!” on the way up the stairs. I kept looking for the soldier in my cup, which is supposed to be the best part of waking up, until Jim plopped a (clean) toy army guy into my cup one morning. Both of the men in my house are very kind people. They also know me painfully well.
90 Minutes of my Morning:
I manage to stay purpose driven while getting Jim to the bus stop and my daughter up and out the door. We have a pretty tight plan and stick to it well. Too much time and we’re in trouble. It’s when I close the garage door and come back inside….
Hmmm. What shall I have for breakfast now? Hot oatmeal sounds really good. I pull out a bowl to cook oatmeal in the microwave and notice the top of the microwave could use a wipe down. Put the spoon in the sink.
Dogs want to go out for their morning rough house. Let the dogs out. OH look, that’s where I put the mail yesterday. Pick up mail and sort it in the recycling bin. When I put the two pieces of “real mail” down, I notice the missing cord to my tablet, and decide to take it upstairs before I forget it and plug it in.
While upstairs, I notice the laundry on the floor in the bathroom and scoop it up. I spend an unknown amount of time staring into the closet, thinking about a better way to Do Closet. I notice my missing boot and take it downstairs to join its partner.
Oatmeal? Remember Oatmeal? The bowl is on the counter with nothing in it. Hmmmm. I have some dried blueberries in the pantry that would be terrific in a bowl of oatmeal. My phone signals that a new message has been delivered. I sit down with the phone. Half an hour later, I pull down the storage container with oatmeal and wonder if there is enough to make a batch of the granola that The Man Who Brings Me Coffee loves so much. I pull out the measuring cups and behold, there is enough for granola AND still just enough for me to have The Bowl of Oatmeal I’ve been holding in my imagination. The Big Honkin Pan in which I bake granola is kept in the storage shelving in the basement. I decide to put in a load of wash while I’m traveling through. That leads to folding towels from the dryer. Back upstairs with the Big Honkin Pan, I notice my bowl set out for Oatmeal again. Back to the pantry, I retrieve the dried blueberries, pour in the water and look, there’s the maple syrup I pulled out for the Granola. Wouldn’t that be good in my oatmeal? I wash the sticky outside of the maple syrup container and restore it to its’ proper home, from which three empty storage containers leap when I open the cabinet door. What are they doing in there? I look for more of their compatriots still hiding in the cabinet and plunk them on the table. Hmmm. I should clean this table. Then I could invite my drawing buddy to come draw with me at my house on this, the last open day before I return to full time employment. The microwave signals that my Oatmeal is finished. I decide to let it rest for a few minutes while I put together the ingredients for my granola. Gads. I look out the window and notice that Ruby is running the fence again, and go to the door to order her back inside. Mud. Back downstairs to find the Dog Towel and wipe off the dogs’ feet. Feet inside now, I remember that I turned on the hot water kettle to make tea….when? I push the button to warm it up again, forgetting that the microwave was still on “keep warm” with my oatmeal. In our house, that means I threw the switch at the fuse box and have to go downstairs. Again. I spend another unknown amount of time staring into the storage shelving, thinking there has to be a better way to arrange all this stuff.
Finally, somehow, I come to rest at the table with my bowl of blueberry oatmeal, sprinkled with pecans, and sip a cup of tea. The house is very, very quiet. While it has been quiet ever since I put Carys on the bus, it has not been quiet for a moment in my head or in my soul.
“Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah…” Peter’s response to seeing Jesus in his glorious transfigured self was “Quick! Let’s get busy! Don’t just stand there, do something!” So we do, because like Peter we would be terrified if we stopped just doing something and stood there with the silence washing around us in the glory of it all. Distraction is where the devil lives, not only in the details. We think we are above average if we can seem to multi-task all day. I am secretly delighted with research that indicates the folly of that. We outdo one another, not in doing good works, but in just doing. A person introduces herself, “I’m a really busy person,” and the gauntlet is laid down. Who is really busier? How much face will I lose this time? Peter’s business of building three booths is certainly piously good, but he derails and distracts from the experience at hand. He is like one of the nurses in the operating room when my son was born. She tried to add to my experience with non-stop chatter. I got sucked in until I realized I didn’t want to be in conversation with her, I wanted to be present to the experience at hand, in conversation with my soul, my body, my spouse, and my baby. Distraction can lead us down a merry trail away from what is important because we can’t stay with the pain, uncertainty, and fear of the moment. Like Peter, I would rather get busy and build three booths, chattering away the whole time.
Suddenly it is almost ten o’clock. The table is cleaned off and I have finally eaten that bowl of oatmeal and I’m warming up the hot water kettle again. Damn. I haven’t called my drawing friend to actually invite her over yet. I hope I am not too late. I tell my mind to stop and focus. I am supremely grateful in this moment that Jim took a little extra time this morning and woke me up with a cup of coffee. My brain would be either shriveling up from lack of caffeine or exploding trying to accomplish the simple steps to making coffee. Love is the anchor that overcomes my distracted state of being. Love transfigures you and me.
Peter, don’t miss the moment while you piously multi-task. Stop. It’s about love. All the way down that mountain and up another hill….it’s about love. Love makes the coffee, and love conquers fear. (1 John 4)