Blog Your Blessings: Loafing

I walk in the early mornings, and often along the way a woman slows down, puts down her window, and says, "I wish I had your free time," or "I wish I had your leisure," or "I wish I had all that time to walk." Though this has been going on for a few years now, I still don't know her name. She's always in too big a hurry getting away from or back to her home to actually meet me.

I used to wonder about the assumptions that went into such comments, but now I think that maybe what she's saying is just plain true. Maybe she wishes she could slow down just long enough to pull on her sneakers and take a couple hundred paces away from her demanding life.

People ask me why I walk so much, and I tell them because the demands can wait. I used to be like this woman, the Road Runner of my neighborhood. I used to be at home with my daughter, teach part time in the evening, and write newsletters and edit from home for a check. I used to be hyper-involved with church, to volunteer graphic design and PR work for a handful of small do-gooder agencies, babysit for whoever asked, bake cookies for every fundraiser that came up.... It was a sick life. I didn't save the world or anything else, though at the end of the day I could recite a long list of What I Got Done.

Then one day I was sitting at Frankie's Hot Dog Stand with a friend. While we grazed over our veggie burgers, he made a point in passing--the way he usually drops the big ones--that caused me to change my outlook.

He said I had as much right to be here as anyone else. That seems so simple and obvious now, but at the time accepting it meant making a radical change in my perception of myself. I had grown so used to driving the Zamboni behind others' lives that at first it seemed grotesquely selfish to think I should pursue my own dreams. So I had a go at being useless, of not being available for whatever little demand anyone might make, and of giving shape to my dreams. In short order I discovered who my friends were. The whole business was not painful but peaceful.

The end result: nothing to rush to or from. Nothing else that's more important than the here and now. I have time to walk. To take a ride to the local farm for fresh corn and cider. To talk to neighbors. To photograph whatever looks interesting. To visit my parents. To watch movies or play games with my daughter. To help her figure out her math. To walk and think about nothing at all but the sky, the clouds, the leaves on the trees, the buildings towering around me, and the beautiful shadows these things cast as they play with the sun's light.

Am I a loafer? Yes, when I am loafing. Then there's nothing else to be--which, of course, is to be blessed.

Comments

  1. what a great post!

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  2. For some reason, I had Simon and Garfunkle singing in my head Slow down, you move too fast, you gotta make the morning last now... which is a GOOD thing! My blessing is up... and answers your question! :)

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  3. Terrific post Sandy! Have a wonderful Sunday, and thank you so much for stopping by!

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  4. You must make time to do nothing. We lead an very busy lifestyle with all the kids-but someday it will be all over and I'll bet we miss the madness!

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  5. Great post!

    I have been a loafer most of my life till now, and from what you say it might be a good thing.

    Have a great week ahead!

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  6. Anonymous1:32 PM

    Loafer? Yeah, right. How many blogs do you have? Maybe you have downshifted a little, but no one would call you a loafer.

    Have a wonderful week.

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  7. Yes Sandy It's called the Vertue of sefishness. One can only give what he or she can but self must remain strong

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  8. I have been called lazy becuse I paint instead of watching football and drinking bear but then I am an alcohalic blind person

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  9. but then someome looks at my paintings and they see

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  10. That's really odd that she'd say that repeatedly--but I like your thoughts on the matter.

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  11. Thanks a ton for sharing this. I think i am going to pass on the link to this post to my friend as well...

    Sometime ago, i don't know whether i read it or heard from someone about Amy Carmichael... About the importance of the nurses resting. There will be people dying but if we don't take time to rest, we will not be able to give our best... How true... We will get the to-do list completed but be empty ourselves and dry up soon...

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  12. Anonymous9:29 AM

    I love your train of thought on this one. I have slowly moved in the direction you described. I'm still a long ways away, but part of that is just life.

    Your words prompted me to remember a few things I've heard in the past year... "Aren't you going to the game? How come we never see you anymore? Are you ok? We don't see you around as much anymore." And suddenly I realize, I just want to respond, "Yes, I'm ok. I'm just taking time for me and my family."

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  13. I hear you, Double Decker Bus Guy! I was hearing Pleasant Valley Sunday, actually...I was thinking of writing "All I Ever Needed to Know about Philosophy I Learned from the Monkees," but then I thought it might be better to keep that little home truth to myself! Thanks for stopping by.

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