Last Sunday I crept into church 10 minutes late and settled into the pew behind my family just as announcements were concluding. My hair was still damp because I hadn’t had time to dry it. I’d made a pot of coffee at home, but had run out the door without pouring myself a cup.
As I sat on the wooden bench my mind was elsewhere – in the Sunday school classroom where I was about to teach in 15 minutes, at home where chores and errands waited for me, at the airport where I was to catch a plane that afternoon, even in the next city where I would be interviewing for another job the following day.
The minister stepped forward to begin the service and, as she does every Sunday, invited us to take a deep breath. “Breathe,” she said.
As I inhaled deeply, I started to feel a little emotional. Why of course, breathe. I’d forgotten to do that all week! Yes, I’d been breathing, but in my over-committed, over-scheduled week I’d forgotten to to really breathe.
I’d forgotten to stop…and just be in the place where I was. It took someone on a Sunday morning to remind me.
A week ago I was at the airport, in line to buy a sandwich for the 6 hour flight to the east coast, when a colleague called to tell me our team meeting had been cancelled due to an impending snowstorm. My bag was checked, my husband had committed the week’s calendar of kid activities to memory, I’d made dinner arrangements throughout the week with friends, and I’d mentally detached from my family for 5 days.
Do I stay or do I go?
I called my husband, who had just dropped me off, to tell him the news and ask what I should do. “Go,” he said. “Get some good sleep. Enjoy a break from the family.”
I stood in the airport, conflicted, as the final moments to boarding ticked down. Within 36 hours a major snowstorm would blanket the Boston area. I would undoubtedly have a “snow day.” Although I would still be working – online and on the phone – I’d be trapped in my hotel. Confined to my room and ordering room service.
Boy, that sounded appealing. No racing home during rush hour to pick up the girls from their after-school program. No dinner preparation at 6pm when everyone was starving yet complaining about the menu. No combing through tangled hair after showers. No arguing about piano practice. No frustrated bellows of “where are the clean socks?”
I would be able to breathe.
Then I remembered how tightly my girls squeezed my neck as they left for school that morning. How fervently they said “I love you so much!” How happy they would be to come home to find me sitting in the living room.
And with that I strode up to the gate agent. “My trip has been cancelled. How do I get my bag off this plane?”