Yesterday I had nothing at all scheduled. An appointment was deemed unnecessary and cancelled. I wondered how the day would go when I really had no reason to go anywhere and nothing planned. There have been a few other days like this since I retired but most of them were necessitated by the extreme weather we have had.
I almost feel guilty writing this because my sister spent her day taking care of grandchildren, my friend spent hours waiting to hear from a doctor and then going to the ER, my husband listened to two job talks, and I had an open day.
Joan Chittister in The Gift of Years speaks to this in the chapter I happened to read last night called "Mystery."
So much in life is aimed at either youth or middle age. Almost nothing points us to the days when time alone will be our guide, our companion, our goal. We have few or no promises about the glories of being less busy, less harried, less consumed by everything....We have learned so well to live the rules of life. We are not so sure how to live its freedoms...Routine can finally give way to mystery, to possibility, to the grazing time of life...Mystery is what happens when we allow life to evolve rather than having to make it happen all the time...There is something holy-making about simply presuming that what happens to us in any given day is sent to us to awaken our souls to something new...a whole new awareness of the immanence of God in time. Something will surely happen. What will it be?
When I was a young mother, I was desperate for solitude--some time alone to read or write in a journal or play the piano. I used to think that the curse of my old age would be solitude as a result! That may still be true but at this point I have good health, many options and companionship.
But yesterday was a blessing. What did I do? I read a chapter of Jim's commentary in progress. I played and sang several psalms--my goal for Lent. I purged a basement closet of old paint cans. I picked up fallen branches in the yard. I walked outside and used the exercise bike in the basement. I read half of a murder mystery. I planned our itinerary for a trip in April--and caught a crucial error in the travel agent's bookings. I emailed an old friend and commented on my daughter's blog. I cooked a good supper and did a crossword puzzle.
Our former pastor used to talk about the idolotry of "busyness." People would respond to a "How are you?" with a "So busy." I'm not busy any more and I am very happy and contented to slow down.