a big red X on a calendar helps keep you on track

It was July, L and I were standing in the kitchen, on opposite sides of the counter looking down at the big hanging calendar between us. A monthly activity I come to with excitement and dread.

I had my pen in hand ready to reviewed and schedule each week.

It had been a stressful and busy spring. Every weekend ended up full. Church events, MOPs, work conferences, family visits, and friend days had left us exhausted. Because Z was bounced from one event to the next and between us,  we weren’t getting great sleep either.

I was struggling to fit it all in and didn’t know why. A full calendar was new, strange, and difficult. We had gone years alone: few friends, no family-we had time to spare-always.

But now we lived near family. And we were making friends; filling our calendar with dinners and play dates. Going to every birthday party and outing we were invited to.

I hadn’t taken noticed our spring was busy-it is always a busy. But then it was summer and L and I struggled to relax or enjoy our camping trips-our minds everywhere but the great outdoors.

By July a lighthouse shown on the haze of our business. I saw our lifestyle for what it was: rocky. We came to the conclusion: this was not right or healthy for our family. It was not the lifestyle we wanted.

With that decided there we were, looking at the calendar and I was struggling.

I had always viewed the calendar as something to fill up with things to look forward to. I have always been more comfortable with what I know, what can be scheduled, what can be planned.

But now I was intentionally leaving open space; it felt foreign and I was uneasy.  Through tears L helped me pick weekends where our answer to everyone would be “no”.

It’s like we slowly applied the breaks on a fast moving train. It takes awhile to slow down and move at a new pace.

I learned quickly the blank weekends were not empty. They were full of rest and peace. We were able to breath and regroup; to clean up and catch up. We allowed ourselves down time as family, time to work on the little projects that had been nagging and at the back of our mind for months.

I started by drawing a wavy line at the bottom of the weekend  to signify it was not available. I quickly learned that was not enough. A wavy line still left space to write-and I was tempted.

So I  mark these days with a big X all the way through-leaving no temptation to write over it or fill it up.

What does your calendar look like? Do you like to fill it up or keep it empty?




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