My life used to be such that I could indulge in a fun activity on a whim, but no longer. Our family today is nearly always busy to the brims, not unlike most modern families. But we deal with not only the daily “that’s life” moments with house repairs, whiny kids, and vet appointments, but also with phone calls to insurance companies and government agencies, weekly physical and occupational therapy appointments, and many pre- and post-operative care for our daughter, Sarah.
Two years ago I was officially inducted as a full-time caregiver, and since that day, I’ve had to learn how to create moments of fun resulting from spontaneity rather than planning grandiose vacations ahead of time. I’m hoping you might find some insight in this and apply it to your own situation.
It occurred to me that everyone is busy these days, or rather, we move at an unprecedented frenetic pace. How do we juggle everything life demands? Most of our family’s daily activities are planned for us by someone else. They are not ways we would otherwise choose to spend our time.
So how do we make our moments matter? What are some practical ways we can pause momentarily to enjoy life in the midst of frustration or crisis?
Fortunately I have young children who are spunky and carefree. They often fuel my waning creativity by their quirky and out-of-the-box thinking. For example, my older daughter Felicity was tearing apart a foam puzzle and reassembling it as a “treasure map,” which got me thinking that maybe we could create an impromptu scavenger hunt!
Both of my girls love nature and the outdoors, and this time of year is conducive to random intermissions of exploration when I sense the stir craziness rising inside our house. A five-minute walk results in countless sensory delights: finding various bugs, observing a variety of trees and flowers unfurling, and listening to the melodic tune of the songbirds. We nearly always name each hidden treasure we discover, and the girls love the sights, smells, and sounds surrounding us.
These most likely seem very mundane and obvious, but in our family, they are mini-vacations. One must understand the level of elevated stress that has defined the norm in our home in order to fully appreciate why these moments make such a huge impact for our health and overall sanity.
There’s something about our natural environment that centers and soothes me when I’ve been forced into a rhythm of constant motion that leaves me feeling weary and worn. God graced us with an entire realm of beauty that we tend to ignore these days. Sadly, technology has enticed us with grandeur for our senses, and so we often grow bored with the simple pleasures that nature provides.
I’d like to think that you and I can both rediscover the wonder that surrounds us outside of our modern lifestyles. At times I have daydreamed of living in the forest – without running water or electricity and dwelling in a two-room log cabin with a wood burning stove and wildlife to entertain me. Am I strange to imagine such things?
So imagery, as well as these fleeting escapes with nature hikes and treasure hunts, offer small hiatuses throughout each day that recharge me just enough to offer a simple prayer of gratitude to God and continue. It seems to me that we all need these daily reprieves. What is it about today that we all can stop long enough to appreciate and absorb, even if only for a moment? How can we all find fun in the midst of our frustrations? I believe the opportunities await, but we must be attuned to the small and simple pleasures that bless our lives rather than the grandiose experiences we tend to seek instead.
Copyright 2015 Jeannie Ewing, all rights reserved.
Image copyright 2015 "Sparrow" by gabicuz on Pixabay and edited in Canva by Jeannie Ewing.
About the Author
Jeannie Ewing believes the world ignores and rejects the value of the Cross. She writes about the hidden value of suffering and even discovering joy in the midst of grief. As a disability advocate, Jeannie shares her heart as a mom of two girls with special needs in Navigating Deep Waters and is the author of From Grief to Grace , A Sea Without A Shore , and Waiting with Purpose. Jeannie is a frequent guest on Catholic radio and contributes to several online and print Catholic magazines. She, her husband, and three daughters live in northern Indiana. For more information, please visit her website lovealonecreates.com.