My long to-do list was orbiting in front of my eyes like the rings around the planet Saturn. I was completely absorbed in work-related thoughts all the way home and even through dinner.
I am ashamed to admit that I was hoping to get right back to work afterwards, but that’s not what happened.
Instead, I heard, “Daddy, would you like to play with me?”
And there she was. Hannah, our four year old, patiently but persistently tapped me on the shoulder. I’m not sure how many times she had asked, but she wasn’t going away.
“Sure, honey,” I said, still feeling locked in the tractor beam of responsibility emanating from my computer. I didn’t feel like playing, but I went along anyway.
As it turned out, we had a marvelous time. Hannah and I played with her stuffed animals and dolls. Within a few minutes, I was completely engrossed in her world, and asking her questions about each toy. “What is this one’s name?” I would ask. “What does he like to eat?”
“Oh, that’s Tony,” she said about the turtle. “He likes carrots, chicken, and shmarshmallows.”
“Ah, I see,” said I. “But what about pizza and wedding soup?” Turns out Tony likes both. Since the only things I am capable of making in the kitchen are frozen pizza and the best wedding soup on the planet (recipe to follow at some point), that was very agreeable.
In the end, we spent quite a bit of time playing, and I spent none working. And somehow, it was all OK.
It may seem counterintuitive, but I think the best thing for my hyper-busy-ness was to slow down and play with stuffed animals and dolls for a while with my daughter. It helped me to regain a little perspective, a little joy, a little wonder at the innocent world of a four year old. The completely unexpected side effect: I had an extremely focused, productive day today. Coincidence?
The bigger our jobs, and the crazier our schedules, the more we need to have our priorities in order. After all, no matter what we do for a living, it doesn’t define who we are. We are children of God, and have the opportunity to love others accordingly. Even (and perhaps especially) those who have absolutely no ability to “help” us in our jobs.
At times, I have tended to get way too wrapped up in my work, and have recognized the need to back off a little. If that happens to you sometimes, don’t be surprised if the Holy Spirit whispers in your ear. It might even sound like the voice of a child.
When you get crazy busy, what helps you get your priorities back in order?