Thursday, August 5
Yesterday, I spent 45 quiet minutes shelling field peas for freezing. It was a simple task and I was surprised at the introspection and calmness it brought to my day.
As I opened the pods, I studied their structure from time to time appreciating (yet again) the artistry and beauty of God's imagination. Other than that, I didn't really have anything on my mind. As the minutes passed, I noticed that my thoughts weren't on the worries and strivings of this world, such as material things and scheduling, but on simple pleasures and God-centered contentment. I was very relaxed and, thus, wondered if I should save the remainder of pods until right before bedtime!
Of course, it then dawned on me that this is what we're missing these days. Menial tasks that allow us time -- time to appreciate, time to reflect, time to be at peace. I thought about the things we use to 'relax', for example, watching television. If you really think about it, though, watching TV is not relaxing but stimulating. It makes us 'hungry' and think we 'need' things that we really don't.
Long ago, I learned something about T. Very often, when watching a movie or show, she would ask for something to eat. And, very often, she had just had a meal. She wasn't allowed 'screen time' everyday which gave me the chance to see a pattern. If she sat in front of the TV, she was 'hungry', if she was playing (busy hands), she wasn't. She quickly learned that if she asked for a snack during TV time, she would have to turn off the TV to prove to herself that she wasn't really hungry. That bad habit was quashed quickly!
What I learned from that is that none of us is immune to the pull of suggestion or boredom. So when I apply her behavior to myself, I could see all kinds of pitfalls. After all, I'm the one who (mostly) controls what foods come into our home and what habits/behaviors are allowed.
My husband pointed out that the many efficiencies of our culture rob us of so much. I think he's right. One of the things that so often gets in the way of spiritual fulfillment is the lack of stillness. Now, for everyone, that's not going to be about shelling peas but it worked for me.