In the 24 hours proceeding my arrival at home, I made homemade pasta sauce. And got a gym membership. And ran 4 miles at said gym. And unpacked the van. And laundered everything I own. And prepped for a temp job interview the next day. And caught up on overdue mail, emails, and phone calls. And made a to-do list longer than my arm. And woke up the next morning in a dizzy stupor.
I felt like I was on an invisible carousel and was instantly and unfortunately reminded of what vertigo feels like, although I don’t think my old friend Vert was the culprit this time around. Roaming around the country by yourself in a variety of eating, sleeping, working, and meeting patterns will probably throw you for a loop when you slow down long enough to let it catch up with you. Undeterred, I crawled around my room and got ready for the interview. I even made it to the car and a mile down the street before I decided that looking like I’d had one too many mimosas for breakfast was probably a more regrettable first impression than calling to cancel. So I called and canceled. It was not without chagrin.
At this point I began to feel a twinge of anxiety. What if this temp agency writes me off and won’t hire me out and I can’t find a job? What if I do get a job and I can’t finish everything on my to-do list before it starts? What if they find out that I’m a chicken electrocuter and that I don’t know what to do when the dogs drink Robitussin and that I’m horrible at harvesting carrots?
I’m pretty sure I heard God sigh and pat me on the shoulder in a way that said, “Dear beloved freak, please calm thyself. We’ve been over this.”
We really have been. Innumerable times. I am determined to have all of my dull ducks wrestled into a perfect row and in the midst of chasing them down I find that God has already lined up a better row of smarter ducks for me. Every time this happens I wind up remembering that it’s easier to trust His provision than it is to try and figure it out flawlessly on my own. This lesson seems to have an expiration date of around 24 hours, since it usually takes me no longer than that to forget.
Oh, how quickly we forget. And by we, I mean I. Within a day I had already forgotten one of the most important lessons I learned on the roadtrip. At some point in the journey I was hit by the realization that part of the reason why I stay ultra productive is because I want God to like me. I know he loves me, but I want him to like me, to be proud of me, to add an extra gold star to my column. It took me completely by surprise. I had no idea this was going on until I examined the method to my madness. I was even more surprised by the true facts of the matter: God loves me whether I’m driving around the country in search of personal growth or sitting on the couch watching The Biggest Loser with my parents – and he likes me just as much then, too.
Now, of course, I could insert a few asterisks here. I don’t think that it’s in anyone’s best interest to sit on the couch and never lift a finger and watch The Biggest Loser all day every day. I don’t believe that a person engaging in such behavior would in any way effect the love God has for him, but he wouldn’t be living the vibrant, fulfilling life God would want him to enjoy, either. I also think that my penchant for productivity is just part of who I am. And I really like that part. I truly enjoy using time and resources effectively; nothing thrills me quite like working tirelessly on a job well done. Those aren’t bad things. But when I’m exhausted and running myself ragged just because I’m under the false impression that God will high five me at the end of the day if I do? That’s not at all what a loving father wants for his child. That’s not what he so gently reminded me of while I was traveling. And yet less than a day after coming home I was already back to my modus operandi, hitting the ground running. Literally and otherwise. I am not an old dog…I should be able to learn new tricks!
The temp agency did call me back and asked me to come in for a make-up interview. They already placed me in a job for the next few days! Since I haven’t earned a paycheck since August and my last name isn’t Trump, this is a good thing for which I am very grateful. I’m honestly looking forward to working again. However, I still feel like I’ve been on the bad end of a hit and run. I am not particularly convinced that working a full schedule for a week an hour away is the answer to this problem.
What is the answer, you ask? I’m not sure, dear readers. I’m going to leave you in the lurches on this one because I’m fairly thick-headed and need some extra time and wisdom to figure out how to balance my love of all things productive with a life not in need of tranquilizers. I don’t think that’s entirely absurd. Substantial life changes take time.
One thing I am going to do in the meantime is take a very brief blogging hiatus. I’ve been posting every day for quite some time now and think it would be a good idea to take a few days off to regroup. There are lots of exciting things I want to share with you all – a full post of trip reflections, an update on what’s next, some new blog features, etc – but I need some time to get all of these things together. And at the current moment I’d like to spend a little less time behind the computer screen and a little more time with the friends and family I missed so much while away. So I’m going to do it! I’m putting lessons into practice! Imagine that!
Now…we’re talking like a week of downtime here, not an eternity. But until we are reunited in bloggerly love, I hope you all have lovely fall days and become extremely excited for the giving of thanks to take place in just ONE WEEK from today!!! (People: I love Thanksgiving. Really, who can argue with a day devoted to family, football, and food? My three favorite things, and all combined in one day! It’s the perfect trifecta!)