Today I was perusing a few blogs and came across several (beginning with Modern Mrs. Darcy) who mentioned the idea of listing the things that are saving you (as opposed to the things that are killing you, which can sometimes be easier to identify). The idea comes from Barbara Brown Taylor's book Leaving Church, which I have never read. I have, however, been eyeing her most recent book Learning to Walk in the Dark. It's on my list.
Regardless, I thought the idea was worth thinking about, and I've taken the time to write down a few things that are saving me right now:
1. The Dog Park – Remy and I have gotten into a pretty consistent routine these days. At least three days a week, I’ll drive him over to the dog park after work to burn off his energy. He loves it – loves to run free, chase balls, wrestle with his best buddy Dexter, and eat poop when he thinks I’m not looking (or even when he knows I am). Recently I realized I need the dog park as much as he does. I need to be outside. I need to stand up after sitting at a desk all day. I need my dog park friends, who I see almost every day but I know only as “Skippy’s dad” and “Lady with the three-legged dog.” I miss it when I don't go.
2. Early morning at Starbucks – I’ve been meeting a friend at Starbucks on Mondays and Fridays before work. I usually get there around , spend time praying, journaling, reading, and then she meets me around . It is motivation to get out of bed in the morning and get moving. It’s time spent with God, reflecting on my life, talking and processing. And mostly it’s a friendly face in the morning, sharing my life with someone. We really only see each other for maybe 10-15 minutes. I have to leave for work at . Sometimes we don’t say much to each other at all, sometimes I’m late for work talking. But she is present with me, and knows me, and is for me, and that has been a lot to me lately.
3. The (fake) lives of others – I recently found myself with more time on my hands than I had at the end of last year. I’ve filled some of that time reading novels and binge watching TV shows. Yes, I would like to tell you I’ve been feeding the poor and making cookies for my neighbors and having long conversations with my husband about our dreams. But the truth is, I am emotionally and spiritually exhausted. I don’t know how long I have been this way. I didn't realize it until I realized it. In the past, I would have been able to guilt myself into spending my time doing something “for the kingdom,” or at least something to better myself. But currently, I am fairly invested in the lives of the young Canadian police officers in Rookie Blue. Invested enough that I actually think of them sometimes when I am not watching the show. Maybe this means I am escaping from all my problems into a fantasy-land in which I can, instead, worry from a distance about the problems of others. To be honest, I am ok with that for a season. I've also been finishing up the Divergent series by Victoria Roth and am eagerly anticipating the second movie, which comes out in March.
4. Quilting -- Another portion of my free time has been spent making baby quilts for friends of mine. I've finished one (see below) and am in the middle of another. I'm a creative person, and this has been my creative outlet lately. I am so thankful for that, especially during a time when nothing in me has wanted to write, or had anything to say. It is mindless, and colorful, and makes me feel connected to my grandmother who recently passed away. And I can do it while watching Rookie Blue. Or Chopped.
5. Coffee -- I recently had coffee and a bagel with a friend who I've known for almost ten years. This is the friend who unequivocally knows me better than I know myself. We've haven't lived in the same city for a few years, and when I ordered a drip coffee she said, "Uh, you don't drink coffee." And yet, apparently, all of a sudden, I do. This is because there is free coffee at work and a miraculous lineup of creamer flavors keep appearing in the communal fridge. I loathed the day I would become one of those people who need coffee to function -- and I don't think I'm there yet. But all of a sudden there is something very comforting about my morning cup of joe. This is convenient, because Jonathan has also been on a coffee kick lately. He got a Chemex coffee maker for Christmas and has been trying out new varieties at home, which is drastically decreasing our monthly Starbucks expenditures. Everyone wins.
It may be question worth thinking about for you, too: What is saving your life this winter?