Hanging on Tight While Learning to Let Go

Her mind was playing tricks on her, or maybe it was the realization that every eye in the auditorium was staring directly at her that had her rattled; either way, she knew she must attempt to spell this word.

“How do you spell know?” she was asked for the third and final time.

With a shaky voice she began, “K-N-O-W.” She could immediately tell by the teacher’s face, she had spelled it correctly.

On to round two.

She thought her heart might burst with excitement.

At the end of this day in my third grade year I did indeed go home with that shiny third grade spelling bee trophy. I’m pretty sure I grinned for a week. As a matter of fact, I still have it…somewhere. That was such an amazing day for my eight-year-old self, I will never forget it.

As I was praying about what the Lord would have me write this week, the phrase “round two” kept going through my mind. I’m still not sure what He was trying to tell me, but I think I have an idea.

If you know me at all or have followed my journey on social media you know that I am quickly approaching a new season of life. Some call it “empty nest,” I call it “what in the heck am I supposed to do with myself now?”

Seriously, I’m not kidding.

I’ve always told myself the Lord would have plenty for me to do once all my kids left home. I’m pretty sure I said that because I was desperate to believe it. I mean, I do believe it, I just needed the plan to hurry up and unfold itself to me so I could relax. I needed to know I would still be useful and not bored when all the bedrooms in this old house are empty. But, because I struggle with patience, I decided I needed to help the Lord out. I thought I could come up with a couple of ideas to fill my time; He might appreciate my “active” involvement.

Right?!

So, in true Sandi fashion, I started looking around for things to keep me busy. I can’t stand to sit around, well, unless you count Heartland binges on Netflix as sitting around. But, most of the time I like to stay busy and feel needed. So, I thought, what WILL I do once the kids are gone? It didn’t take long for me to come up with an answer.

I will take care of my daddy, he was alone after all and he would need me.

Then he went and got married.

What now?

Well, I decided I could easily learn to do something in my free time.

Sounded innocent enough to me, so I went to work…to find a hobby, that is.

Since daddy was married and living his happy life, not needing my help, I decided my husband and I needed to start putting puzzles together, so we went out and bought a one thousand piece beauty. We were all in, those five hundred piece puzzles were for amateurs; not almost-fifty-somethings with years of child rearing experience like us.

How hard could it be?

We decided it would be fun to spread the puzzle out on our dining room table and work on it a little each day until it was finished.  May as well put the old girl to good use, no one eats off of it anymore anyway. We concluded once we finished a puzzle, we would take a picture of it and celebrate. It was all planned.

I know, we are totally pathetic.

The only problem was, I hated it. Oh I tried, really I did, I wanted to like this new hobby. But after fifteen long minutes of agonizing over one piece that I was never able to “assemble” (as the directions called it) I gave up. Why waste my life, I reasoned. Life is too short.

Of course, my diligent husband “assembled” the whole thing after sweating over it for days.

He is so much better than me.

We did take a picture though, and he celebrated, I determined I needed a new hobby. Or maybe the five hundred piece…nah.

Round two 04.05.2017

Then I decided to try cooking.

I cook, well, sort of. Okay, I basically rotate the same five recipes in and out of most weeks.   I find if I add onions or mushrooms to these same five dishes, it changes the flavor and I can claim it as something new. Don’t judge, it’s been working for me for twenty five years. But, I’ll have extra time, I reasoned, so I’ll venture out of my comfort zone and prepare new things.

Who cares about puzzles anyway, cooking would be so much better.

Soon after I had this epiphany a friend of mine put a long post up on Facebook about how wonderful and magical her new favorite appliance in the kitchen was. I read each word with mounting excitement.   I NEED this thing, I thought. It will help me to have more variety and it sounded like you couldn’t possibly go wrong if you only had this countertop electrical wonder.   So I called my husband, and I laid out my case for why I needed this contraption. It was going to fill my time and therefore my life. And just think of all the delicious food he was going to eat.

I was all in.

It took some time and fast talking, but he finally agreed we could buy it.

I was thrilled.

Round two 04.05.2017 2

I ordered the device and waited eagerly each day for it to arrive. Once it finally did, I looked up a recipe on the internet and we cooked a feast. It was fabulous. Well, mostly fabulous. Okay, so it wasn’t the best but next time would be better. I would find a new, better recipe. That’s what I’ve told myself as days and now weeks have passed.  Right now it sits on my counter taunting me, a reminder of another failed attempt.

I don’t think cooking is going to be my new hobby.

I told a story not long ago of how I poured out my heart to my dad including my fears and worries and he very wisely said to me, “Sandi, we’ve got today, that’s all we’ve got.” Man, that has stuck with me ever since. I find I keep trying to fill what I expect to be vacant hours of the days ahead, and I think the Lord is telling me to live today.

Just today.

It reminds of the verse in scripture that says “do not worry about tomorrow, tomorrow will take care of itself, each day has enough trouble of its own.*” Boy, is that ever the truth, each day does bring its own stresses and frustrations to the table, but also the joy and peace that comes from living well.

I can’t look out there in the great unknown for too long, it fills me with anxiety and makes me feel afraid of what could be or might not be, I’ve got to reign this overactive imagination in and focus on today. That way as opportunities present themselves I will be paying attention and ready to move forward with whatever’s next.

My round two.

And besides, I know from experience, the Lord will meet me in my “whatever’s,” He won’t let me down.

I’m still looking for a new hobby, I asked someone to teach me to crochet the other day, anybody got any extra yarn??

 

*Matthew 6:34

2 comments

  1. Joan Owens · April 5, 2017

    You are still working, Sandi! You won’t have as much free time as you think! Try Sudoku puzzles, or adult coloring books…for small amounts of home boredom time! Cooking wouldn’t work for me either! 😂😂😂

    Sent from my iPhone

    Like

    • Sandi Meadows Carlson · April 5, 2017

      Thank you for the advice Joan! 😘 I’m glad I’m not alone in the cooking department! 😂😂

      Like

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