Monday, December 19, 2011

On Our Last Legs

More than once during our adventure people have replied to something or other that we've said with, "You have way too much time on your hands!" And as we are quickly coming to the last leg of our trip we can't deny it: we have had almost nothing but time to think.

Maybe you could call it 'free' time. The issue with calling it so, however, is the idea that free time is only the leftovers or scraps of time remaining after everything else that is more important is done. It tends to be approached in a passive gait. It is no wonder someone who feels overworked can look at another person who talks about enjoying 'free' time and ask, "How does she do it?" In the nearly nine years Kristen and I have been an item, many people have asked us this question. And we've queried plenty of people this as well. Whether they were talking about a long trip or a short trip, a regular time to pray, a regular tee off time, or whatever it happened to be, their answers were the same as ours. They didn't hope to find scraps of time leftover to do whatever it was that they enjoyed doing. They gave a degree of priority to their 'thing' and made time for it. In other words, they took an active approach to their free time rather than being overly passive about it. In our particular situation we made sacrifices to open up room in our lives for a fifteen month adventure. But it isn't the amount of time that is of primary importance.

What is most important is to give yourself enough time to still your mind and body, and to regularly take that time to come out of the driving currents that carry along most of the daily schedule. And, of course, you don't need fifteen months to do this. You would be surprised with what can happen when you dedicate five to ten minutes each day to this. Things long forgotten or ignored are then given a space to wake up and remind you that despite how busy your life has become, you are still you and your depths are still stirring. I have a small example. As a child I loved to draw. On this trip my love for drawing reasserted itself and it lead me to carry a sketch book around to capture some scenes along the way. It is a true joy to be reminded that sketching something here and there is an activity I want in my life, even though it will probably occupy only a very small part of my time. It was an enriching rediscovery for me.

For us, we have had time on this trip to really piece together our more deep-seated interests into a possible framework for our life in Canada. We might say it has given us some perspective on what we think is a worthwhile way to live out our life together. So, yes, we have had a lot of free time. We are happy we scheduled it in. And we have a feeling that the echoes from this trip will continue happily and hopefully into our lives, gently shaping our married life for many years to come.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I really like this...
A Eileen