Life is busy. I know it’s busy for all of us, but I can’t help but feeling that it’s busier than it should be. Work, married life, kids, church, friends—all compose the blur of what is currently my daily life.
My weeks are kind of crazy (I know; whose aren’t?!), but I’ll try and explain so you’ll understand why this past weekend was such a treat: I work 12-hour shifts three days a week, and those days alternate each week. One week I work Wednesday through Friday, then the next week I work Thursday through Saturday. My days at the mental health agency where I work require so much of me mentally, physically and emotionally that I try not to plan anything other than work on those three days a week because my brain and body feel virtually non-functional by the time I get home. Also, I’m able to pick up extra shifts there, which I do as much as I can, and sometimes those are overnight shifts. So my work schedule can be crazy.
In addition to work, I get to spend every Tuesday evening with my daughters, plus they stay with us every other weekend. Danielle and I have Life Group (our church’s small groups) twice a month on Wednesday evenings plus other church services and meetings a couple of evenings a month. Every week or so, I try to squeeze in dinner with my best friend, Kirk. On top of that I try to plan time with my sons and other close friends. Sometimes it really makes my head spin! One nice thing is Monday is Danielle’s day off, too, so we usually get to spend that day together (unless I pick up an extra shift!).
Well this past weekend, something amazing (I may even go so far as to say miraculous) happened. We had originally planned to go visit my parents in North Carolina, but that fell through a few days before. In the meantime, I was having trouble finding someone to cover my shift for the Saturday before Valentine’s Day for a quick get-away I’d planned for Danielle and me. I had the thought to swap the weekends out, and amazingly (and thankfully), we were able to!
So we hopped in the car on a sun-drenched Saturday and drove the one-and-a-half hours to Smithville, Tennessee. Our destination was our friend’s beautiful lake house on Center Hill Lake. The house sits on a steep hill, which I’ll be honest, makes me a little nervous; the hill is so steep that the basement has a deck! (I have the irrational fear that the big earthquake that will one day happen on the New Madrid fault outside of Memphis will strike when we’re at the lake house and we will tumble off the stilts down into the water!) But the view, which overlooks the lake and a marina, is gorgeous.
Saturday night we made the trek into Cookeville for our date night. We watched the inspiring movie “Hidden Figures” about three African-American women who worked for NASA in the 1960s. Afterwards, we had a nice vegetarian dinner at Logan’s Roadhouse. And yes, we were probably the only vegetarians eating at a steak place! Back at the lake house we just relaxed and watched TV ‘til bed time.
On Sunday, it was very cloudy with intermittent rain and snow, which was beautiful to see. It was the perfect day to enjoy a hot cup of coffee and read a good book, which we both did. I can’t tell you how awesome it felt just to sit and read a book without any distractions. We had some music playing in the background and interrupted each other only to share something we were reading in our books.(I’m currently reading Proteinaholic. A blog about what I’m learning from this book is forthcoming.) A little later, we turned on the TV and watched a marathon of one of our favorite TV shows Fixer Upper on HGTV. That evening we prepared a simple but delicious meal and watched Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol.
On Monday, we woke up to beautiful sunshine streaming through the large wall of windows, which we thoroughly enjoyed as we drank more coffee and read more in our books. As we headed home via winding back roads, we continued to connect and talk about things close to our hearts: what God has planned for us and how we both continually want to hear His voice and follow hard after His will for our life together. I love those types of heartfelt connection times, especially with my wife.
The power of taking a break is rejuvenating and refreshing. It also really did my heart good to unplug from Facebook and the news, which I think are both so toxic right now. Those kinds of breaks create space in my head to ponder things other than the aforementioned life activities that sometimes crowd out my ability to even think clearly sometimes. Many thanks to our friends for letting us stay at their lovely lake house. It was an awesome time for us to have a respite from the rigors of daily life.
Be kind to yourself. I encourage you to take a moment when you get a chance to disconnect and enjoy some peace and quiet. I’m so grateful we did!