I, along with the rest of Northwest Arkansas, have been hiding away under blankets this morning waiting for this predicted winter storm to attack. Denison Witmer croons in the background as my soundtrack for this rainy, sleet-y morning, frequently accompanied by the tea kettle’s whistle.
My rainy-day-Denison-Witmer tradition started freshman year of college when a friend introduced me to his music. Rainy mornings then actually looked a lot like this one — curled up under blankets with blog posts dribbling off my fingertips. I have always found rain slows my mind and focuses my thoughts. I had the bed next to the window both years I lived in on-campus dorms, and the cold marble windowsill would hold my laptop as I propped myself against pillows and daydreamed words into prose.
The tapping on the windows tells me that the rain has transitioned to pellets of ice. Our neighbors’ roof shows signs of those pellets being knit together into a blanket of white over shingles of gray. Traffic slows to an almost non-existence in front of our home, and I am reminded of the power of weather to slow the world around me.
And not just the world, but me, too. It is the instrument God uses to slow my heart, my time, my plans.
I find myself constantly restless when things slow down. I fidget like a child getting her hair cut, knowing to sit still but shifting weight and itching her nose after each snip of the scissors across bangs. The only way I could get my nine year old self to stop fidgeting was to tell myself that I wanted to be the best at sitting still for a haircut. But in the world now, I find myself thinking that being the best means being the busiest. And I wonder if it’s not just me, but our culture that feels that way?
We wear our busyness like a badge, bragging about the various things we fill our time with or the major life change we are in. We give ourselves brownie points for managing to have a 10 minute quiet time because, given how busy we are, that sacrifice of time must mean we are super spiritual. We define ourselves and our worth by the quantity of how we invest our time, not the quality. I wonder if we are so afraid of erring in being lazy that we overcompensate to prove to ourselves and to others that we are valuable in one way or another.
On this slow morning, as the sleet falls outside my window and the world halts, I want to embrace not being busy. I want to notice the crackle of winter and the hum of our heater. I want to pour another cup of tea and savor the smell of spicy cinnamon. I want to intentionally thank God for all of the things that make me busy, learning to communicate less that I am “busy” and more that I am “blessed.”
The sleet has transitioned to quietly flurrying snow, and I pray that my heart embraces this mid-week hush.