In the Moment Part One

Sometimes it’s funny how life gets your attention and other times it’s like a cold splash of water in your face. Several events this past Memorial weekend got my attention. By the end of the weekend it felt like a cold splash of water in my face, leaving me breathless, gasping for air.
First you must know I have a couple of addictions, one is containers, baskets, any sort of interesting or useful storage item. I love them! I love all stores that have wonderful storage items! I could get in big trouble if I actually gave into my addiction.



The other addiction I have is books. I love books, I love the smell of them, I love to hold them and read them. I love my Kindle and Nook apps because I can carry several books at once, everywhere I go! I’m usually reading at least two books at all times, right now I’m reading four of them. Two of them are self-help/info sorts and two are stories; one fiction, one not. I could probably read a lot faster if I would just read one book at a time, but I can’t help it, I get interested in something and the next thing I know I’m into another book. Some books I have read over again. Some of them I’ve read cover to cover in a week or less. Many books, like my writing, have kept me up until the wee hours of the morning. Often at the end of a good story I find myself melancholy because I am no longer apart of the character's world. I hate when a good book ends!

Because of my book addiction I have piles and piles of books that I have bought and haven’t read yet. I want to read them, I just haven’t had the chance thus far. I also used to collect lots of little slips of paper with book titles written on them hoping one day to compile them into a master list and read them all. Well, with technology I don’t have to do that anymore, I now use and have several lists of books, pages and pages long that I want to read. Anytime I hear of a good book or see a book I want to read I add it to my “To Read” list.



Anyway, in one of my weaker moments I came across the book Your Time-Starved Marriage: How to Stay Connected at the Speed of Life by Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott. I bought it immediately, took it home to share with my husband, got all excited, ordered the workbooks that go with it and proceeded to put it on my nightstand with all the other piles of unread books. However, before I added the book and workbooks to the pile I went on their web site and took their Time Style Assessment. What I found out is that I’m predominantly a Planner. Surprising to me because I’m so disorganized most of the time. Not surprising to The Director, he says I plan everything!

Here is the description that came up after I took the assessment.

*The Planner

You relate to time more objectively than subjectively, that is, you tend to be more scheduled than unscheduled. Relative to others, you live more by a timetable or calendar. You often enjoy executing a plan. You also tend to enjoy structure and, if at all possible, you like to know what’s going to happen next.
That’s due to the fact that you are also more oriented toward the future than the present. You have a vision for what could be and, generally, you’re willing to delay your gratification to be sure the vision is realized. As a Planner, you are typically prepared. Or at least you’re in the process of preparing. You plan your work and work your plan. You’re goal oriented. You’re often thinking about what step to take next. And you are sometimes urgent about what needs to be done now because it will impact what can or cannot be done later. And like any good Planner, you don’t want to be caught off guard or miss a good opportunity.
More than any of the other time styles yours is the one that is most likely to try and protect time. Generally speaking, this makes you industrious and productive with your time. As you practice delayed gratification, putting off an immediate pleasure in order to realize a greater payoff later on, you get things done. This doesn’t mean you are always punctual, but when you are late it’s usually by your own design.
You might be likely to say things to your spouse like, “Give me just a minute,” or “Let me finish this one thing and I’ll be right there.” Under stress you can become discontent and withdrawn. Or, depending upon your personality, you may become insensitive and even impatient. And because you may tend to multi-task, you may need to learn to live more fully in the moment. In fact, this may be your greatest challenge in managing your time in your marriage. While you are busy getting prepared and being efficient (to save time) you may tend to miss out on the joy of savoring what’s going on right now.

 You may need to learn to live more fully in the moment. You may need to learn to live more fully in the moment! Humph! Was all I had to say! I was irked, downright angry when I read those words. I tried to conjure up every excuse I could to defend my planner ways. It wasn’t happening. The Director told me it’s not bad to be a planner, you just need to have more fun. I hate when people tell me that! Loosen up, have more fun, lighten up! My siblings tell me that all the time. Sometimes I hate being in the same room with my siblings, my husband and my kids. They start acting silly, and laughing and goofing off at the most ridiculous times! It infuriates me! Especially when there is stuff to be done, things to take care of, and things to finish. Can’t they see what needs to be done? How can they just sit back and laugh it up and have fun?!

Years ago when The Organized Child was a baby I went to a Christian writer’s conference with a friend. In one of the classes we were given a section of the newspaper, asked to find something that stuck out, relate it back to a biblical story and present an article idea to the class. You know what section of the paper I got?! The classifieds, what in the heck are you going to do with the classifieds. I felt like the girl in the play Chorus Line, the one who sings “Nothing”. You know the one where it’s her first day of acting class, she sings

“Mr. Karp... Oh, Mr. Karp...
 Anyway, he puts us up on the stage with
our legs around each other,
one in back of the other and he says:
"Okay... we're going to do improvisations.
Now, you're on a bobsled. It's snowing out.
And it's cold...Okay...GO!
And everybody's goin' "Whooooosh, whooooosh ...
I feel the snow... I feel the cold... I feel the air."
And Mr. Karp turns to me and he says,
"Okay, Morales. What did you feel?"
And I said..."Nothing,
I'm feeling nothing,"
And he says "Nothing
Could get a girl transferred."

They all felt something,
But I felt nothing
Except the feeling
That this b------t was absurd!”
The song continues with all the kids feeling SOMETHING and Morales feels nothing. That was me, all the people in the class picked out these fabulous things and had concocted bylines and stories and there I sat with the classifieds. And, then I saw it, it hit me, House Cleaner needed. That was it! The story of Martha and Mary, I created something to present to the class, although I couldn’t tell you today what it was. But you know what? That experience stayed with me the rest of my life because I am Martha! Every time someone is having “FUN” I’m brooding, doing whatever task needs to be done. I’m so wrapped up in my planning, my job, that I end up being angry and missing out on all the fun. How can a kid who grew up with a professional magician and clown for a father possibly be this much of a buzz kill!

You know what else? I hear it in my head, when they say lighten up, loosen up, have fun, I hear it, it plays like a broken record. What’s wrong with you, why can’t you just let it go and have some fun? It will be there in a few minutes, an hour, tomorrow. How long is it really going to take you to stop and be silly, laugh, have fun, what are you afraid of? What are you afraid of?! It plays every time, every time! And yet, I can’t seem to let go, I can’t stop myself, I have to press on. I don’t know why, I just do. And then I brood, I pout, I play the martyr, at least in my head. Then a new broken record starts, don’t they get it, if I don’t do this whose going to, don’t they see what life would REALLY be like if I stop, if I join in? Don’t they get that I’m doing all this for them and like Martha, I think if they would just help me I could join in.


And so, here this weekend with my Planner personality, my Planner ways, God says “ENOUGH!” At first He tries to get my attention with subtle, gentle whispers. By the end of the weekend I am soaked, breathless and gasping for air.


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