Stressed? Going through something hard? Here’s an idea: When it is all too much, just leave. Do a reset. It’s just like the tech experts tell us all the time, shut down the computer or whatever thing is giving you trouble and when you re-boot a lot of things will just be better.
I finally recovered enough from my hip surgery that we could make a weekend trip to see our daughter and her family five hours away. We had not seen our three and five year old grandsons since July. The younger one has been walking around for weeks with his backpack packed to come to my house. He’d even been delaying treats, adding them to the backpack to “have at Mosa’s house.” When he started not eating whole meals and asking to add his dinner to the backpack for Mosa’s as well, we knew it was time to go.
I’ve written much in the last weeks about how things have been in our home lately. We’ve had layers of stress and never-before-events piling on top of one another and it really was feeling like too much. A reset was just what we needed.
I think I actually found the secret of life: Just immerse yourself in the world of three and five year-olds for a bit and I promise you will feel better.
Our five year old grandson is enamored with doing “Science Experiences”. He just thinks up strange things he is curious about and wants to try them out. He told us he wanted to fill a water bottle with water and then have my husband, Coach, run over it with the car to see what would happen. We would have 100% told our own kids a hard no to that request. We were too serious, too busy, too wrapped up in building careers, too sensible for such things. Now we both agree, Well, sure! We need to see what happens with that.
We took them an ant farm too. I had to use my best strategies to arrive in Houston with live ants but I did it. Secret here: put them in the cooler and they “go to sleep.” We had the most amazing time building the ant farm together and watching the ants with a magnifying glass.
They used their little plastic construction tools to work on dissecting sidewalk chalk because, why not? They added water to the sidewalk chalk dust because, why not? They filled water bottles with hose water, sidewalk chalk, pieces of bark and leaves because, why not?
Our grandsons also love “Adbentures” which is just anything at all with the name adventure on it. Going to Sonic for an ice cream is an “Adbenture.” Playing in my car for a while is an “Adbenture.” Watching the sun come up together is an “Adbenture.”
The whole weekend we didn’t watch tv, except for that brief wondorous time we watched the Aggies beat Alabama. We just played and read and laughed and re-booted. We forgot some of our worries. I even forgot I’d been on a walker since July and started walking around like a human.
Rebekah Lyons in her book Rhythms of Renewal: Trading Stress and Anxiety for a Life of Peace and Purpose, writes a whole chapter called: Make a Memory: Imaginative Play. I just read it today after we are already back from our fun weekend, but clearly we were on the right trick. The little children led us there. She opens the chapter with a quote from Aedriel Moxley, Memories aren’t made from to-do lists.
I actually think they are or can be. We can add to our serious to do lists our re-boot times, our disconnect times, our play. We have an Ant Farm because I put it on my to-do list. We made our fun weekend get away because we scheduled it.
One of our “Science Experiences” was a donut taste test because our five year old grandson told me on the phone that he’d tasted white powdered donuts but never the cinnamon ones or the chocolate ones. I added those items to my grocery list, because I knew we needed to do a blindfolded taste test. Coach got every taste wrong but the boys did great.
What fun re-boot, science “experience” or “adbenture” do you need to add to your to-do list? It might not involve three or five year olds, but let me tell you, they help. I will work with you on renting out some boys I know if you need a great happy distraction for a while.
Lyons writes, When we break out of the cycle of drudgery and focus on creating memories with those around us, we start to find the wonder in life. p. 260
We returned home Sunday to all the same challenges. Actually, we even had a few more waiting for us here.
But we’d experienced the power of a re-boot, of saying yes more than no, of anything being an “adbenture.” God created us to play, to laugh, to imagine, to be curious. Humans are the only species on the planet who can remember with emotion. What feeling filled memory do you need to create today or add to your to-do list so it will happen?
Back in the real world we are still laughing about trying to play the quiet game while the sun came up, about running over water bottles and watching ants do their thing but mostly we are just thanking God for the re-boot.
The wolf will romp with the lamb, the leopard shall sleep with the baby goat. Calf and lion will eat from the same trough, and, a little child shall lead them. Isaiah 11:6 The Message
Dr. Cindy Ryan is a pastor, wife, mother of three, breast cancer survivor, Mosa to Keller, Pace and River and the proud owner of a brand new hip. You can read more blogs and sign up for Cindy’s Inner Circle monthly email at http://www.drcindyryanblog.com.