Tonight is a quiet time in my house. The dogs and I don’t make a lot of noise. My wife and daughter are gone for a week. My wife is at a “retreat” with a bunch of women. I’m not sure exactly what they’re retreating from, but I don’t ask too many questions for fear of the potential answers. My daughter is spending the week with my mom. So, she’s happy with some grandma time. My son is sailing. Thus, my house is quiet.
Sometimes, this is eerie. Tonight, it is not. It is a time of reflection and contemplation for me. I can listen to the music I want without complaint. I can have the favorite blanket and sit wherever I choose with it. I made dinner already, so my boy is set to go when he gets home. All the chores I am going to do today are done. The time now is mine. And I will take it.
As the buzzing bees shifting the commerce of the world, human beings get trapped in action. Always something needs to or should be done. We live with a sense of urgency and tension about the undone. It is troubling. This is called “stress”. This burdens the peaceful existence that I strive for. As such, I am not a fan.
Much of our time seems to be spent running on others’ clocks. We have to be “someplace” to do “something”. Often the “someplace” and “something” are not preferred by us. This is called life, I suppose. And, I accept this as the toll for my travel pass, but it does feel nice to sit quietly, without obligation, and write and think. All by myself.
When my family is home and I try to enjoy a little “retreat” by myself, either on the deck, the couch or simply in bed, I am perceived as being selfish. When I don’t feel like getting someone a snack or playing a game or talking about my day, something must be “wrong”. I’m crabby or moody or unsupportive. At these times, I am usually none of the above. I just happen to be supporting myself: my need to sit and think about things.
This is an important time for all of us. My family needs me to have this time. I am better for it. All people are better for their own version of this time. Sometimes we just need to take a breath, reset, look back and look forward. Our lives change during these times. We filter our truths through the thin mesh of silence and thought. When we return to the busy world, we are better. We are rejuvenated and reborn with a faith that it will all be ok and that our world is a good place to be. Though it is difficult sometimes, it’s important to remember these things.
Well, my son just returned home and began telling me what I “need” to do. In response, I told him what HE could do. I’m not going anyplace. I’m taking this one. He can fend for himself. I’ve done my job and I am now paying myself for it. And if this is selfish, then so be it. I deserve it and he deserves the outcome of a better me.
Sometimes being selfish is a benevolent act of service and love. And is not selfish at all. And we all deserve it. I trust this to be true.
[EDITOR'S NOTE:"Feel Good Friday" is a regular column written by Des Moines resident Dave Markwell, who just published his first book called "A Feel Good Life" (buy it on Amazon here). Dave also extols to all neighbors: "Enjoy where we live. Put your feet on the pavement and truly feel how great it is to live here!" Also, you can "friend" Dave on Facebook here. Or work out with him at his exercise company Waterland CrossFit!]