Friday, September 25, 2009

I'm not too busy...or am I?

I stumbled across a wonderful little book today by Jodi Hills. It’s called I’m not too Busy and was exactly what I needed to read right now. While reading it did induce sadness, it was only because I was being convicted of my own busyness…my own self-absorbedness. It reminded me of mistakes I’ve made and continue to make in my life. It reminded me of how often I’ve been impatient while waiting in line at a grocery store or in a line of traffic. I wish I could quote the whole book here, but Ms Hills might not appreciate it. (Please visit her website to see the wonderful products she has created at

I hope she won’t mind, however, if I share just a bit of her wisdom, because I think it speaks to us all, especially moms and dads who have let the busyness of their lives crowd out what’s really important…like tossing a ball in the backyard, carefully arranging a fistful of wildflowers, or simply sitting and listening to the dreams, the angst, a retelling of a day at school, a dramatic monologue of teenage friendships gone wrong or whatever else your precious children have to tell you. Please take the time to play and to create and to listen. We’re all here for such a short while. When we let the days, the weeks, the years pass by, there’s no guarantee tomorrow will afford us more. The only guarantee we have is that someday our time here on earth will end. There will be no more opportunities to toss a ball, to arrange some flowers, to listen to stories.

Jodi Hills writes, “Sometimes, when you’re not looking, days go by. I encourage my microwave to hurry, as I’m checking my e-mail, and talking on my cell phone to my friend who’s in his car, rushing to his next meeting, and we’re both worried that time is actually speeding up, but we can’t get together, because we’re just too busy….” Does this sound familiar to you? Is this what our lives have become?

Do we not hang laundry on the line because it’s so much quicker to throw it in the dryer? I’ve found hanging laundry to be a time when I must slow down, just for a few moments. As I reach for clothespins and snap the wrinkles out of a pillow case, I notice a pair of squirrels chasing each other up and down the oak trees. I see that the Queen Anne’s lace on the hillside is finally revealing its delicate beauty. I hear the song of a golden finch and search the sky hoping to spot it. I smell the lilacs of spring wafting across the yard. I experience life in a different way than I would have by simply tossing the wet laundry into the dryer with a softener sheet. Sometimes, when my grandbaby’s with me, she hands me clothespins and experiences the wonders of the backyard with me. The joy of hanging laundry was introduced to me as a child as well and I’ll be eternally grateful to my own mother for the gift of that. A precious memory. But I wonder how many more there will be. My mother’s 82-years-old now and lives across the state. I don’t spend as much time with her as I would like because, well….I’m too busy. Isn’t that tragic?

“Birthdays are belated. Children become adults and grandparents’ memories are forgotten.” – Jodi Hills

Where do we store regrets when we just can’t seem to let them go? Someone dies and we never told them how much it meant to us the time they stopped by with a bag of groceries when they knew we didn’t have any money left that week? Or who showed up to mow the lawn when we were newly widowed…or brought chicken soup when we were ill. Did we thank them when they sent the perfect card out of the blue, just when we needed encouragement? Did we tell them we loved them?

A child disappoints us and we let them know. But do we tell them how proud we are of them? Or how blessed we are to have them in our lives? As much as we don’t want to think about it, children die too.

After my youngest daughter left home, I found a notebook of hers and was paging through it. What I read there affected me profoundly and, as I write this, still brings the stinging tears of regret to my eyes. She wrote about how I was always telling her she could talk to me and then wrote, “But I’m getting really sick of talking to her back.” You see, she would come into my office to talk, but I was always ‘busy’ so I’d listen to her as I continued working at my computer. Didn’t she deserve some eye-to-eye contact? Didn’t the very presence of her warrant my undivided attention? What I would give to reclaim those moments. But days go by. Then weeks. Then years.

There is no going back and reclaiming time we’ve lost. We can’t Tivo life and hope to catch up on an episode later. We can’t hit the rewind button and listen again to what we should have heard while it was being said. This is real life and it’s going by, often faster than we think.

If your children are still at home, make sure they know you value you them more than your favorite television show or your ‘friends’ on Facebook. Catch up on your emails later. Let your crops die on Farmville. Life is worth so much more than that. It’s about people, folks. Face-to-face relationships. While catching up with friends and family via the Internet or telephone or Skype can be wonderful in and of itself, a cyber hug can never touch us the way a real hug will. LOL is not the same as laughing together over coffee. An emoticon cannot accurately portray our expression.

Our kids are looking for someone who’s not too busy for them. Wouldn’t it be grand if the person they find is you?

Thanks for reading,



  1. Thanks Mom, I'm looking forward to us all being together at Kennywood tomorrow. I'm hoping we share a lot of lol moments!

  2. Hana,
    That was an awesome post. Tonight my son and I spent a few minutes together researching a vet tech career for him and he seemed so surprised that I would give up computer time for him. How timely!
    I want to check out that book. In my last blog post, I hinted that I, too feel that our lives have gotten too busy. Busy with technology and alienating ourselves along the way.
    Thanks for sharing from your heart.


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