Last updated on May 18th, 2021 at 12:15 pm
Ask anyone I know, and they’ll tell you that at times I’m totally an overgrown kid. I let my imagination run away with me, I rarely let myself by limited by the concerns that most adults focus on, and believe that life isn’t worth living if it isn’t kept interesting. It’s hard to get me to sit still if you haven’t given me a task to focus on, and I rather do things until I’m totally wiped out than waste a single moment sleeping.
I don’t wanna grow up—but we don’t stay young forever.
Ain’t Getting Any Younger
Let me tell you a bit about my church.
With a congregation of about 150-200. Black, White, young, old, rich, poor—we cover multiple spectra.
Every year, we go up to the Muskoka, ON area for a church retreat—a weekend dedicated to worship, togetherness, and maybe most important—rest.
I’ve been 4 or 5 times now, and while I’ve enjoyed it every time, I don’t know whether “restful” is something I’d call it from my experience.
But that could have something to do with my unexpected role as a makeshift babysitter for the church.
Misadventures in Makeshift Babysitting
It’s been going on for too long to remember when it started, but for some years now, I’ve served the role of an unofficial mascot for the kids at church. While I’m not ready to have kids of my own (though to hear most fathers tell it, who ever is?), I have a huge soft spot for kids. If a child in a stroller waves at me or says “Hi”, I go into instant smiley-face happy mode and do the same back.
Oh God. I’m channelling my mother. Ugh!
Anyway, for the reasons I stated at the beginning, children seem drawn to me. I play their games. I speak to them like equals and not dismiss their ideas. I never underestimate them, as kids are capable of more than you could imagine. And so, out of just about anyone in the church, I’m the one they flock to after the Sunday services.
But after an hour of being chased and pulled around the sanctuary; poked prodded and jumped on; and generally fulfilling my role as a walking, talking jungle gym—I’m exhausted.
There’s another guy who helps out—here’s 14 or 15, and I wish I had his energy. But here I am in a body that’s been well-used these past few decades, and I’ll admit—it needs its rest!
But if I’m in need of a nap after an hour… imagine how I’d be after a weekend???
A Time For Rest
Apparently, I haven’t quite grasped the meaning of the word “retreat” yet.
3. a place of refuge, seclusion, or privacy: The library was his retreat.
5. a retirement or a period of retirement for religious exercises and meditation.
Thinking about my retreat experience and the fact that I’m horrible at finding rest leads me to a question — when’s the last time you had some time to yourself?
I mean really had some time to yourself—spent some time being by yourself and doing what you want to do with your time?
I’d bet that few of us get the opportunity. So many of our lives get filled with so many responsibilities, questions, worries, woes and other such complications that we get very little time to do what we want to do.
That’s part of what I think retreats are for, but somewhere along the line I forget this and keep doing what I always do. Play the role of the jungle gym. Stay up late having conversations with just about everybody. Essentially, do anything but rest.
I Know This is Supposed to Teach Me Something…
There’s a lesson here to learn. One might be that maybe I am ready to have kids and I just don’t know it. Maybe it’s that life is about balance and we aren’t forced to take on every role that’s thrust forward at us. But for me, I think the most important lesson is probably this:
It’s okay to rest. Go get some.
How about you, readers? Are you overachievers? Do you have kids and knew when you were ready to have some? Think I’m totally off-base? Drop a comment. Let me know. And I’ll let you know if I think you’re wrong 😉
Until next time,
10 replies on “Of Resting, Wrestling and Lessons”
Bob and I are on the same path – in terms of having children. We are “Actively” trying … (That sounds so funny). Here are some words of encouragement my mom always gives me:
– It will be different when it’s YOUR child.
You will find the energy. You will WANT to do the things they need. You will do it. It’s just the way it is. Apparently, you don’t even notice. You just do what’s necessary.
I don’t believe in this kind of magic but, I’ll take her word for it. 😀
Family and friends will be around to help. Don’t stress.
I’m sure all of that is right — I guess my thing is trying to get rid of distractions beforehand. The situation will obviously never be perfect, but the less that gets in the way of me eventually being a good father, the better I think it will be for all parties 😛
I think, though, as I get more used to being married and have finally started to find a rhythm for numerous parts of my life, that I’m getting to a point where the notion of kids isn’t as scary as it would have once been.
Let’s see what madness 203 brings.
Nice post and nice new brand, CEP.
You’ll never be ready to have kids. The question is, are you ready to accept a plethora of changes in your life? You can plan to have kids, but planning further than that is impossible.
I never knew that my girls were going to be girls (until it was too late), whether they would be in good health or of a good nature. And I had no idea that one would sleep through the night, while the other one wakes up. Furthermore, these routines don’t last long. Things change all the time. It’s all unforeseeable but I had to adapt and still am adapting as my kids grow older (terrible twos right now!). Adapting is something you will do as well. You do it for work. It’s what makes you good at your job. You’ll soon understand that the same balance needs to be struck while you’re at home, if you want to be a good parent.
From what I know of you, you are ready to be a parent and I think you’re unselfish enough to be good at it. Some people put themselves first most of the time and that is where they fail at being a parents.
You can put yourself first sometimes, but there is a fine balance that will inevitably affect how your child grows up. If you’re ready to manage your life around your children – and really, it’s achievable, just more hectic and stressful – then you are ready to take on the responsibility.
I’m happy your thinking about being a dad. It’s a great experience and you’ll have awesome looking mulatto punks running around the house. Start now or you’ll run out of steam before your grandchildren arrive! Good luck bro.
Ken, it’s so amazingly good to hear from you!
Thanks for this; it’s really reassuring. With each passing day, my apprehension wanes a little more, and I imagine a life ahead that’ll see a family, possibly new environments and just making changes to do as best as possible for everyone involved.
I feel like 2013 is going to be such a massive plunge into really shaking things up for my future… but I’m happy to make it. It’s going to be one of those things where I eventually look back and wonder why I didn’t do it sooner.
Again, thanks for this. My day’s already improved a little because of it 🙂
I love the thought of encouragement cards! Maybe that is what we should all do this holiday season!
They’re really awesome 🙂 The ones I’ve gotten over the years have been really nice — they’re a good way to get a realistic view on where we’re at and how we interact with others 🙂
I think it would be an AMAZING idea. You don’t need to sign your name, just write something nice.
OMG! That will be so awesome! You know how CrushTO has the numbering system? Maybe something like that. Anonymous and nice! But how do we give it to people?
You’ll have to enlighten me on CrushTO and see how we might be able to work together to make something happen 🙂
Totally like you. Except from the fact I am not even 24, white and a woman but how can this be relevant?
When it comes to personality and the soul, I find that race, gender and age are often HIGHLY irrelevant 🙂 But glad to find a kindred soul! Lots to figure out, but I find that each day I figure out a little more about what the heck it is I’m supposed to be doing 🙂