The thing that’s best

It’s January. Another year passing makes me firstly panic at the sneakiness of time and then get annoyed at myself that I’ve let another year steal away without actually doing those things that I’ve wanted to do.

It’s hard for me, to do the things I want to do. The goody two shoes, performance-driven me wants to do all the things that should be done. I swept beach sand from the floors today, knowing that we were beaching again that afternoon. Why?! Drop the broom woman. Sit and stop. Which reminds me of a story in the Bible of two sisters. They’d opened their home to Jesus, and while one sister sat with him, the other hustled and bustled trying to make everything perfect. Jesus himself said that the woman who’d sat with him instead of hustling and bustling chose the best thing. Sometimes sweeping the floor can wait, when there’s an opportunity to still and fill our souls. Hustle is overrated.

From what I can see in my own life, the need for perfection either prevents me from starting anything, ever, or it keeps me in a place of constant and exhausted striving. Needing to be the perfect housewife keeps me barking orders at the kids, unable to let colouring pencils and paper go unattended on the bench for too long. I can’t write submit the blog post because it’s not polished enough. I can’t sit with a book, because that email needs to be responded to (or avoided cleverly by busying myself with something else ‘important’).

My girls got a bunk bed for Christmas. They’d had two old hospital beds side by side in their bedroom and although they were sweet, and not very wide, their bedroom was cluttered and they were growing out of them. Since Christmas, I’ve had one of their little old beds out in the back yard under the trees. It’s covered in pillows and it calls me from underneath the big old pine in dappled sunlight. I promise it I’ll come. I’ll be right there just as soon as I get this washing folded. The warmth beckons me, and the bed collects the dropping pine needles as the wind tousles them from the branches. I imagine what it would be like to lay on the cotton throw I’ve draped over it, feet crossed, looking up at blue sky through the complex network of branches. I imagine the warmth and the breeze and promise myself just as soon as I do this one last thing. Perfectionism is me gazing out of our back windows, as I repeatedly do just one more thing, but deny myself of the very best thing for a moment.
And by the end of the day, the sunlight is gone, the wind picks up, the dinner needs to be done and the calls of that pretty daybed are no less desperate.

The doing is killing me. It’s not the best thing.

This year I’m making myself aware of perfectionism in all it’s forms, and it’s sneaky, tricky lies and I’m going to say no to it all.

Instead I’ll say more yesses to warm spaces and stillness, good books and prayer, writing and intention.

Today, I ignored the breakfast dishes and headed out to the backyard, turned my face towards the morning sunshine and sipped my cup of tea slowly; grateful that in this moment I was able to choose what was best.


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