I Didn’t Go to Church Today

I feel rushed today. I woke up this Sunday morning with a to-do list running through my head. There are errands I need to run before the work week starts again, groceries I need to buy, laundry I need to do, and accounting principles I need to master so I can take the online quiz that’s due tomorrow. I also have some calls to make just to catch up with people who are expecting calls from me. Strangely, on what is supposed to be the slowest day of the week, I may not have time to go to the gym… the one thing I like to do for me. And I won’t be attending church today.

Even before my breakfast was eaten, I’d created a mental schedule for the day, and if all goes well, I will be able to get 8 hours of sleep tonight. By 10 am, I was fed, my dog was walked, my bed sheets were in the wash, and one of the chapters of my book was read. So I decide that it would be a good time to get on the treadmill that sits in the corner of my master bedroom and pound out 3 miles since I don’t have time for a trip to the gym. As part of my treadmill routine, I run a little, walk at an incline for a while, and then turn around and walk backwards. And as I’m walking backwards I can look out my window and see the beautiful day that I won’t be outside to enjoy. But today I noticed something other than what was beyond the window. I noticed the window itself. And the blinds. The blinds were dusty.

It was only last weekend that I ran a washcloth over the blinds in a half effort to clean them as I was cleaning my room (one of the things on last Sunday’s to-do list). But that didn’t get the blinds very clean. As I walked backwards thinking about this, I remembered watching my mom take the blinds down, put them in a bathtub full of soapy water, and scrub each individual slat (or whatever they’re called) with a scrub brush. Then she flipped the whole thing over and started again on the other side. And I remembered being about 10 years old when she taught me how to do it, and it became a job I (begrudgingly) did from time to time.

I started wondering… How many families have time to have clean blinds? The house I grew up in was spotless. The furniture was regularly stripped of its coverings and cleaned, the curtains were taken down and washed, the windows were free of smudges, and the house always smelled of either home-cooked meals or lemon Pinesol. I maybe ate one or two meals per month that weren’t home cooked, and I thought it was a treat to eat out. I had a mother at home who read to me every day when I was little and helped me with my homework when I was older. I remember sitting in front of our south-facing sliding glass door in the winter time, soaking up the warmth from the sun and having a picnic lunch on the floor with Mom. I remember getting bundled up to go out and do chores with Dad and Grandpa on the ranch. I’m sure my brother and I were more work than help when we were young, but Dad never seemed to mind. And not attending church on Sunday was not an option.

I remember being given time and patience, just like the blinds in my parents’ house were given time and patience. My Dad’s work was given time and patience too, and his healthy herd of cattle and well-kept fences, buildings, and ranch equipment were proof of it. My parents made time… for family, for lessons they taught us, for details, and for God. I didn’t know, until much later in life, how blessed I was.

So as I walked backwards on my treadmill today, thinking about the dusty blinds in my bedroom, I re-examined my to-do list for the day. It suddenly all seemed kinda silly. I even asked myself why I am back in school again, working on a second graduate degree. Hours of my days for years of my life spent doing work that will ultimately allow me to walk across a stage and be handed a piece of paper. A piece of paper?! And what will that piece of paper get me? The opportunity to take a job that will require more of my time, mental energy, and added responsibilities. And if I have a family one day, that job will probably take away from time I could spend with them.

I didn’t go to church today. Instead, I walked backwards on a treadmill and spent the day on my couch, surrounded by stacks of books. I would so much rather be having a picnic lunch on the floor with a loved one. But instead I feel rushed to make my way through a self-imposed to-do list.

Funny the things that give you perspective. Today it was dusty blinds.