Friday, June 8, 2012

It Ain't Over Yet

Nike had an ad that said, "There is no finish line." It's supposed to be inspiring. Right now it just makes me tired. I've decided to re-write the ad:
There is no finish line, but there are water breaks, bathrooms, and energy snacks along the way.

Today was a huge "water break." My friend Julie shared the bounty of gift certificates she received for her 40th birthday and let me and our friend Lisa, join her for a day at the spa. We were treated to facials, hour-long massages, yummy food, and brief visits to the steam room and sauna. We arrived at 9am and were pampered until about 2pm when we decided it was time to re-join the real world. I know that today was a day of extreme extravagance. We literally were lathered in luxury. I mean it - I went home a slathered in oil and hydrating creams.

On the heels of a week where our family hosted 3 children, most likely orphaned by AIDS, from Burundi, Africa, the timing was both welcomed and confusing. I was exhausted from the physical and emotional toll of the having a houseful Monday-Wednesday while trying to balance work and family. The experience vividly reminded me that my life is cush. Dragging my weary self to the spa this morning was a reminder that I live in the land of "first-world problems." I found myself fretting over what to wear when one has to walk into a 1st class full-service spa, take off afore mentioned outfit, and put on a giant robe and squishy sandals. (For the record, I decided jeans, a gap t-shirt, a Nike pullover, and a pair of black Converse would suffice. Unfortunately my closet doesn't contain any of those velour blinged-out sweatsuits yet.) I needed a "water break."

Me, Lisa, and the birthday girl - Julie. 

Not all water breaks need be so grandiose. But I have to admit, I enjoyed every minute...even the ones where I fell asleep during my facial and awoke to the sound of my own little snore/snort noise. I loved the time of conversation with dear friends and the ability to put the to-do list on hold for a day (or at least from 9am-2pm).

Maybe this is TMI, but you know that bathroom breaks are also essential and have their own sort of, well,...release. These short breaks provide necessary bits of time where one can't be disturbed. This analogy breaks down if you have small children, because moms know that it when you're in the restroom you are suddenly in greatest demand. Ok, let's get off the toilet and on to my third point.

Energy snacks. Yes please. When you're in a race there are often folks cheering you on (most of the people you don't even know) and sometimes those good people hand you energy snacks along the way. Their bright smiles, shouts of encouragement, and the baggies of treats freely given are the fuel that keeps you going. In everyday life, energy snacks vary from person-to-person. Some crave words of affirmation,  others thrive on a kind deed, or a thoughtful gift. We derive our energy from God-given passions, dreams we hope to reach, and the pursuit of goals we want fulfilled.

As a person who loves to see a task completed, I often wonder, how I'm supposed to keep running the race when I can't see the finish line? I'm one of those people who creates a list of things that need to be accomplished and then adds on chores/jobs I've already done just to get the satisfaction of crossing them off the list. That's a bit sick, huh? With that mindset, how will I know when I've arrived, or when I can stop? Yet, God has created me with love of surprise and a love for life. So when life feels overwhelming, remind me that it ain't over yet and water, a bathroom, and a snack are available along the way.

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