Monday, May 23, 2011

I Kidnapped A Friend Yesterday

...and we went for a drive.

I asked her if she wanted to go on Wednesday or Thursday, and she reviewed her schedule for the weekend and said Sunday after church would be fine. By the time it got to Sunday, of course, she was waffling, because she couldn't find her jewelry for the wedding that's taking place in a month and a half, and it might be in one of the storage units which she and her husband rented because they bought a new home but haven't sold the old one yet and so they called in a stager who told them they needed to get rid of most of their stuff, put down new carpet in the bedrooms, paint the bedrooms and the kitchen cabinets, and...

So with her permission (granted with the provisio that when we returned I'd go with her to look for her jewelry before she had a complete meltdown), I took her away from all the chaos and we went for a drive to a vacant plot of land on Lake Ontario just so that we could read and take photographs of a sign and a couple of historical plaques.

Crazy, no?

Here's the monument:

Here's the sign:

Yes, we went to the site of "Camp X," where the "Man Called Intrepid" trained spies during World War II, including a young man by the name of Ian Fleming. We chose this little jaunt because she has some family ties to Sir William Stephenson and Camp X.

As we drove, we talked. Not about church (and her job), or about all the stressors that we are labouring under at this time, but about our family history. Interesting stories of immigration, struggle, and triumph. Stories of things kids and parents have done to amuse us. We talked about our hopes for the future, too.

And a funny thing happened throughout the course of that day.

I came back from the trip with a whole lot of character traits and quirks I could put into my stories to make them funnier and more exciting to read. I gained some much-needed confidence with regards to the small business idea I'm thinking about. I also came back refreshed and ready to write daily until my novel is finished..

And we both found a measure of peace in the midst of the storms. I think the best illustration of that was her attitude when we searched the storage areas and didn't find her jewellry. "Oh, well," she said. "I guess it's just going to wait until we move in two weeks."

No panic. Just calm, rational thought that could only come after she'd taken some time away from the chaos.

In our 24/7 world, we sometimes believe that humans should be like machines--able to work constantly unless we're eating or sleeping. We praise workaholics, despite the fact that they have higher rates of heart disease and family strife. We chide ourselves when we don't work as hard as we think we should.

But we can't and shouldn't work constantly. It isn't just that constant work is bad for us physically and mentally. What it kills even more than bodies and minds is souls. We lose perspective. We're unable to solve problems because we can't think outside the box. We don't have time to try anything new. There's too much at stake if we screw up.

We need to take time, a whole day every week if we can manage, or, like this guy, a whole year in every seven. We need to do this not so that our bodies can rest, but so that our minds can rest and recharge. So that for that day, and for the rest of the week, we can think, instead of react.


Frank Baron said...

Timeouts are indeed important. Which, of course, is why God invented fishing. ;)

Ruth Cooke said...

You would have to bring up the fishing thing... :)