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Monday, November 22, 2010

Is Nothing Really Something?

I love unexpected windows.  And I don’t just open them, I usually jump right through them.
What kind of windows am I talking about?  For the most part, it’s unplanned blocks of time that I didn’t anticipate.

A couple of weeks ago, I took the day off for “oral surgery.”  I was dreading the day for several reasons.  For the record, I really hate going to the dentist.  I also hate doing “nothing."  It would be a lost day – a big waste of time!

After an early surgery, I was surprised to be sitting at home at 9:30 a.m.  And I didn’t really feel that bad.  I was too drugged to work.  No clients were expecting me to return calls.  No kids were expecting me to take care of them.  Nobody had a single expectation on my time.  Not even me. 

Wow, an unexpected window.  A free day.  A day to do nothing.

But wait a minute.  I hate doing nothing!  I know, I know, I need to get with the program.  Nothing is in.  Even a recent Harvard Business Blog talks about the benefits of doing nothing.  But it still doesn't come easy for me.  Nothing is hard work.

It's one thing to enjoy an unexpected window when you have a clear head (and a working jaw).  It's another thing when you are stuck with an ice pack and a fat lip.

So, did I just sit and do nothing?  Of course not.  I was getting really bored, so I decided to go to lunch with Doug.  So what if I couldn’t eat – I’ve never been very good at following doctor’s orders, and I was starting to get hungry.  Plus, I had to make the most of my newly found commodity.  Time. 

But lunch didn't taste very good.  I thought about shopping, but my head was really spinning.  So I went home and sat in silence.  That's right, I did a little bit of nothing.  And it felt really good.  The day went incredibly slow.  And then it was over.  And then I asked myself where the time doing nothing had gone.

I’m the kind of person that never plans to do nothing.  But sometimes God gives me unexpected windows.  And then I’m reminded that nothing is really something.

Nothing is pure grace.


Wendy Paine Miller said...

Nothing is both hard work and pure grace for me too.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving!
~ Wendy

Rosslyn Elliott said...

I'm looking forward to doing nothing for a couple of days this week! I need that respite. But today, I will be running around like crazy in order to be able to do nothing later. :-)

Melissa Rorabaugh {TubsWife} said...

I am terrible at nothing. It literally stresses me. I need a new God-given outlook on nothing.

Thanks for this view ! ;)

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Esther said...

Nothing is pure grace...Amen, sister! It's hard for me to do nothing also...but I'm always glad when I do.

Graceful said...

I actually love a nothing day -- I'm surprisingly good at it, despite my Triple Type A personality. I am best at doing nothing at the beach. While my husband meanders about peering into tidal pools, I sit in a beach chair and watch the waves. I could do that for hours.

mama2blog said...

Nothing is really great! I forget how life was without a family and I'd blow whole days at a time doing nothing. I took it for granted. It's rare that I get a "nothing" day, and even when I have a few rare "nothing" hours - I'm bored and lost without the family around and not having something to do.

Amy DeTrempe said...

I have a hard time with unexpected blocks of time. Even though I am sure there are things I could be doing (laundry) I am not organized enough to adjust that well. I usually end up at my computer because I can't just do nothing, and why do laundry when it was planned for that time :)

BigD said...

Once in a while, when I get those opportunities to do nothing, I revel in them--something that I've learned to do and just enjoy the moment.
Then, the next morning, when I'm looking at the dishes in the sink, the pile of laundry to put away, the pile of bills... well, it never ends.
That's when I feel guilty.
But, at least I've learned to enjoy the moment when it comes along. Honestly, if I'd have kept totally busy, I would not get it all done and I'd still feel guilty!!
Have a great Thanksgiving! said...

Oh, this is so good. I force myself to do nothing every morning for 20 minutes. It's called "Meditation" and it gets my brain and spirit off to a solid start every day.

And then the open windows of time - I usually get them through the thrill of a cancelled meeting, at which point I fill up the time with other things I need to get done. That is grace, too.

David Rupert said...

Open windows...too many times I slam em shut. don't want that fresh air to come in!

Nicole Unice said...

Man, I love nothing times. But I don't know if I like them imposed upon me (like the dentist trip) as much as I yearn for them in the busyness of life. Yesterday I stepped outside of my office and took a ten-minute "space bar" between two sets of tasks. It was refreshing to take a nothing-break. I highly recommend them!

Susan DiMickele said...

I just love these comments about nothing! Nothing is really much more than I ever imagined.