Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished
One Spring morning, my kids and I were frantically searching for Ryland’s library book. I was already running late for work. I remembered the night before that it was library day and had planned to put the book in his backpack before I went to bed. But I got sidetracked on the internet and forgot about it. It turned out that the book was not in the drawer where he usually kept it. It has been misplaced. I could have turned the house upside down and found it that morning but I didn’t want to miss my bus. So I told his brothers to help him find it and if they didn’t, Ryland would just have to apologize to the librarian and he would return the book the following day when we find it.
I felt guilty as I rode my bus that morning. As route number 11 ran along Henderson Highway, I thought to myself, this is the reason I have decided to work from home. To avoid the morning rush, dragging the kids out of bed at 6:00, rushing them with breakfast, rushing them to get dressed. C’mon let’s go. I’ll miss the bus. I’ll be late for work.
As the bus approached Redwood Avenue, I spotted the billboard infront of the funeral home. They always post wise quotations. Whenever I go downtown, I always look to see what words of wisdom they have there. I usually jot it down if they have a new one. Then I muse, or reflect on those words. This is what they had there on that morning. – Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.
What an irony for me that morning. I know that we should really take things slowly, treasure every moment. That’s why I hated that three-week period of training at the office. That rush. Not being able to sit down with my kids at breakfast, not being able to wave goodbye at them by the window when they go to school, cutting short our talks at night before bedtime because they had to go to bed early. But if I didn’t hurry that morning, I would have been late. I was only to be there at the office for three weeks and I didn’t want to display any kind of tardiness.
A few blocks away from the funeral home is Disraeli Bridge. This is one of the bridges here in Winnipeg that connects the east and the west parts of the city. You see, Winnipeg is divided by the Red River, which runs across the city. If you’re a Winnipegger, you live either east or west of the river. Everytime I pass by this river, I’d look from the window and look at the water and the trees that line its banks. In the Fall, I like watching the changing colours of the leaves. In the Winter, I like looking at the frozen water. In the Spring, I like watching the ice melting. And in the Summer, I just like looking at how high or how low the water is.
This is one of the reasons I enjoy living in a country with the four seasons. Back home in the Philippines, we only have a wet and a dry season. When I was in elementary school, we used an American textbook and we learned about the different seasons. We learned about the changes in the environment in each season. We even learned what sports were played in each season. But textbook information is a lot different from actually experiencing it. It’s so amazing to actually see the leaves turn into different colours. And how I love that crunching sound the dried brown leaves make under my black leather shoes. How wonderful it is to watch the first snowfall of the season; to witness the sprouting of leaves and blossoming of flowers in the spring; and to watch everything turn green in the summer. It takes a year to go through the whole cycle.
Nature takes its course, slowly. It does not hurry and yet everything is accomplished. If only people could be like that. But life nowadays is so fast-paced. People don’t have a choice. But don’t we really? I remember when my middle son, Ryan, was in sixth grade and they were studying about our pioneers. There was no electricity then. No cars and buses. They had to cook their food with fire and wash their clothes with their hands. One night, Ryan asked me, Mommy, which is better, the old times or our time? Well, it depends on how you look at it, I told him. Life then was so simple and a lot less complicated. Now we have modern machines that help us a lot to finish our work quicker. But then again, if technology is supposed to make our lives easier, why are we busier than ever?
I couldn’t help but ponder on this famous saying by Lao Tzu once again as I find myself busy not only with blogging but with the kids’ activities. Last weekend, I felt Ryan’s disappointment when I told him that we had to cancel his haircut appointment because it coincided with his game and that he might have to miss two back-to-back games this week because he has rehearsal for his band concert on the same day. I sensed my husband’s irritation at the littlest things. I understood that he was also tired because he had been driving us the whole day of Saturday. He had to get up earlier than usual to drive us to the game, back home to get the kids for the dentist appointment, back home again to have lunch, and back to the school for another game. Then the passenger door of the car wouldn’t close tightly because it was frozen. The old me, err, I mean the younger me would have snapped back at his crankiness. But I surprised myself with my calmness in all of these.
But hold on to that applause. Last Friday, I was out late watching Ryan’s game and I wasn’t able to tuck my youngest son, Ryland, into bed. The next morning, he told me that he cried because he missed me. Aww, I’m sorry, baby. The other night, I was helping Ryland with his homework. Next thing I knew, he was crying. I dozed off on the couch! I apologized to him and we tried to finish his homework even though it was past his bedtime. The same way I apologized after that library book incident when I found out that I was the one who misplaced it. I moved the book from its usual place and it got buried under a pile of paper.
One of the reasons I decided to work at home is to spend more time with my children. In this decision, I had to forego any promotion at work and the increase in income that goes with that. But I was alright with that decision. Kids grow up so fast and I want to savour every minute that I get to spend with them.
Working at home has given me spare time on my hands. But am I using that time wisely? I was supposed to spend more time with my children. But as they grow older and become more independent, wanting to spend time to themselves, I got distracted by other things that kept me busy, like blogging for instance. I have to remind myself, though, that when they do get up and get out of their respective corners after playing their Gameboy, X-Box, or Playstation that I should be there ready to listen, play or communicate with them. And I mean not just pretending to listen while my eyes are fixed on the computer.
Author’s note: I have shared the library book story before in my post, How I’m doing as a mother.
Another related post is The Paradox of our Time.