Alli: “She’s in quiet time.”
Me: “Quiet time! Who put her there?”
Alli: (laughing) “Not time out! Quiet time! It should be over soon, I’ll tell her you called.”
Tracy called me later and our quiet time conversation was eye opening. She explained how she felt like she was “meeting herself at the door.” When she gets home from work, the kids are relaxing, her husband is waiting to tell her about his day and the dog is in a panic to get out. Her list of undone things continues: She leaves one list at work, and another list meets her at home.
She heads to the kitchen, then on to the laundry room, stopping only to take off her shoes. As she talked, I imagined the groove in the carpet that the undone list created. In addition to her to-do list, her family scrambled for her attention.
Tracy said one day she put on headphones, warding off conversation. She went about the house as each of her dear children, husband and dog tried to get her attention. But she didn’t give it to them.
Finally, after about 10 days, they stopped approaching the “headphone lady” who was in “quiet time.”
Tracy said she never before took her family’s cue to chill, relax, veg, decompress—all terms they used to describe their quiet time. Here’s what she said she learned during those first days of quiet time:
—It wasn’t her family’s fault that she didn’t take a moment for herself.
—The “undone list” is just that. It is what it is so, pace yourself.
—You are happier and better when you are rested and alert.
—Assign the dog to someone else.
—Quiet time is essential to maintaining your balance, so, just do it!
Does quiet time sound like something you need? How will you make it happen?
Valora K Starr is director for discipleship for Women of the ELCA.
Photo: Parker by Oren Mazor, used with permission, Creative Commons