I ate my lunch on the train. On my way home for dinner. There's words to write tucked in the pocket of my bag. Work trickling over into life. Breaks postponed till the rush of tasks are left as I bolt out the door to the station. Daylight saving is the saviour bringing me to sit at the table I would have missed, were it winter.
I realise the thought space, the energy directed into work. True, it's into people who (often) desperately need it. True, I love the task and have found a place that fits all my unusualnesses (mostly). I could sink all my self there, and draw great reward, enough to fill my outstretched arms. Enough to fill my ears, to drain my heart, to meet my need to be useful.
I am troubled by knowing where these energies are drawn from. Every story of illness or brokenness that fills my ears, is replacing a whispered child's story of their day. It's a picture book I haven't read, with a writhing body on my lap. It's a plate of vegemite sandwiches I didn't make and serve with crescent apple slices. It's the time spent lying sundrenched on a trampoline side-by-side with a four years old.
Time is only spent once. Choices must be made, and bills must be paid (may this never be my guiding reason or excuse). And teamwork in our marriage means we both spend time at home and both spend time at work.
I'm not saying work outside home and parenting can't go together. There is not textbook template for family, beyond love, grace, wisdom and following God's words and ways.
But I regret that my mind is divided. That, at times, my imagination, my attention and my concern is not with my family. I know that this distraction takes from them. And I realise, that if there was no work, there would be something else to draw me from them. We are so distractible, drawn to passing fashions and things that make us feel good. I am fickle in my attention, lacking perserverence. And busy-ness or pressure in one sphere weighs on me in the other.
The discipline I need is to focus on the person I am with - my child, my patient, my workmate, my husband, my neighbour - and listen to how I can serve them, now. To put aside the distraction of ruminating on elsewhere and attend to what I can do, here.