Tuesday, March 5, 2013

You Know It’s Time for Time Out When

You throw a handful of cranberries in your Egg Beaters, thinking you’ve grabbed the feta. You put the peanut butter in the freezer and the frozen yogurt in the cupboard. The dog has a mini seizure and freezes in the middle of the room you’ve rearranged. You have a mini seizure and freeze in the middle of the room you’ve rearranged.

Time for time out.

Even though the bottom drawer of the island is jutting out halfway across the kitchen because something fell behind it and the only way to fix it is to take all the stuff out, figure out how to release the track and get the drawer out, retrieve the stuck item, put the drawer back and then put all the stuff back, your anal-order trigger doesn’t even twitch because it’s just One More Thing Too Much.

That’s when you know it’s time for time out. And that’s what’s happening here this morning.

In a couple of days my husband will return home from wrapping up his father’s life in Florida. He will bring his father to live with us. We had always told Pa of course he was welcome but when the decision actually came, it came quickly.

Just five days ago, I had a comfy downstairs bedroom with bath, an office with a recliner, and a simple, comfortable living room. I seldom went upstairs where my daughter has a room and small bath and adjoining single-bed guest room.

Today, my bedroom is outfitted (with the recliner) for my father-in-law, my office has temporarily (?) become a bedroom, which we will use until we are sure Pa isn’t wandering around the house at night, and I don’t know what to do about the bathroom—share the little one upstairs? creep into the big one in the master bedroom and hope I don’t wake Dad? or keep a travel basket of toiletries in the half-bath so I can at least brush my teeth until he wakes up?

So many things to think about! I suspect if my ancestry was traced back, I’d find I belonged to the Tribe of Overthinkers. I even arranged Pa’s bed so he could get out the same side he has for decades!

But it wasn’t until I began upheaving our order that I realized it wasn’t so much the different room arrangements that were difficult to change as it was the habits that we have patterned into the spaces of them.

The dog was the first to reflect this.

I didn’t notice how stressful the commotion of furniture coming and going was, or strangers traipsing through to rewire the cable hook ups. I didn’t realize how much she missed Bob and the quiet early morning time they spent together in the recliner –she with her bone, he with his Bible.

I didn’t see the signs of her stress until she froze, unfocused in the middle of the room where her recliner used to be. She didn’t even move when I called her name. Then, I knew. It was time for time out.

I gathered her up and went into Pa’s room. We sat in the recliner and wrapped in a blanket. The simplest of prayers, “Lord.”

The simplest of responses, “O, Martha, Martha, take time out to remember the important: Be patient with change and hold your habits loosely, let love reign over order, and rest over raggy wretchedness.”

 I thought of the Proverb that says, Better is a little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure with turmoil. And another—Better a dish of vegetables than a feast with strife (My paraphrased version).

Laila and I fall asleep.

Yes. He restores my soul.

Dear friend, thank you for stopping by. If you are overwhelmed by a change, I pray the Lord deeply refresh you and give you peace in knowing to everything there is a season—even for time outs.



  1. What you are doing is a BIG deal. Moving someone else into your daily life is no small adjustment, allow yourself some space to react honestly. Your little doggie simply manifested it more clearly for you. I would have a really hard time doing this. Just had my Dad here over this last weekend and I was a mess. Ha!
    You can do this, we are praying for you. By the way, my dog's name is Layla, sounds same as yours!

    1. Thanks, Susie. Pa's been a good Jewish family dad to us and I want to bless him well at the finish line. Hope I can do so!

  2. Wow, Marcia. You're so thoughtful and gracious to house your father-in-law. And to rearrange the bed so he can get out on the same side? That's a special kind of SPECIAL. I hope he appreciates this, and this time in your life is one you'll look back on with love and gratitude.

    I'm adding this to my prayer journal.

    1. Thank you, Susan. I want to bless him and pray I can finish well with him.

  3. You're an inspiration, my friend. God bless you, Marcia!

  4. I've found that I "overthink" when I'm trying my hardest not to think. It's easier for me to focus on the minutest details than to take in the implications of enormous life changes. What a wonderful, generous thing you are doing. I'm praying for you!

    1. Thanks Elizabeth--I love the way you think normally--would probably enjoy your "overthinks!"


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