A Week, Fractured

by Laura on February 2, 2012

It’s Thursday morning, and I wake up with my mind racing. The balls are spinning in the air, and it seems the faster I juggle, the more likely I am to drop one, or two, or seven for that matter. I have about twelve too many projects going on at once, no consistent childcare help, a sick husband for the past 24 hours, and now, it seems, a shattered glass door.

And I spent an hour extracting tiny glass pieces from blades of grass, envisioning which bare foot was going to be rushed to the emergency room. It’s all propped up on the side of the house now, and, yes, we really are paying to air condition the entire neighborhood, because, oh no, hot season is creeping back in.

And, if I were in the States, we could fix the door, no problem. We know how to get to Home Depot. We can look in the phone book and call a repair guy and communicate clearly in a language we understand.

But, here? Well, let’s just say the door has sat there for three days now. Shattered and fractured and a major health-and-safety violation. Thankfully, our gardener took pity on us and started measuring the glass with a string yesterday. I can’t understand her accent, but, unfortunately, I have faked that I can long enough so that now she speaks the speed of lightning, and all I can do is nod my head and pretend I get it, while only catching a random string of words–  “can . . . expensive . . .  I . . . yesterday”  {I still haven’t decided if this charade on my part is true deceitfulness or just merely good missionary-ness.} Regardless, maybe she’ll show up with a piece of glass today, or a new door, or maybe she won’t. Either way, we find ourselves painfully dependent on the people around us, again.

Dependent even to fix our own stupid door.

But, but. As I’ve been sitting here this morning, mind racing, projects spinning in the air, I look at my splintered door, and I think about myself this week. I feel like my cracks have run a million different hairline directions, leaving my time, soul, and attention fractured.

I read Berenstein Bears to my four-year-old, and I’m racking my brain to come up with a new name for my education site, which apparently has made a trademark violation, resulting in scary lawyer emails.

I stall playing whiffle ball with my son, because it’s stinkin’ hot, and, also, because I have to finish an email, or two, or three. And I end up saying, “Just a minute,” for a full 45 of them.

I half-write half of the following: an email for Matt, an article for our volunteer ministry, a guest post about missionaries, an article to submit. And I finish the day not crossing off item from the to-do list, anyway.

I start and stop and start again my Rosetta Stone and the study of my Asian flashcards, like a lurching car driven by a teenager learning how to shift a clutch.

And I end up doing many things fine, and no things well.

And my capacity to live a centered day goes the way of that broken sliding door that’s propped up on the side of the house.

And the only way I know to fuse the shattered glass of my mind, of this soul, is to quiet myself and prioritize.

To write the list down and stick it somewhere that will make it harder to forget —  even if an open journal with messy handwriting is a far cry from the artsy centerpiece in the magazine that would look better there on the coffeetable, smack-dab in the middle of everything.

But, then, again, maybe that’s the very best place for it, anyway.

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Feeling Fractured this week? What are your top five priorities today {and then let us know if that list is in theory or in practice?}

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Oh, and the lucky winner for our Question of Play post from last week is @ngie from Bolivia {And, yes, you all should check out her fabulously honest blog}!  Thanks to all who commented and thanks to Vinyl Art Studio for donating!

  • http://jesusyoume.blogspot.com Andrea Ward

    My haircut today and the cancelled meetings that have to be rescheduled have gotten to me today. But I should be focusing on the birthday party this weekend for a sweet little girl at church who is my son’s newest friend. I should be focusing on the funny text conversation I am having with my husband.
    This is like the 3rd post today that has spoken the same thing to me. I guess God wants to get my attention. Thank you.

    • http://www.lauraparkerblog.com Laura

      Andrea– glad you were open to the nudge. And cool that you are having funny text conversations with your husband! I like that . . .

  • http://www.nosuperheroes.com Chris Lautsbaugh

    Laura
    You have captured what I experience as a missionary in a fantastic post. I found myself agreeing with you out-loud as I read. I have literally uttered the words, “I am doing a lot of things but none of them well” many times over the last few years and months.

    I recently had a season of evaluation and prioritizing with my wife. In the coming weeks is when I begin implementing the 2.0 plan, actually more like the 8.3 plan, but anyway.

    I can also totally relate to the ordinary tasks feeling like a mountain due to unfamiliarity. Once you do them and figure it out, you realize that wasn’t so bad. Sometimes even seeing that the new nation does it better than your own!

    Thank you! I am not the only missionary who feels like this!

    • http://www.lauraparkerblog.com Laura

      Chris! Glad to hear I am not the only loser out here . . . Thanks for your comment here. Glad to have you around here! :)

  • http://www.das-leben-der-lundquisten.blogspot.com melissa

    I didn’t sleep well last night, but was determined to get up anyway and make it to a local gym – and that I did! Now, I just have to keep it up! Since my exercise for the day is done, I can spend the kids’ rest time (now) checking a few things online, and then spending time in the Word (when they’re actually asleep). I also have piles that I sorted last night, and would like to get working on the “to-do” pile. I think a short snooze may be in order today, too.

    Hope your Friday goes better!

    • http://www.lauraparkerblog.com Laura

      Thanks, Melissa! Good for you for working out– it makes a huge difference in our ability to stay home with the kids, right?!

  • Jeremy

    Two things first: I love how brutally honest you are! and is that your cute cat?

    My top five daily priorities:
    1. Wake up at 3:45am (practice) and attempt to center myself on Jesus before leaving the bedroom (theory)
    2. Look in the mirror before I go into public (more theory than practice that early in the morning)
    3. Work an uninspiring job, but be filled with God’s genuine joy and “be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks to give the reason for the hope that [I am supposed to] have” (more theory than practice)
    4. Help my wife out with things around the house when I get home from work (taxes, house projects, etc)
    5. Love my wife like Christ loves the church (still working on practicing that)

    • http://www.lauraparkerblog.com Laura

      I LOVE this list, J. And, holy cow, 3:45! Sheesh. You are impressive. I love your numbers 1,3, and five best I think . . . Hope to meet that wife of yours one day! To center on Jesus, to work an uninspiring job with JOY and to love your wife like Christ. Awesome . . .

      • Jeremy

        Yes, I hope you and Matt get to meet my wife one day soon. You two were always an inspiration to me in my high school years of what a marriage could look like between two people who genuinely love each other and want to be with one another.

        And 1, 3, and 5 were much more theoretical/goal-ish than actually happening. I work with someone who is really quite a negative person with a really sad outlook on the world. I hope that at least once a day I can turn something around that he says into something positive. Most of the time though I just try to resist getting sucked into the negativity.

        • http://www.lauraparkerblog.com Laura

          Oh, man, thanks.

          Ya’ll wanna visit Thailand anytime soon? Open invitation and all . . .

  • http://www.stumblingaroundinthelight.com Teri @ StumblingAroundInTheLight

    Oh, my friend…
    how I’ve walked those fractured days! Astoundingly, I find myself in a moderately centered place…finally on top of the boy’s home school lessons, caught up with emails, actually praying through the catastrophe of our rental property instead of freaking out, learning to say ‘no’ when I need to.
    And yet – without the excuse of a splintered glass door – I find that my priorities fall to procrastination and are swallowed up by the forgettable-dailyness of mundane tasks.
    Thanks for the reminder – to keep my Christ-seeking priorities, priority!

    • http://www.lauraparkerblog.com Laura

      Love that “actually praying through the catastrophe instead of freaking out”– hmm . . . i think i need to work on this one.

      Love you, girl! Enjoy that SNOW!!

  • http://www.highadventuretours.com Amy Lindeman

    Laura,

    My thoughts:
    1) Landlady!!!
    2) Thank God no one got a foot, toe or other appendage sliced off when it broke!
    3) Picking glass out of the grass???!!!
    4) Mosquitos in the house?

    “Lurching car driven by a teenager..” so well put! I hate this feeling so much- like I’m failing at everything I’m doing. And that life is a constant barrage of stops and go’s and pot holes and u-turns. Or possibly like being in the (unreliable) car of that overconfident teen-aged driver, going up the hill to Doi Suthep.

    From Amy- another mom in pursuit of peace, flow, rest, accomplishment, and a job well done.

    • http://www.lauraparkerblog.com Laura

      I laughed OUT LOUD to your number one! Knowing full well that YOU actually know the way I stress out about that lady and her disappointment with broken lamps . . . dang those soccer balls! Love you friend.

  • http://www.angiewashington.com @ngie

    Totally stinkin’ awesome! Your articulation and illustrations and photographs speak of a soul that’s gonna make it. I know and hate that fractured feeling oh too well. If it makes you feel any better (which, if you are like me it probably won’t but I am going to share it anyway) I just got three pieces of glass replaced that had been waiting on me to ‘just do it’ for over a year. The shame of it! I know – send me packing now.

    Thanks for the prize! You crazy-glued a little bit of my very splinted life with that gift. I do believe I am going to have Cindy send me the words for our Thankful Wall in this new home. Yeah. {hugs}

    • http://www.lauraparkerblog.com Laura

      YEAH! Glad you won! Can’t wait to see it up in your house! Love you, friend!

  • Tamara

    Fractured. Yes. I’d like t b a good Christian woman and say that my alone time with God is my number one priority. BUT, but. it’s my daughter, her husband, my new granddaughter living with us . . . the marriage conference I’m working on . . . DINNER . . . my soon-to-be DIL and her mom coming this week . . . my job . . .my husband whom I love who remains husband-y . . . the 3 dogs, two of whom had had one form or another of diarrhea for a week now . . . oh, and small group that will be here in 36 hours. And, for good measure, the evil one sent me the dadgum cold everyone else has had and laryngitis. Woo-hoo for this week!
    But because of the Lord, I am fractured and not broken. So thankful for this time with my daughter, husband, baby. Thrilled to be working with a team of Godly, passionate people to bring the marriage conference to couples to strengthen their marriages. So excited for the wedding planning and joy around Lyndee and Aaron and the entire family! Love my rock-steady husband! Strengthened in the small group process w/ these faithful souls. Truly thankful I get to pick our dinner and not wonder IF we’ll get dinner. So now I know how everyone else has been feeling w/ this cold AND no one can be bothered w/ m whining since I can’t talk! The dogs, truthfully . . . I could do without them!
    Hugs from here and praying for you to feel His calming presence in your bones so that you can get your priority list a little neater, more orderly.

    • http://www.lauraparkerblog.com Laura

      WOWSERS! Girl, sounds like you are spinning . . .

      praying for peace and the ability to stay centered through it all . . .

      but so many good things, yes?

      • Tamara

        ABSOLUTELY!!! God is good in and through and around all things! Romans 8:28!!

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