I’m going to Oxford, England next week. It was a spur of the moment decision.
I know, trips to England aren’t exactly spur-of-the-moment sort of decisions though are they? At least not for me. Sometimes though, I think a wild hair strikes and it seems as if the stars align. You have what feels like a pipe-dream sort of idea one day and then you do something nutso and actually book a plane ticket the next.
That’s pretty much what happened. I’m still kind of pinching myself.
Last week on facebook, I commented on a beautiful blog post written by my talented friend Chris Willard. Her husband Tim, a wildly gifted author and past Allume speaker, has become a friend over the past couple of years, and as a result I’ve gotten to know Chris via social media as well. They have been living in Oxford as Tim gets his doctorate in the works of CS Lewis. Chris wrote about finding our way on a path unknown and I just left a quick note saying how much I loved it and that in some ways it’s so much what I’m writing my book about. She wrote me back and said “I wish you were here and we could just talk about this all in person.”
I just started thinking and my mind sort of rested in the place of “I wish that too.”
I mentioned it to my husband last Tuesday night at dinner and he said, “Do it!”
“Yeah. Why not. Do it.”
My parents were planning to take my kids next week anyhow to give me some time to work on my book since the manuscript is due June 1. Suddenly, as I considered the idea, it really didn’t seem like there was any reason not to do something out of the ordinary.
I texted Chris and Tim that night and tossed out my idea….that even though the “I wish you were here” wasn’t exactly an invitation…what if it really was? Like…what if I for real came in 2 weeks?
“DO IT!” they both said.
So before lunch on Wednesday, I’d bought a ticket to London.
Lest you think I’m in the habit of such spontaniety, please know that I’m not. But the thing is, something about doing that completely random thing made me feel so alive.
The past couple of months have sort of eaten me alive if I’m honest. Moving into our new house was exciting but exhausting, and while the adjustment has been a good one, it still drained me. We lost a key person on our Allume team and that has piled the work up exponentionally on the rest of us. Homeschool has been hard to maintain with consistency with all the other goings on, and with my first manuscript due in a little over a month, it has just all been A LOT.
I literally broke out in a rash that the doctor tells me is related to stress. Awesome….because there’s nothing like a facial rash and $200 worth of creams to make you feel more relaxed! UGH!
Anyhow, I guess I just got to thinking about creating space for myself. Since I’ve had kids, I have gone on an overnight here and there with friends or with my husband, but I’ve never done anything like this. I have traveled without my family to speak at conferences or attend meetings, but even if I’ve been by myself, I’ve still been doing work. I can’t tell you the last time that I’ve done anything to create breathing room for me…maybe never.
I think that most of my life I just haven’t wanted to be alone. I’m a classic ENFP on a Meyers Briggs and some other test says I’m a sanguine…bubbly, outgoing, people-person. At the end of the day, this extrovert gains life from being around others. But life the past few months has been exhausting and I feel like I’ve been a little chewed up and spit out. And suddenly I realized that I needed to do something for myself….and I don’t need to feel bad or apologize for taking care of me.
So I booked a ticket to England and I’m hoping that the breather will not only create quiet space for me to write, but also just to be. It’s so easy as a wife and mom and working gal to get lost somewhere in the midst of it all. We just get tired and sometimes just need to figure out a way to take a breather. So while this breather I’m taking is completely out of the ordinary and probably not exactly something I’ll be making a habit of doing, I’m pretty thankful for the sabbatical from just very full life.
Would love your prayers as I travel and write next week. The book is coming along and I’m loving writing it. Here’s to hoping you all love reading it next Spring when it releases!
When was the last time you did something for yourself? What was it? What have you done that has been most life giving to you in those seasons of exhaustion and overwhelmingness?