Sometimes work is all-consuming. Raising your head can be like coming up for air after a long swim underwater, or like the first taste of food after a long illness.
Today I was given the gift of a spare couple of hours in between enormous, heavy, challenging jobs. First I looked around in amazement at the world which had carried on around me without my noticing. Somehow I had fed the boy and the husband and made sure everyone had clean pants. (Though I fear I’d done little more than that.) Somehow the broad beans had continued growing and nothing in the greenhouse had quite died. Neighbours were going about their business. The sun was even shining.
After a long moment of wondering what to do, I wandered out into that sunshine. I picked a bowl full of broad beans for tea, and another of salad leaves. I foraged among the forest of pea plants to find the few that were swelling enough to give the boy a treat. I breathed for what seemed like the first time in weeks.
When work feels like an illness, you’ve been doing too much. How many times do we have to learn the lesson that we can only do so much?
What a joy it is, though, to feel that sense of waking up, to see and appreciate the home and the people around you almost as if for the first time. It’s a gift that almost makes the hard work worthwhile. It may take some time, but balance is beginning to return.