By Lizzy Harford
Life has been crazy recently. Perhaps you can commiserate with me on that. I’m currently working two jobs, and it’s Christmas time, so to say that I’m stressed would be an understatement. Last week, as I looked at my calendar, I realized that I was booked solid until after the New Year. It won’t be until February when I can finally dig myself out of the snowy trenches of holiday parties, weddings, family gatherings, and trips across the state. I bit my lip, thinking about everything I had to do. My laundry was overflowing and I was way behind on all my work. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to get things done if I didn’t cut something out.
I looked at Saturday; I had a bachelorette all day in Pasadena for a friend whose wedding I was to be in come January. I couldn’t miss that. Sunday was Church, and I was already planning on working in the morning, and then I had made plans with friends for later in the day. I looked to Friday night, a sheepish look on my face. Leadership Community Christmas Party was scribbled in red sharpie and circled. I had written it on my calendar at the beginning of the month. I had already sent in my RSVP, but I needed to find time to work, I could get back on schedule if I took that night to write. Would I really be missed?
Despite my mountain of waiting work, I decided to stick to the plan and go. When I walked into the house, two heavy hot trays of chicken in my arms, I couldn’t get my writing off my mind, the numerous projects swimming in my head. I handed over the trays and walked out to the patio in a daze where people were standing round the fire. I felt foreign, like I hadn’t been around these people in a while. And I realized that was true. I hadn’t been around these people in a while. Life had come crashing down on me in this huge tidal wave, sucking up my time and pulling me out to sea as it retreated from shore. I was drowning and rather than leaning into God, I cut things out just to get by. I had become more familiar with my email inbox than the people surrounding me.
Something shifted in me, perhaps it was Casey’s artichoke dip, or the glass of wine I was drinking, or more accurately, it was the warmth of the Holy Spirit prompting me to lay aside the troubles and cares of the world. The evening went on. We ate food. We drank. We talked. We laughed. And there was this special moment, when we were all gathered in the living room.
I sat on a couch, where I was able to look out over the room full of life. There were people everywhere, rows of people, people sitting on top of people. And everyone was talking at once. I could hear different conversations zipping and bouncing across the room, laughter bubbling up and bursting out from the corner. The tone was bright, full of life and joy, each voice, so individual, so distinct, came together in a resounding chorus. I smiled, and my heart filled with warmth. This chorus of God's people was my Church. This fun and funky family, full of imperfect people, striving to serve a perfect God was mine. And I needed to make time for them.
A friend tells me that there’s always time, we just make some things less of a priority. I don’t want my Church to be less of a priority. Things will get done eventually, I’m still behind on work, and I have about a dozen Christmas parties to attend to, but until then, I’m taking time for my family.