7 Minutes in a Parking Lot

“Remember, no effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost.” (Helen Keller)

At times, I am paralyzed by what I should have done yesterday, other days I am so determined to make moments align with pictures painted in my mind that when faced with the choice to do something, though not ideal or entirely as imagined, or nothing, I choose to do nothing.

I make no effort if my efforts won’t produce my ideal results.

If I cannot teach Charlotte all of the alphabet sounds by the deadline I imagined, I will teach her none.  If I cannot straighten the entire main floor of my house in the time given, I sometimes choose to straighten none. For the last year, I have been dreaming of one-on-one dates with my girls which will store away dear memories and strengthen our ties.  I am especially craving this time with my first grader, Audrey; this is our first year being away from each other for so many hours a day.  I miss my un-calculated, un-squeezed, un-rushed minutes with her.

For 2016, working with Mark to create space for monthly dates with Audrey will be a priority.  But, for the last few months, schedules and younger siblings have made it impossible to have the kinds of dates I imagine; so, I have done nothing.  Until last Tuesday morning.

Entirely out of routine, Audrey and I found ourselves in the school parking lot just the two of us that morning.  Mark wasn’t leaving for his stores as early as usual and stayed home with the Charlotte & Beckett, who were still dreaming. Audrey and I had loaded into the car at our normal time, but not having to buckle the two littlest meant we arrived at school 7 minutes earlier than usual. It was a chilly morning, and we chose to wait in the van until the doors were open from the playground.  7 minutes.

I had notifications waiting on my Facebook app, e-mails from students that needed responses, and an unread text from my mom.  Sitting in a van, at 7:46 on a Tuesday morning with only 7 minutes is not one of the mommy-daughter dates I had pinned on Pinterest. I could have chosen to do nothing, to make no effort towards my relationship with Audrey.  After all, wouldn’t 7 minutes be a waste?

But, I listened to the whisper of the Holy Spirit {finally} and invited Audrey to unbuckle and come sit in the passenger seat next to me; I tucked my phone in my pocket as she scooted her little buns into the heated leather seat. She crossed her legs daintily, and spent 6 minutes catching me up on the excitement occurring in her Nancy Clancy chapter book.

Cultivating a relationship is a beautiful thing, and no effort made towards that relationship is ever lost.

What if we stop waiting for the big moments, or the planned events and we just do something? Rather than brushing off the two minutes alone with your toddler each morning, snatch them and invest them.  You may not be able to go out for dinner and hire a sitter every weekend for a date with your hubby, but what about those few quiet minutes in the evening when the dishes are washed and the kids are in bed? Do something.

Helen Keller said, “Be of good cheer. Do not think of today’s failures, but of the success that may come tomorrow. You have set yourselves a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere; and you will find a joy in overcoming obstacles. Remember, no effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost.” [emphasis mine]

No effort you make towards something beautiful–a relationship with your child, cultivating a love for the Word of God, creating a prayer-life, keeping your husband loved–is ever lost, no matter how small the opportunity or how minor the effort.

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One thought on “7 Minutes in a Parking Lot

  1. Same thing here….paralysis when confronted with too many things to do with not enough time to do them well or how I want them done. Thanks for the reminder to grab those minutes when they present themselves.