Friday, February 12, 2016

A Room of One's Own

Dear Jules,
Well, this past Wednesday was Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent.  As my lenten resolution, I'd like to try and carve out time for some quiet thinking, and since I think best as I write, I will be posting my thoughts here (so if you're reading this and not interested, please feel free to check out).

On Wednesday, the priest at Grace Church, Caleb Lee, talked about his daughter throwing a temper tantrum, literally grabbing onto the door because she didn't want to leave somewhere.  You, too, pulled this stunt when we visited a Catholic school (maybe more on this later), but that's another story for another day.  His point was that, when he daughter gets overwhelmed, she needs a "time out," maybe some time in her room or, in your case, just some time facing the wall to think about what you did or said.  He talked about Lent as a time to retreat to our rooms, not as a form of punishment, but as a socially-sanctioned way to think through things, to meditate, to be instead of always doing.

The author Virginia Woolf argued that a woman must have a "room of one's own" to write fiction, but I think Father Caleb was onto something--even if our "room" is a space in which we can think, even if it's a place in our own minds to which we can retreat when others are talking, we all need this in order to process the many many things that life throws at us.

Today, I was just chatting with a very good friend, another runner, about how we tend to "go go go" from one thing to another, from appointment to appointment, whether social or work-related, and how little time we have to be in our friendships, our marriages, or just our own space.  I'm an extravert like you, but this is incredibly important for all of us: to be reflective, to think through things, to give ourselves the time we need to work through things.  So my friend, this weekend, is taking a "time out": she is allowing herself to rest, at her house, by herself.  She's not running errands or running or even seeing friends, but just resting, and giving her brain and body the time it needs.

I really respect I told her, I'm not "good at" relaxing, taking time for me, but this is a good season for it.  As I watch the rain falling outside on this chilly day, I think about your so-called "slower processing time" and wonder if it will allow you to be more at peace with the events around you.  I hope so, because life can get crazy, and I wish I could throw a temper tantrum half the time.  Instead, it's good to remember to slow down, take some deep breaths, and give yourself a time out: a room of your own.

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