Doing nothing

Life has seemed busy the last few days, even though we are “unemployed”. When the sun is out everyone feels so much more social and we find ourselves chatting and drinking coffee more. Yesterday M and I cycled into town with Isak in the cycle trailer so we could visit the diabetes specialist. It was a beautiful day and we stopped afterwards at a cafe in Wadköping for a sandwich and a drink. The afternoon was spent with M’s parents chatting and enjoying this brief return to summer weather. I say “brief” because it seems too much to hope that the sun will shine for many days. I say “summer” in the Swedish sense – morning temperatures are around 5 degrees but the afternoons are in the balmy 20s and everyone is out in shirts and shorts and everyone is smiling.

It is strange that because we are unemployed we think of ourselves as doing nothing. It is strange that we feel a vague sense of failure, as if we have somehow done something wrong. Brickebacken is a bit deserted in the mornings when everyone is at work. After lunch when kids start wandering home from school life seems to return to the rows of flats. Perhaps it is helped by the fact that the temperature is so much more pleasant in the afternoons.

M has gone back to the hospital today to meet a nurse in charge about working in her ward. Perhaps she will end up with a job after all. And yet we are determined to make the most of this time when we have no work commitments. When we can spend more time talking and just being. This year has been such a stressful one it is a blessing to have a bit more time to think, rather than just lurching from crisis to crisis as we have done for what seems like such a long time.

I am often reminded of something I read last year, from a book by Leunig called The Curly Pyjama Letters.

In response to your question “What is worth doing and what is worth having?” I would like to say simply this. It is worth doing nothing and having a rest.

We are not “doing” much in the conventional western middle class sense of the word. And we don’t “have” much, in the conventional western middle class sense of the word. But perhaps what we are doing and what we have is all that we need right now, and all that God expects of us, despite what we might expect of ourselves…

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