Thursday, February 21, 2013

Mind the Gap

Friday I usually check my emails and date book for practice schedules and games that we will have for the upcoming weekend. I'll write it all out on a paper and tape it to a kitchen cabinet so we don't forget to be somewhere. This past weekend we had one basketball game, one soccer game, four basketball tryouts, and one birthday party. On Saturday, we had some things in the morning and some things in the afternoon, but there was a gap in our schedule in the middle of the day where nothing was scheduled. This gap of nothingness should have been a good thing. Usually it is go, go, go, but we had this gap of time in the middle of the afternoon and it almost caused me anxiety. I don't think I ended up doing anything really productive during this time. I didn't read a book. I didn't read with Molly. I didn't help Ryan with his project due on Tuesday. I didn't throw in wash.  I didn't clean anything. I didn't food shop. I can't even tell you what I did do. I can't remember. 

When I go to New York to visit with family, there are times we will go into the city. We take the Long Island Railroad into Penn Station. When you are standing on the train platform, there are signs that say, "Mind the Gap." You'll see them on the train as well and you will also hear an announcement while you board the train to "Mind the Gap." The gap they are talking about is that space between the train platform and the train itself. They want you to watch your step as you enter or exit the train and not fall in the gap. They want you to be careful, cautious, wary of the gap.

When I think of the word gap, it usually is used in a negative way, something we need to be cautious of: The gap between the train and the platform, a gap of time in a resume, a gap in education, technology, communication. These are all negatives.

This past Saturday, I had a gap in the schedule and it caused me anxiety. Instead of embracing and enjoying this non-scheduled time, I was paralyzed as to what to do with this gap of time and so I didn't accomplish anything.

Then on Sunday morning, as I was getting ready to go to church, I threw my back out. I've done this before. The funny thing about having a bad back is that it can hit you when you least expect it. I wasn't lifting a heavy box, I wasn't moving furniture, I wasn't picking up a kid. I bent over to pull off my pj pants to get dressed for the day and instead of going to church that Sunday morning, I sat on the floor of the bathroom because I couldn't move. Chris got the kids ready for church, he got me my phone, handed me my book, poured me a drink and there I was sitting on the floor of my bathroom reading my book because I couldn't move. After taking some meds from the last time this happened, I was able to crawl to the chair in my room and there I sat for the rest of the day. 

A few days earlier, my sister-in-law on Valentine's Day posted a question on facebook asking what are some of your favorite romance movies. It didn't take long for her friends to come up with a list of great movies, When Harry Met Sally, American President, Moonstuck, Up, Lady and the Tramp, Officer and a Gentleman, and the list went on and on. So now I found myself having a huge gap of time. What was I going to do? Mind the gap. Embrace the gap. I sat in my chair and I read my book and I watched movies that I haven't seen in a long time. I watched American President. I watched You've Got Mail. I kind of forgot the storyline of You've Got Mail, Meg Ryan plays Kathleen Kelly, an independent children's bookstore owner and she is put out of business because the big, super bookstore, Fox Books, opens up right around the corner. Nowadays, forget about finding an independent bookstore. It's hard to find even a "super" bookstore.

Anyway, on Saturday I had a few hours that were unscheduled and I didn't utilize it and this made me anxious. We are so programmed to have every minute scheduled that we don't know what to do when there is nothing to do, well, at least that's the case with me. On Sunday, I was forced to "mind the gap" so I embraced it with movies that I haven't seen in a while and a good book...and there was no anxiety.

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