I let the children play in the garden yesterday. This was a mistake. Weeks and weeks of steady rain had left the grass sodden to the point that even twenty four dry hours and a sunny morning weren’t up to the job of rendering it anything other than bog-like.

Later, surveying the muddy devastation of the lawn (less pocket-handkerchief than square of loo roll) I found myself sadly thinking, in the style of Rabbi Lionel Blair (just me? Oh well) that this was like life. Or a bit like my life, at least.

Time to stop and stare is an impossible luxury at the moment (besides which, the children would probably have vanished into the middle distance by the time I returned to myself). There’s a seductive pleasure in busyness, in revelling in an ecstasy of efficiency while ticking off the To Do List, but at what cost? To me, it’s the periodic realisation that I’ve turned into more or less of an automaton; that I’ve become overwhelmed. When that happens, the things which actually should be a pleasure become a chore and an inconvenience, and leave me – like my poor grass – all churned up.

There’s not a lot I can do about the rain, and sometimes life really is just unavoidably too busy, but it’s reminded me to try to look beyond the bustle of the everyday. To make priorities of the things which I know bring me back to myself (occasional early nights, catching up with friends, a little bit of quiet) so that I can avoid becoming swamped.


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