So, I was waiting for the elevator the other day, pondering life…

photo taken at the Lifelike display at the Walker Arts Museum, Minneapolis,
artist: Maurizio Cattelan

And as I pondered (the elevator took FOREVER…) I got to thinking about the busyness and craziness that is this fast-paced, hectic life.

Often I am caught in the cycle and it takes a concerted effort to jump off the hamster wheel to assess what is good and what is plain and simple:  busyness.

I multi-task.

I would venture guess I might not be the only one, however, just because many of us multi-task, does not make it right.

In some scenarios, multi-tasking is perfectly fine.  An example might be eating chocolate, caramel and sea salt all at once.  Or, even, enjoying a bottle of wine with friends while you grill out and watch the sunset, laughing and rehashing old memories.  These types of “multi-tasking” are beneficial, I would say.

But what about the horrible thing I did to a new friend today when I selfishly put my 2 days worth of dishes from the sink into the dishwasher while the coffee was brewing and as she shared some of her story?  Is that an appropriate kind of “multi-tasking?”

NO.  It’s not!

Yes, she is the kind of new friend who feels like we’ve known each other a while and there is a level of comfort there.  BUT!

I didn’t even have the excuse of gathering clean mugs from the dishwasher for our coffee.  The problem is, I hadn’t built in any margin from the previous few days and my mom was coming over to watch Ryan while I headed out to do a video shoot (that literally happened last minute) after having coffee with my friend.  I knew if I left the dishes and headed to the shoot, my mom would do them and I didn’t want my mom to have to do my dishes…just because I hadn’t built margin into my life.

Either way, multi-tasking when it comes to relationships is tricky.  Multi-tasking while shopping in the grocery store without a written list, also tricky.  Phone on one ear, while getting a kid out of a car seat, while holding a diaper bag, purse, coat, sippy cup, and favorite “zebra”, super duper tricky…

Dishes can go 3 days, rather than just two.  If I could go back several hours today, I’d say, “Screw the dishes.  Sitting face to face the whole time is more important than dishes.”

So, all that to say:  If you are grossed out by coming to my house because my dishes aren’t done, but you are looking for a listener, I’m there for you.  I learned my lesson today.  Dishes will always be with us…genuine heart to heart conversation will not.

Sorry, Tracy…I hope you’ll give me a second chance.  

Do you have a multi-tasking story, that, when looking back, you know stole your attention from something much more important and eternal?


One response

  1. I multitask both appropriately and inappropriately (according to my own standards) at various times. I usually can’t do those things like load the dishwasher or fold laundry when a friend is over… even if its someone I’m very close to. I wished I could! LOL. I’ve even had trouble during the summer when my parents are visiting for a month, just to do the ordinary things that must be done when they are over (and they come over every day). But I can’t say that I am free from feeling a slight bit of resentment when I can’t get those things done. hmmh. Ninety-eight percent of the time my feelings of resentment have been because of drop-bys I hadn’t actually invited over. I get those from time to time. I am the spontaneous time and love to have fun and laugh with friends. But I do have things I have to do, work, rest, recharging, being creative.

    I used to live a completely open-door life. I was very sacrificial about my time and attention, but I think I’m in a different season of life where I have to maintain some boundaries or I won’t have anything to offer anyway. I liked what you said in this post. I want to give my full attention to my friends when we have the opportunities. That’s what I want for them to do with me also. My struggle is finding the courage to have boundaries and be ok with those times I just can’t be available. Thats really hard for me, but I’m learning how to not feel guilty about it.

    Anyway, you’ve gotten me thinking. Sorry about my rambling.

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