The Art of Doing Nothing


Three weeks ago my hands went absolutely numb in my sleep. Mildly disturbed, we hypothesized every possible solution. Sean thought Fire Coral from our snorkeling the week before. My thoughts? I was dying, naturally.
As it turns out, it was neither. At least, I’m not dead yet. My hands are rarely numb, only tingling a little when I sit or lie the wrong way. However, with the help of a much-more-logical-thinker, Brian, we decided I’ve got some kind of tendonitis from working. Apparently the last three years of typing, writing notes on the board, grading papers, and doing yoga don’t qualify as ‘heavy labor’ and my poor little philangees were not as used to shoveling for 8 hours a day as I might have hoped. Alas, I’ve been on ‘light duty’ of late. Two weeks to be exact.
Now let me tell you, each morning the guys leave at 5am and head to work. I usually stay at our caravan aka camper, where there is running water, electricity, some cows, sugar cane, my bed, plenty of sunshine and heat, a laptop with some movies, books I’ve already read, and not much else. Anyone who knows me well would think “Oh Nicole would love that . . . for about 2 days.”
World, you’ll be pleased to know I’ve enjoyed myself for a solid two weeks. Of course, my emotion of choice is ever and always guilt, so I’ve been feeling her. I just can’t do much to help. I’m so used to the things that I do counting. I want to do something that matters and makes a difference. I’ve written about this before – see “Shut up and Listen”. As well as have a good friend who’s also blogged about it (and put much nicer than I could!) [I’ll link these when the internet is faster than molasses] So you’d think I had it down. I am not worth the things that I do. I am not worthless if I can’t work with my hands. Quite frankly my worth does not come from any of those things, despite my popular belief in the opposite direction.
Henry Nouwen speaks of this concept extensively in Spiritual Direction. “You are the Beloved of God!” he says in a million ways. Now I am not the voice of God – shocking, I know – and I won’t take any liberties to be, but hey, if someone wants to call me ‘beloved’, I can work with that.
So I’ve become quite accustomed to the Art of Doing Nothing. Often I find myself sitting and thinking, reading and meditating, journaling and walking. Once, I went for a run. Another time, I tried to climb a mountain before being turned back by aggressive, pissed off plants that snagged hair, clothes, shoes, and face. I crawled away from that one! Other days I just sit in the mango tree and watch for mambas with machete close at hand. Whatever it is I’m doing, I’ve found a lot of peace in just being with myself and listening to my Heart. I can’t help but think this time in my life is purposeful. Here we are, on the cusp of deciding our HUGE next phase in life. And here I am – literally capable of doing only nothing, forced to slow down, take stock, listen to the Still, Small Voice, and rest in knowing I’m Beloved and nothing I do makes me any more or less ‘worthy’ of that.
But, seriously, can my hands be healed by a miracle, because I’ve got Christmas cookies to roll out, people! 😉

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Categories: Uncategorized | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “The Art of Doing Nothing

  1. Gail Madill

    You’ll hands will be fine woman, I’ll take a look at them when we get to OH. Rest is just what the doctor ordered anyways! 🙂 I would be going a little stir crazy myself, but give your body some time to heal and it’ll do its thing. Can’t wait to see you in less than a month!!!!!!!

  2. Mom

    Oh how I love you!!!!!!(and your way with words). It IS such a gift to be called Beloved by our Lord.

  3. Aunt Kate

    wow good to read u girl! i know alot about this subject of nothing phyical both from health and the emotional angle. i see it as a great time to pray, pray and pray some more while reasting my body! i sure love u and uncle bill says hi and love. aunti KKKKKKKKKKKate

    • Soooo good to hear from you. What a delight! Yes, you’re a great prayer warrior that I can learn a lot from. Love to you both from Sean and I.

  4. Pingback: What in the World ARE the Boehrigs Up To? « Exposed

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