Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Cramming Calamity

It’s about as long as a large casserole pan, and it looks like someone turned a panful of beef stroganoff upside down, but that’s not the explanation for the stain across the carpet in the front of my car. No, this spill was all because we set ourselves up for calamity by our cramming. That’s right. As we sped off in the morning darkness on the way up North for holiday time with family, we packed the mini-van full of dog, gifts, cooler, kids, backpacks, suitcases, sports equipment, snacks, books on CD, laptops, and much more I’m too embarrassed to admit. I also stuffed in my new heating blanket for the car, looking forward to my newfound private zone of warmth. With kids settling back into sleep on the rainy morning, we stopped for the cherry on top of our early morning journey … a tall coffee with cream to warm us on our way. What feels better than driving away from the mundane responsibilities with a hot cup of a holiday blend in hand?

Not far down the interstate, when the cold was beginning to creep up my jeans and remind me that I was on the road before 6:30 am, I reached down to arrange my blanket. The problem was that when I reached down, the tangle of “travel stuff” hooked the tray release, and in a single awful moment, the coffees (yes, plural), ipod, etc. went spilling into the dark floor, on top of the new book map, my purse, and assorted victim items, as the hot java poured out all over our well planned travel gear. It was just too much stuff crammed into the available space, and it didn’t inspire my most sanctified moment.

Jeff thinks we may need to replace the rug, because the stain is too dark and permanent; the car smells like roasted coffee beans (an up side to the mess). But I think the stain may be a good reminder for me this year. Especially when our life includes the “out of the ordinary,” we need space in our lives to see clearly and to move around; we need to carve out available space and make peace possible. That cold dark morning, with all that we packed into our limited resource, we really set ourselves up for disaster. I think that planning to leave some space in life may be more important than all the other things I force into my limited time and energy. Come back to visit later in January to hear about some ideas to help make “space” happen.

As I approach the days of 2009, I’m going to look down often as I step into the driver’s seat, and I’m going to remember the calamity caused by cramming!

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