Life On the Boil

Somehow, every time I steam vegetables on the stove I manage to get busy with other meal prep work and look away at the exact moment the water starts to foam and boil over. It leaves an icky, mucky mess on our glass stovetop that requires a lot of elbow grease to clean up.

The entire month of December can sort of feel like this, too much to do and not enough time and energy to do it all. Pageants, musicals, parties, decorating, cooking, shopping, wrapping, organizing, traveling… the list is endless and it comes on top of our usual work, church, and family duties. In an effort to create and maintain memorable traditions with our children, family, and friends, it seems we overextend ourselves. Stress begins to boil over, taking away the joy of the season and making us feel like a mess on the inside.

These days, Christmas or not, many people choose to live their lives set on a constant boil.  Every spare moment of time is filled with activity and on the go.  I don’t want to leave the impression that it’s wrong or bad to have a full calendar. I suppose I used to do that too when I still could.  It felt good to be busy with school and church activities, going to the movies or hanging out at a friend’s house, attending concerts, having dinner out, or just riding around town with my best pals.  It was fun being away from home and it felt as if I was seizing the opportunity to really get my money’s worth out of every moment of life.

I don’t want to go back and change much about that time in my life, except that I wish I would have weeded out some of the empty, self-indulgent things I did in a mindless effort to keep life bubbling away. Instead, I would have benefited from some unfilled moments so I could study, reflect, and work on my relationship with God.

Thanks to MS, I rarely live life on the boil anymore. Most of my days are somewhere between a long, slow, gentle simmer and stone cold. Amazingly, just as with food, there is as much nourishment and fullness in life whether it’s served hot off the boil, warm from a good simmer, or cold straight out of the fridge.

On most days, I am glad life has slowed down. It has allowed for me to boil life down to the essentials instead of life boiling me down. Yes, sometimes it’s true that I would like to have a bit more boil and a little less cold, but the joys of life can be savored either way.

My wish for you this holiday season is that you purposely carve out some quiet time to grow your relationship with God. You likely won’t find Him in the chaotic, hectic, hubbub of festivities, but in the quiet stillness of a holy night about 2000 years ago.