You know you are sick when you have been told there is a 6 x 6 mule deer across the shallow river from your campsite and you just don’t have the gumption to try. On a “normal” day of hunting “ain’t no mountain high enough…ain’t no valley low enough…ain’t no river wide enough…to keep me from gettin’ to you…” but when you are sick, you are sick. Two days before was an entirely different story….
We had planned an antelope hunting and camping trip with friends weeks before. I was checking off my “to do” list like a champ; kids covered, laundry done, work caught up, meals prepped, camper packed, hunting gear loaded. In the midst of all this productive glory I find my husband curled up in the fetal position in the master bed. Oh no you don’t, I said. It’s antelope weekend and nothing is gonna keep me from it.
So, my “to do list” simply got a bit longer. I needed to now somehow motivate and load the sick hubby into the truck and make our way south. After all, one can just as easily be sick in antelope camp as one can be in the comfort of their own home, right? I promised him hot toddies and blankets and furnaces turned up high. I would do all the driving, all the cooking, it would be grand!
And that is exactly how it all happened. Par for the course, I muscled my way into just what I wanted and I was very proud of myself indeed. After getting our little camp set up in the desert and being sure there was NOTHING more I could do for my sick husband (“oh brother, man cold…” I was thinking); I left camp to scout the area that evening. Less than 20 minutes later this happened….
Yup. And less than two hours later this happened…
Was I proud? You could say I was a version of proud. Solo hunt, solo clean, solo pack out (lift into the truck that was 5 yards away), solo skin, solo quarter. In case the use of the word solo wasn’t clear enough, I did it all BY MYSELF! I deserved a beer and I had one! I deserved a pat on the back but nobody was around so I gave myself one. Yup, life was good.
And then I got sick.
And not cute sick like this…
I got “mommy sick”. When the engine in the family quits there is a lot of sputtering. I called in sick to work at my job; which I have never done! I passed on that big muley that was probably just waiting for me to put him to rest. After all, we ALL need rest! The question is if we will get it before the long dirt nap begins?
When we arrived back home from antelope camp I made it to the couch and the productivity came to a screeching halt. Dishes could wait, dinner…forget it, the kids could just fall asleep wherever they landed…the mommy machine was out of service. As I lie there on the couch with the daylight mocking me from behind closed curtains, I marveled (proudly) to myself how the ONLY time I allow myself to sit down with nothing to do during daylight hours is when I am sick. I am not talking about sitting to journal, or jaw with a friend on the deck, or make a “to do” list. I am talking about shutting down ALL productivity and putting myself out of service. I just don’t do it. I don’t nap. I don’t stroll. I don’t stop. And I wave it like a banner, wear it like a badge. I worship the god of productivity. There, I said it.
I have been following an amazing blog, Words That Matter, and in one of the last posts of the summer, Searching for Selah, I was convicted by the words, “I continually sacrifice my peace to an invisible deadline no one knows about but me.” Ouch. I had to sit with that one. Who am I proving myself to? Do my kids care that my spices are alphabetized and that I can clean and quarter a big game animal all by myself? If I am so stretched by my productive schedule that I frazzle at small inconveniences, do they care that I can juggle six balls while balancing a plate on my head?
I think they do not care.
So who does care, besides me?
I write this as I help my kids get ready for school, apparently getting up one hour earlier than they do is NOT ENOUGH TIME for Selah or for writing. In 30 minutes I will drop them off and then head to my women’s group where I have suggested our theme for this morning’s discussion be Selah and the purpose of rest.
I am trying decide if I go dressed in camo so I can rush out to the woods to squeeze in a few hours before the kids get out of school or head in to town to work on banquet donations to an upcoming fundraising event, The Wyoming Women’s Antelope Hunt.
Or mow the lawn.
Or organize my photos.
Or go through winter clothing.
Or pull the rest of the veggies from the garden.
Yeah, I might still need some work on Selah.
Maybe a lifetime’s work.
Perhaps that is why my soul yearns for the outdoors. I refuse company so often on my hunts. Maybe it is because when I am out there, all by myself, it is the only time that I truly feel at rest.