Recently my husband treated me to a weekend free of wife and motherhood duties. I only had myself to pack before I flew off to another U.S. city for a brief retreat from regular life.
On the morning of my flight, I slept a few extra minutes past the alarm’s first ring. I leisurely arose and caved in to the urge to check email and Facebook. I proceeded with my unhurried approach until I stepped out of the shower and saw a clock.
Reality hit as less than 30 minutes remained to finish getting ready. Immediately, I felt the crunch to complete what now seemed a lengthy list of final chores. As my anxiety elevated, I began barking instruction to my husband, delegating my outstanding wrap-up.
By the time I bid my husband good bye, he was eager for my exit and resistant to a parting kiss. Understandably he was frustrated with the stress he was forced to absorb amidst my panicked race to get out the door.
I stayed in this unpleasant mode after I arrived at the Atlanta airport. I sprinted to security, aggressively passing some laid back travelers in order to get ahead in the security line. I then dashed to the tram, rattling the nerves of a young mother I gently swiped as I passed.
Once inside the terminal, I looked up to see a famous Atlanta family waiting at a nearby gate. A tad bit star-struck, I caught myself wanting to observe their interactions but was quickly reminded of an impending plane-door closing.
Yes, I made my plane. But, there was so much lost. As I found my seat on the plane I reflected (and repented) of a morning lost. This should have been my perfect opportunity to show gratitude toward my husband, patiently wait my turn in the security line, graciously help the mother traveling with two young children, and even people watch amidst a brief brush with fame.
From the minute I realized I was running late until I arrived at my plane I was in survival mode. Behaviors benefiting anyone else were abandoned in my need for self-preservation.
How often do we turn ourselves or our families into survivors by failing to stay on schedule? It is easy and tempting to desert our time budget as we get distracted or extend a moment of enjoyment too far. We dismiss momentary and almost subconscious choices as insignificant. But are they? A child, who arrives late (or at the last minute) to school, arrives stressed. And hurried activities are never quality activities.
Staying on schedule keeps us and our families at their best. Unnecessary stress is avoided. And honoring the time budget may even afford us the few extra moments to serve others in our midst.