Friday, December 14, 2012

Shiftable Priorities ~ Life Lessons from Sick Children

For the last few weeks, my mother has referred to my house as "The Hunter Hospital".

She's not far off.

In the last three weeks we've had just about everything come through our house. At one point all three of my children had fevers well over 100. We've had one trip to the ER, two cases of pink eye, three ear infections, and countless episodes of Blue's Clues and Busytown Mysteries. I kept expecting to get a note from Netflix that the unlimited streaming plan wasn't really supposed to be run twenty-four hours a day.

For a week and a half, during what is normally the busiest time of year, I dropped everything to sit in a recliner and cuddle my children. Why? Because that's what mothers do, at least they do when they can.

By Hmayak Artsatpanyan (1874 - 1919)
via Wikimedia Commons
Around day four, I got to thinking. Apparently, all of those pressing must-do items on my calendar were a lot  more movable than I originally thought. When something of greater priority came along, I discovered there were ways to delegate, reschedule, or cancel things I had previously though essential.

Could I have cleared my calendar like this permanently? No. Things like the dental appointments had to be rescheduled and certain obligations got temporarily shuffled off to friends. Neither of those are possible permanent states, but for a short period of time, I was able to clear my schedule for something more important.

Sick children are a nearly universally accepted reason to toss your priorities in a blender and turn yours three course dinner into an unrecognizable smoothie. I started wondering what other things are important enough to make me drop everything and just make it happen because it needed to.

There wasn't much. As I looked back, I even realized there were times in my life I told God that things He had told me to do weren't important enough for me to adjust my priorities. That saddens me.

Now, looking out at everything I have to rearrange now and the routines I have to settle back into, I'm reminded that things are not as set in stone as it seems. Life is transitory and flexible when it needs to be. I just need to remember what is important enough to engage that flexibility.

When was the last time you flipped everything upside down for something more important? What tops your priority list above and beyond the daily obligations?

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