Timeouts and Tornadoes

(Previously published on the Westminster Presbyterian Church Blog, 8th and Jackson  Street)

I remember when my kids were little and they would start to get tired, or overwhelmed. They would lose their ability to be flexible. To go with the flow. To handle the challenges life would throw at them. Their favorite pants were dirty. They couldn’t find a certain toy. They wanted their sandwiches cut like a Christmas tree and not squares. Their green beans touched their mac-n-cheese. They wanted the candy at the check out. Things that would normally be non-events all of the sudden become game-changers and things would unravel. It could get ugly.

I would send the kids to their room to regroup. More of a re-boot than punishment. A bit of quiet. A chance to settle down. Pacifiers and blankets and favorite toys were in the bedrooms, and they could go in and get the balance they had lost. Sometimes they would fall asleep.

There have been times these last weeks that I felt tired and overwhelmed. As adults our telling points are different than the kids. For me it could be the perceived criticism. The rude person. The long line. Getting cut off in traffic. The ridiculous post on social media. A car that was acting up and then realizing when you left the dealership that they  left the magnetic number on the roof so you have to go back. I realized I needed someone to send me to time out. I needed a chance to go to my room and settle down. Re-boot. Maybe fall asleep and take a nap.

I actually tried to do this a couple of days ago to be rudely awakened by tornado sirens. It was a jarring re-boot. A shocking energizer. I realized as watched TV coverage of the storms and heard about people being trapped in their homes, injured and even killed, that what I was prioritizing wasn’t a real priority. I got my pile ready in case I had to go into the shelter. I had my shoes, dog, laptop, purse and photo hard drives. (My husband was at work!) I realized that I had been staying up late and getting up early, and was in fact taking a nap to do it again, when the world stopped for me to watch storms that would change lives across North Alabama. What I was worried about wasn’t something to worry about. I was worried about Christmas decorations and reflected on if I had to go into my storm shelter that there wasn’t one ornament I would take with me.

As I sat there, no longer stressed about my to do list, I prayed for the families of those who were killed. I prayed for those who were injured; those who lost their homes. I continued to pray for those who have lost family members this year and would trade all of their decorations and shopping and cooking and prepping for one more holiday with their loved one.  I prayed for those who had lost their homes this year due to fires or finances. For those who would trade ever decorating again for the opportunity to have a job and work and support their families.

What is worrying you? What is stressing you out? Do you need a time out to re-prioritize during this Christmas season?

Rev. Shannon Jordan is the pastor at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Decatur, AL  To receive notifications when there is a new post click on the menu (three horizontal lines) at the top right, scroll down and enter your email where it says “Follow Blog Via Email”. To see the previous blog, click on the arrow under the menu, or if you want to see more blogs, click on the grid under the arrow. On the main page, if you hover over a photo, you will be given an option to read the blog. On that page the arrow will take you to another page of blog photos. Enjoy!

You can find her on Facebook at @ShannonJordan1 or Instagram at @cameraprayers. Westminster Presbyterian can be found at @wpcdecatur or on Instagram at @801_Jackson_Street.

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