I heard a sermon several years ago that was one of those that really stuck with me. Maybe it’s that I feel it often pushed into my mind since I need to remember it. Maybe, it was just one of those sticky sort of thoughts that resonated and keeps circling back around. Perhaps I see a need for the word that was shared around me…perhaps I need to practice it more myself.
It was about margin.
Margin…that space between feeling like there is plenty of room to move around and being crammed against a wall. The edge or border. It’s what keeps a book from feeling stressful when we read…the space between the end of one thought and the end of a page. Imagine reading where words ran to the very side and into the very center binding. It feels suffocating to imagine literature laid out in such disarray….no room to think, to ponder, or to breathe between paragraphs even.
Funny how people talk about margin of error too…that tiny space between doing something right and messing it up completely. The amount by which a thing is won, or falls short.
And life without margin, well that seems absolutely suffocating.
But the truth is that most of us don’t leave enough of it. Most of us run activities up to bedtime and then even from a propped pillow and outstretched legs, the work goes on. We facebook or write blog posts or books or work on family budgets.
Our allotment of margin seems to be about as generous as our attitudes while waiting a blessed 10 full minutes in the line of a restaurant touting itself as “fast food.”
I’ve been running the past 2 weeks without margin. And I kid you not, it feels like the breath has been kicked out of my lungs.
Now I’m not saying that I regret any of the things I’ve done. Sarah Mae and I attended the Mom’s Night Out premiere in LA, I attended the funeral of Pure Charity’s founder Josh Copher, attended a K3 fieldtrip with one son, and threw my older son’s very first sleepover birthday party. Individually, none of those things were impossible to do. Even together would have made for a super full week…words run right up close to the binding of the book of my life. But when my son came home from school a week ago with head lice, I thought I was going to blow my lid.
“I DO NOT HAVE MARGIN FOR THIS!!!” I yelled on the phone through tears to my husband.
And I didn’t.
So I panicked and stressed and missed out on things I’d tried to make time to do and couldn’t. And then I felt like a failure. I missed my son’s actual birthday, I missed a weekend of time with my family, my parents, and my sister’s family from NY. Everything I did, needed to be done, but the balls I was trying to juggle in the air came crashing down and cracked open on the floor like eggs…fragile, messy, and broken.
Because I didn’t make space for the unexpected. I didn’t preserve margin for life unplanned.
And so… busy moms and women out there reading this, let me put out this challenge to us as a community to make room for unexpected living. Make room for afternoons of popsicles with our kids on the porch. Make room to write the blog post that was due by midnight last night (ahem…yes, I’m nearly 24 hours late on this), make room for unexpected drop ins from friends, or the craft project that feeds your soul. Make room for cooking a good dinner, and actually sitting down to enjoy it.
We can’t be a people of invitational living, if we operate beyond the margins and thereby force ourselves into rigid and stressful function.
Lets live full… to take in the content we’re living, because we leave enough room to savor it.
**If you’re great at this, please share a few tips that you employ to create margin in your life. If you’re not, share below a couple of things that you can put into practice right now to help put more margin back into your living.