Keeping the main thing the main thing

On Monday, I had nothing to give you guys. I was feeling used up and worn out and I just couldn’t get myself to edit a post we’re almost ready to share.

So in that day’s post I announced my intention to spend the morning doing something with my hands. It was a way of putting on my own oxygen mask first.

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Making pillow covers from this thrift store fabric was on my list of possible projects.

I’d love to tell you that it was wonderful and I emerged from the day with not only a finished project, but a whole new lease on life.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t always go that way.

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I did manage to recover one chair cushion. Then I ran out of staples and couldn’t find any more. Not surprising, as the workbench in our garage is a total mess.

I dithered around for a bit, wanting to finish something but not really having enough time or the right materials for any of the other projects on my list. I finally settled on repotting these plants.

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It meant I had to run to the garden center to get a new pot. While I was there, I bought some herb plants to put in the old, small pots.

They were too big for the pots.

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I repotted the little ones into one large pot, but I gave up on getting anything else done.

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And then I went to the doctor, a new neurologist, because for the last two months I have had weekly migraines that typically last three days. This (chronic illness) has much to do with why, on Monday, I needed to be alone, doing something with my hands, doing something calming and easy. Pain is wearing me out.

In the end, I was satisfied by the repotting of the plants. The day was sunny, and I had time alone to recharge. Instead of finishing the chairs, I spent the late afternoon making Leilani’s awesome enchiladas. I have no pictures of mine.  Here’s one of hers. (Yes, they were as good as they look.)

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It was a lovely afternoon.

I was finally able to get back to the chairs this evening (Wednesday night). I really wanted to finish them before I lost the light, so I could get some good pictures to share with all of you.

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Look! I got an in-progress shot.

The next thing I knew, though, it was 5:20 and I hadn’t started dinner or unloaded the dishwasher and the light was fading fast. I only had 3 chairs finished. What to do?

Luckily, yesterday I read some words that helped me know that the thing to do was not to push on through to finish the chairs. It was to stop and put my supplies away and start cleaning the kitchen and making dinner.

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Here they are:

we can’t do it all.  but we can all do something… .the path is set before us and we only need take a little step each day.  soon we will look back and be amazed at how far we’ve come.  and we can do it without sacrificing those things that matter most in our life and our heart: the main thing.  keep the main thing the main thing.  (from Grace Uncommon via Leilani at Tales of a Clyde Woman)

As I pondered my only-one-more-chair-to-be-finished project and the darkening windows and what continuing to work would mean for the rest of the evening, I thought about my main things.

Health is a main thing.

That neurologist I saw Monday afternoon forced me see something I’ve not wanted to see: I’m not wired like people without migraine. Stress and too much sensory stimulation make me sick. It’s not a character weakness. It’s a physiological one. And if I don’t want to go on daily medication–and I don’t, as any that I’ve tried have only presented different and more unpleasant problems–the only real solution is to live differently.

I hate this truth.

I’ve fought it for a long time, and surrendering to it on Monday was hard. I don’t really know what living differently means. I don’t know how I need to live differently. I don’t know what path I need to travel to get where I want to go.

But I thought of those words late this afternoon, looking at my three chairs in the fading light. And I started putting things away. It was a little step.

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As I started gathering up tools and putting away dishes and getting out leftover enchiladas to reheat, I realized that it really doesn’t matter that only 3 chairs are finished. Our kitchen is still pleasing and comfortable.

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So what if one of the chairs doesn’t match yet?

It’s still a place where those of us who are here on any given day gather at the end of it to share food together.

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We don’t need matching chairs to eat, and talk, and love each other. (And the doggies.)

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(No dogs at the table is a frequently violated rule.)

Family is another main thing.

It’s more important to have time to eat good food together, and really listen to each other when we talk about our days, and linger at the table when the meal is done, enjoying each other. It’s hard to do those things when I’m sick. Or rushed because I “need” to finish some kind of project or another.

We love the things we do to make our home feel and look better. I have every intention continuing to do them. But matters of decoration? They are not my main thing. Not even close.

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That’s good to know.

How about you?

What’s your main thing? Ever have a hard time keeping your main thing in its proper place? You know we’d love to talk with you about it. Hope you’ll chat with me in the comments. We can pretend we’re sitting at my table, drinking some afternoon tea and soaking in some late winter (dare we call it early spring?) light.

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 (This is my contribution to the weekly William Morris Project at Pancakes and French Fries.)