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Federal Government Manager
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author, A Theory of Everything

Wasting Time

By Joanne Hunt

The leaves have just started to change colour. In another month the brilliant reds and yellows and oranges will burst forth showing off for the Thanksgiving visitors and families gathering around Canadian tables in October. I can feel the part of me that wants to gather, produce, cook large batches of hearty soups, applesauce from abundant choices of apples at the Market, make raspberry jam, and pasta sauce with ripe field tomatoes.  I have never been a jam maker, cut up peaches in jars, or made sweet pickles.  These were the domains of my grandmother, then my mother.  Sometimes one of my sisters ventures into these domains.  Grandma's homemade candy.  Mom's beef soup with noodles.  I haven't headed down that road yet.  But I feel the call.  What is that?


Is it tradition that sometimes calls us forth?  Do we find the quiet and simple joy in less complex activities?  As I begin to take a dozen perspectives on what is calling, I bring myself back.  No need to wrestle with reality at all times, Joanne.  Perhaps this is just one of those times when you need to make a cup of tea, enjoy the geese forming squawking V's overhead, and relax.

I live in development all the time. Impeccably, it seems. With our students, clients, and teachers. It can consume all my waking hours.  I can get tired. And, honestly, I can get so used to the complexity of it all that I can lose touch with this very moment.

Right now.

How difficult it is to live with the both/and of "Don't waste time!" and "Go. Waste some time. Right now!" It reminds me of Patricia Hampl's book, The Florist's Daughter, when she is holding her mother's hand as she nears the end of her life. Her mother is letting Patricia know that she is too busy, moving too quickly, too much on her plate.  Patricia sits listening to her mother's breathing and thinks

"I waste my life.  I want to.  It's the thing to do with a life.  We were wrong about work - it isn't the best thing, no matter how much you love it. Wasting time is better.
I sit with my mother, as has been destined since time began because a daughter is a daughter all her life.  We stay like this, hand in hand.  We have all the time in the world - world without end, amen. Words we recite by heart when she asks me to say the Rosary with her, the last phrase of the Gloria, the little prayer at the end that puts to rest all the Hail Marys." p. 218-219
I breathe in, I breathe out.
And head to the kitchen for tea.
Trying to be gentle with my existence.

© Joanne Hunt


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