Why I Spent a Day Doing Nothing



I should have been inside today — cleaning out stuffed drawers, crammed bookcases, and weary closets.

NOTHING letters


I could have felt the breeze and heard the birds from my open windows.



I chose instead to ignore the call of spring-cleaning and spend the day doing only, as some folks would say, absolutely nothing.

But do you call ten minutes on the swing in the tree house yard, looking up through the green branches to chat with God . . . another ten minutes of silence to let Him talk to me . . . do you call that doing nothing?

. . .All the while enjoying the lavender of lilacs, the petite-ness of their petals, and the air heavy with their fragrance . . . do you call that doing nothing?



. . .Watching with wonder the flight of a monarch butterfly, its basking momentarily in lilac perfume as it lingers by the blossoms . . . do you call that doing nothing?

FREE butterfly


. . .Sitting on a blanket in the yard, watching clouds and cars go by, then reading to little ones snuggled close by . . . do you call that doing nothing?

. . .Listening as birds warble harmoniously, feeling the wind sift my hair through its fingers  . . . brushing the age of years from my eyes, allowing the sun to surround them, seeing God through the eyes of a child . . . do you call that doing nothing?

. . .Running barefoot through the yard, trying to win a race against nimble feet and tiny toes . . .playing “pitch and catch” and missing more than catching  . . . do you call that doing nothing?

NOTHING child ball


. . .Moments later, cradling Honey in my lap–gazing into his puppy eyes, and allowing the pain of being an adult who’d like to be a child for just an instant be swallowed up by his large brown eyes . . . do you call that doing nothing?

NOTHING girl with dog and bonnet


. . .Walking through the new-mown grass, smelling a rose, feeling the prickles of thorns. . .letting the grass stain my feet, peering at the world through eyes half-hidden by wind-blown hair . . .  do you call that doing nothing?


apple 3



. . .Baking an apple pie just because, when there’s no company coming . . . sipping a cup of freshly brewed coffee, taking time to think and contemplate and enjoy . . . do you call that doing nothing?

Today is so beautiful.  I don’t want to miss it, ’cause it was made for me.

All too soon the lilacs and roses will wither and fade. The butterfly will be gone, and the swing will drift with the breeze.


NOTHING swing alone 2


The sun will be shaded by rain giving clouds and the air will stifling and hot.

Little ones will be grown and gone, and there will be no voices begging for just one more story.   There’ll be no pesky hands wanting to help make bread, no voices clamoring for the first piece of fresh apple pie.

Some other day I’ll clean out those drawers, shelves, and closets that are calling my name.

Some other day . . . but today I delight in this glorious day God has sent my way, just for me.


lilacs with butterfly by Mindy
photo credit Mindy Emswiler


When school had finally started in the fall, I’d wait at the bus stop with my kids and wave good-bye as the bus pulled away from the driveway.  Then I’d skip into the  house, fix a cup of coffee, slip into my recliner in the living room, sip my coffee, and inhale the quiet.  Sometimes we need those moments and those days.  When was the last time you took the time to inhale the quiet?

 This story, titled “Doing Nothing” was first printed in a community interest newsmagazine in 2000.  It is also in my book Southside Glimmers.

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