Monday, October 19, 2015

The Clown Car

Driving five teenagers to a weekend youth group event reminded me a little of loading and unloading a clown car.

I drive a Toyota Highlander. It claims to seat seven (including the driver), but that’s only if everyone is small with short legs and if you don’t need trunk space. Five teenagers, including two boys, are not small. Even limiting everyone to one piece of luggage—don’t get me started on how difficult that was—there was barely enough room for everyone. For a moment, I thought I was going to have to drive with items on my lap, or my own kids strapped to the roof.

The teen I made sit in the way back of the car even asked how she was supposed to get out, and it was a legitimate question. But we made it.

Stuffing everyone in, and finally releasing them from the car made me think of other things, though. It kind of reminded me of what we do when we stress. Or at least, what I do.

I have a lot I have to get done. Some of it is my own work, some of it is volunteer work, and a lot of it is for my kids, husband or extended family. It’s very hard to say no, so I just keep cramming it in, not thinking about how it’s going to get done or what I’m going to sacrifice in order to accomplish it.

And then I stress over all of it.

Eventually, one of two things happens. Either I get my to-do list done or I completely freak out about everything that has to be accomplished. Usually, it’s a combination of both. Both methods “empty out the clown car,” but neither one is particularly effective. Or funny. Even when I do cross things off my to-do list, I don’t get the time to appreciate the freedom, but immediately start to add more to the list, to “refill the clown car.”

This tells me a few things:

I need fewer clowns.
They need seatbelts—one per passenger.
I do NOT need a bigger car.

If those “clowns” happen to be teenagers, listen carefully to the conversations. You never know what you’ll find out!

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