“Action expresses priorities.” – Mahatma Gandhi

This afternoon I had something or a wake-up call. Actually, it was more of a wake-up scream…

It had been a dismal morning. In one hand was the stack of bills I needed to pay, in the other was my checkbook and, as often is the case, the two did not meet in the middle. There was also a list of emails marked urgent in my inbox, a list of honey-dos taped to the fridge, the house was a mess, and the coffee pot had died before breakfast.

Now, I’m a fairly optimistic guy, and any one of these would not typically bring me down, but cumulatively, the load was feeling huge and heavy. What I wanted to do was just forget about it all and go play with my daughter, what I had done instead, was spend the morning staring at my computer screen and worrying.

That’s when my two-year-old, who was napping in her room, screamed.

It was a scream I’d never heard from her before, not frustration or even fear, but pain.

You know what? I was up and out of that chair in a heartbeat, and all those worries, which had seemed so important, disappeared just as quickly. Suddenly, nothing in the world was imperative except making sure that my girl was okay.

Luckily, it was nothing more than a leg trapped in the slats of her crib, which had twisted when she tried to roll over in her sleep. Ten minutes in the rocking chair and a sippy-cup of milk later, she was back asleep, safe and sound.

Still, in the few seconds that it took me to get from my desk to her door, I was treated to a blinding flash of the obvious. Bills would be paid, or they wouldn’t…we weren’t going to starve. Chores would be done, or not, and there was always next weekend. Nothing on my worry list was more than a B priority at best, and my A priority needed my help.

Nothing on my worry list would have made me sprint away from my screaming daughter.

An hour later, I still hadn’t made much of a dent in the lists, but when my daughter woke up for real, I put a pair of sandals on her, turned off the computer, and we went to the park to play in the fountain.

The bills will get paid…they always do, and all of those things that need to get done will eventually get done; and the ones that don’t?

It’s okay, I’m not going to worry about them, because they’re not my priority.

Hopefully, I won’t need a scream to wake me up again.

-Gracie’s daddy

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