Last summer I stayed in the beautiful house of some dear friends in England. They are an elderly couple and their home bursts at the seams with drawings, paintings, sculpture, books, pottery… and much of the art is their own. One day as I was slowly drifting along the hallway, admiring each picture along my way to the living room where we were to take tea and cake (yes, I know, how enchanting!), I asked my friend how she managed to find the time to paint amidst the continuing busyness of her life. She paused, surprised. Then she said, ‘Oh, I don’t spend much time at all actually, just an evening class once a week…’ My eyes must have widened in disbelief, because she then continued; ‘but you see the thing is that I’ve attended that class for 40 years. One evening a week for 40 years adds up to quite a lot, you know!’
A few weeks later I was back in Turkey. Whilst chatting to a friend who is mum to two small children, I found myself asking a similar question. However did she find time to still her mind and get on track in the frantic pace and ‘constant now’ that young mums encounter? She laughed and shared how she had learnt to see even a five minute window as a moment to seize, a chance to invest. “After all,” she said, “just five minutes here and there adds up to more than you think…”
I so often calculate the sum total of my life as ‘what I accomplished this week’ rather than ‘what I will amass over my lifetime’. I visit the workshop one day a week and leave despairing that I never seem to do ‘enough’ to really get me to where I want to be. But how can I be so short-sighted? I’m setting my eyes on the long road to a home filled with beauty and a life given to something worthwhile. Perhaps I can’t work night and day on my art form just now, but 5 minutes snatched here and there is better than regretting that I never did anything because I longed to do everything…
So for right now in this season, instead of asking ‘Am I doing enough?’ I choose to ask, ‘Am I doing something?’ And for that, even five minutes count.