An hour or so ago, the kids and I arrived home from our swimming lessons/McDonalds routine. They like to follow up the routine by pretending to drive my car, which usually involves moving the seat and the mirrors, turning on the hazard lights, and sticking stuff in the CD player. So I let them play in the driveway for a minute while I ran into the kitchen to empty the swim bag and change the laundry. Pretty soon I realized that I was rushing around the house at breakneck speed, for no reason my conscious brain could understand. I stopped for just a second and figured out that I had to go to the bathroom, urgently. And my pace was frantic because my phone was in the car with the kids, and for some reason, over the last few years, it has become nearly impossible for me to pee without checking Instagram.
Gross, I know, right? But it began innocently enough. I usually keep my phone in the back pocket of my jeans, and when I finally switched over from a basic flip phone to an iPhone, I developed a fear that I would drop it in the toilet when I was pulling my pants down. So as long as it was in my hand already when I was using the bathroom, I might as well put it to good use. If you've ever sent me an email and not gotten a response right away, chances are I read it while I was going to the bathroom. If I've liked your picture on Instagram or your status update on Facebook, chances are I clicked on that "like" button while warming the throne.
The funny thing is that even though I'm a reader, I was never the kind of person who stacked the back of the toilet with books or magazines. That was like advertising that I liked to linger on the pot, reading, and that the books that stayed in there were likely contaminated. I came of age in the Seinfeld era, and I guess I was worried that I'd be shunned like George Costanza was for having a toilet book. And look, I know it's gross. I know that if I'm holding the phone when I'm using the bathroom, unless I wash the phone when I wash my hands, if I wash my hands (insert evil laugh), then the phone is basically contaminated too. Whatever. That's what bathroom doors are for. You don't necessarily want to know what goes on behind them when they're closed (not that mine usually are).
This morning I was out for a run, and I was listening to the end of Tsh Oxenreider's book Notes from a Blue Bike. She has lots of advice about how to live intentionally in our busy modern world, and toward the end she talked about the importance of time for quiet reflection. She said that good ideas and promptings from God are much more likely to come to her when she has moments when her brain can decompress. With six kids, I don't feel like I get that very often. I like to listen to books when I run, which is the logical alone time, and I usually have an audience when I take a shower. I'm asleep within a minute of my head hitting the pillow pretty much every night. So when I was standing there in the kitchen today, breathing heavy and crossing my legs, I had an epiphany-- I might not be able to carve out large chunks of alone time, and I might not get to go to the bathroom alone every time, but there are times every day when I am alone in the bathroom. And I can give up my frenetic email and Facebook and Instagram checking for the thirty seconds it takes for me to pee.
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