Anne Holton, the wife of Senator-elect (D- Va.) and former Governor Tim Kaine*, has this great story from law school. In a conversation with students about her and her husband’s careers in public service, Mrs. Anne Holton revealed that in those big echo chambers and theater-like classrooms, you wouldn’t find her scurrying to copy down every single word her professors spoke. No, she was too busy cross stitching. Chuckling, she remarked to us: “Well, I realized there was a much more productive way to keep my hands occupied.”
Well I was thinking about Mrs. Anne Holton this morning as I flipped through the many links open on my home screen, the news articles I’ve promised myself I’ll read.
You see, this whole season in my life has been about stitching my life together in a way. And it’s been about pushing that pause button to do so. I won’t lie—it’s hard to admit this. I am a go-go-gooooo kind of person and I indulge 24 hour news cycles and ridiculously overfilled color-blocked calendars like they are chocolate chip cookies and pumpkin spice lattees to go (obviously :)
In this world of massive connectedness, I find myself trying to be that bridge between my past, present, and future whilst still traveling between different places and peoples, telling myself that this is the only chapter in my life when it’s ok to not just be that fish-out-of-water but to indulge it too.
But sometimes, I get really scared. I don’t want to whereswaldo my life and there is a certain empowerment that comes from knowing where you’re going and being able to never stop. And so I, as I daresay a lot of my peers do, fill my life with this and that believing on the surface that doing so will lead to something somewhere and convincing myself internally that a full schedules is far better than wide open spaces and a blank canvas to draw my life on.
Needless to say, when I stepped away from school and the busy world I’ve always known this semester, I did something I didn’t quite process in detail till now. Because when I came here, I gave myself a blank page. Without knowing it, I gave myself a season in life with few personal deadlines.
And that, that has been a beautiful thing.
As this time winds down, I’m starting to put together what exactly this has taught me. And on the top of that list has been a reminder far more important than any deadline. A reminder to reflect. Because in reflection, I understand myself better. I process my life. I realize what matters. And I remember that I’m just not capable of doing or committing to all that doesn’t—matter that is.
And in so doing I’m trying to do as Mrs. Holton does: stitch my life together in a way that really matters.
*I would be remiss not to mention that Mrs. Holton is an incredible woman in her own right having served as a chief judge and having been the first woman to have lived in the Virginia’s governor’s mansion as both a daughter and a wife… but whose counting credentials? ;)