Two minutes. That’s the length of time my electric toothbrush vibrates. Thirty seconds for each quadrant.
And every night until recently it has seemed like an eternity. Why? Because I couldn’t do anything else while I was brushing my teeth. I couldn’t read a book, though I tried. I couldn’t pluck my eyebrows. I definitely couldn’t chat on the phone. I couldn’t even pull down the comforter on my bed, something I tried to do and then ended up dripping toothpaste drool on my pillow.
I couldn’t multitask.
I used to be a tooth-brushing multi-tasker. Brushing while wiping out the sink. Brushing while doing crunches. Or just brushing quickly so I could get on to more important things. Brush. Brush. Maybe thirty seconds, tops. That’s probably why I have a mouthful of crowns and root canals. But there it is.
I’m facing a hard fact. I had probably always done this.
Either I was rushed to get out the door — kids to school, me to work — or I was simply exhausted and ready to fall into bed at the end of the day. Brush. Brush.
Sadly, or maybe happily, I am just figuring out that I Brush Brush my way through most days.
Brush Brush. My new phrase for the Rush Rush that is my world. I’m so used to rushing through a lot of stuff every single day in the name of efficiency, multi-tasking, productivity — whatever. I didn’t learn it from my mother. She has never been a rushing brusher or rushing anything. Somewhere between pigtails, braces, labor pains, carpools, jelly sandwiches, and gray hairs, I became a do-it-quickly kind of gal. Maybe it was when I started my first teaching job or when my kids were young. Maybe I’m just programmed this way. I don’t know.
But I do know that I have worn it proudly like a sparkling tiara, my rushing, my busy-ness. My Brush Brush. Look at my busy and productive life. Look how I can multi-task, juggling all my vocations. Look at me.
Even if I’m the only one looking at me. Ha.
So yeah. Look at me. I’ve got an expensive mouthful of dental work to show for all this silliness.
More importantly, in the midst of all this Rush Rush Brush Brush, I’ve been partially blind. I’ve missed some preciously serene moments that will never return. (Ouch. That really hurts.)
But I’m out to make a change. (Well, not the dental work – can’t do much about what’s already there.) I’m out to change just a little bit of the silly busy-ness or busy silliness that has been my life.
I am purposefully trying to single task.
I am purposefully trying to open my eyes.
And it all started with my electric toothbrush habit. A single task, a time where I focus only on angling the vibrating bristles at the gum line just so. I focus on each tooth, all sides. I’m paying attention to the way the brush tickles my tongue if I get it too close. Sometimes I close my eyes and marvel at this gift of electricity, this powered tooth-brushing invention. This gift of fresh running water, toothpaste, a clean sink. This gift of a dentist and a hygienist who encourage me and watch over my teeth and gums. Thank you, Lord.
And then the two minutes are up.
My gums are happier. My dentist is happier. And I think my husband notices it too. But that’s another post.
So join me. Really. Even if you are busier than all get-out. Especially if you are busier than all get-out.
Choose one thing that frustrates you because it seems to take forever. You don’t really have time to do that one thing. Or you don’t want to make time to do that one thing. So, sometimes you don’t do it at all. Most of the time you give it a lick and a promise.
It might be a little thing. Flossing. Washing out those quart-size plastic bags. Crunches. Making the bed nicely.
It might be a really big thing. Reading one more story to your sleepy toddler. Sitting quietly. Playing one more round of Candyland. Praying.
And then set a timer and do it for two minutes. Or do it for whatever time it takes.
And the key? Don’t do something else at the same time.
Oh, and open your eyes.
And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.” Mark 10:51
Can you even relate to this? Are you good at keeping your eyes open? Or do you need help like me?