What would one think if one were to happen upon a scene such as this:
A girl is lying on a couch, doing nothing. It is evening, around sunset. She remains in the same spot for some time. Is she lazy? Or sullen? Has she no evening chores to do? No one to care for, nothing to accomplish that is more worthwhile than wasting an evening in slothful lounging?
What would one think if one were, while reading, to happen upon a passage such as this:
"Jo was alone in the twilight, lying on the old sofa, looking at the fire, and thinking. It was her favorite way of spending the hour of dusk; no one disturbed her, and she used to lie there on Beth's little red pillow, planning stories, dreaming dreams, or thinking tender thoughts of the sister who never seemed far away." -- Little Women
Charlotte Mason used a phrase of her time -- "masterly inactivity" -- to refer to the time that must be allowed children (or young adults, as Jo was in the above passage ... or old adults, such as I ....) to simply be. To think, to ponder, to make connections between life, faith, literature, and sunsets.
How far we have wandered, in our "I'm so proud of how busy we are" world, from the idea that masterly inactivity is of intrinsic value. When we lose the time needed to think and ponder, we lose connections. We lose sunsets. And we forget that life cannot and should not always be managed, scheduled and controlled. We forget to dream dreams and before we know it, tender thoughts are forgotten, because we find we have been too rushed to allow ourselves the luxury of them.
If you can, plan to spend some unplanned time soon ... a quiet twilight, time on the couch, a fire, and tender thoughts.