This change we’ve made, this decision to become dads—it has uprooted everything. It’s like we were hit, suddenly, with a crossfire hurricane. The house is a mess. The schedule is grueling. There is never enough sleep, never enough time in the day.
Even the cool, quiet dark is pierced by the shriek of a man who has stepped on a pile of Legos… and the shriek is coming from your mouth. Yet to be good at our jobs, to be good at this fatherhood thing, we need stillness. We need time to reflect. We need focus. We need calm to restore and reboot us.
Where will we find it? It won’t be, as Seneca and Marcus Aurelius remind us, in fleeing to the country or to the sea. It won’t be those measly two weeks of vacation or by cutting and running. No, we must find the stillness within the chaos. It might not feel like these moments of quiet can exist with all the crying babies or arguing teenagers, but they can.
We must go within. We must find it, early in the morning before the house is awake. We must drink in those minutes after the kids are in bed—really drink it in, don’t defer it in favor of Netflix. We must take time with a journal. We must enjoy that cute, but preposterously slow, walk from school to the car, or from the car back into the house. Soak up the garbage time. Soak up the quiet. Store these moments in your soul so you can have them always.
You must find the stillness. So much depends on it.