Jeffrey’s Wheel

April 19, 2011 by  
Filed under Faith, Faith Articles

By Lori Freeland –

3:00 A.M.

I can just make out the small green numbers on the cable box. Why did I think this couch would be more comfortable than my bed? My body pillow hangs off the cushions and the blanket tangles around my legs. At least I’m free to toss and turn without heavy sighs from my husband’s side of the bed.

Squeak. Squeak. Squeak.

Jeffrey scampers inside the blue plastic wheel hooked to the bars of his hamster cage. For the last hour, I’ve been tossing and turning to the rhythm of his relentless, nocturnal quest. The wheel spins faster and faster. Jeffrey goes nowhere.

Pushing my head into the pillow does nothing to block out the squeak of Jeffrey’s wheel. Restless, I can’t get comfortable. How am I going to clean the house, get to the grocery store and back, make snacks for Maddy’s Brownie party, edit Alek’s World View paper, help Kyle study for his Spanish test, and still get schooling done  by 5 o’clock, in time to make writer’s group? Especially if I don’t get any sleep tonight?

How did I get so busy? Homeschooling. Charities. Teaching at co-op. Dinner. Cleaning. Laundry. Worrying. Am I praying hard enough for protection as Kyle backs out of the driveway? Did I make a mistake not pushing Alek harder towards sports? Is Maddy boy crazy at the age of nine? Can I be a better wife? Did I call my mother this week? My mouth is dry. It hurts to swallow.

Squeak. Squeak. Squeak.

Can you WD-40 a hamster wheel?

Jeffrey’s persistent quest continues. Half his body slides off, but a last second foot maneuver saves him and he catches the wheel and keeps on running. Give it up already. Face it, Jeffrey—it doesn’t matter how fast you run—you’re still going nowhere.

Despite the amount of body hair he sports, Jeffrey and I aren’t that different. We both run. Neither one of us getting very far. Day after day, commitment after commitment, mini crisis after mini crisis, Jeffrey and I race ahead,  never bothering to slow down long enough to look around and realize we haven’t moved at all.

What are we running for? What are we running toward? I can’t speak for Jeffrey, but my motto is Make It Through. I rarely stop and ask God what He wants me to do. I forget life is the sum of each moment. As I run past those moments, I’m wasting them.

In Matthew, Jesus confronts Peter on his wheel, challenging him. “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns” (Matthew 16:23 NIV).

Uh oh. That’s harsh. My entire wheel spins with human concerns.

In that moment, God reaches down and ever so gently lays the tip of his finger on the top of my wheel, slowing it down carefully, so I don’t fall off.

Okay, Lord. I don’t know what to give up and what to keep. What plans do You have for my kids? For our homeschool? Give me peace to let go of my human concerns and fall in line with Your plan. Weed out the distractions. Help me treasure each moment and not waste this time You’ve given me with my kids. Time I will never have again.

I roll to my side, snuggle into the softness of my body pillow, embracing the relief that always comes when I stop moving on my own power. Jesus, thank You that I don’t have to figure it out on my own. You know what You want from me.

Squeak. Squeak. Squeak.

Oh, and could You please put Your finger on Jeffrey’s wheel, too? Or at least make him very, very tired?

About Lori Freeland

Lori Karvasale Freeland is a freelance writer from Plano, Texas. She holds a BA degree in psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, which comes in handy in homeschooling three children. After surviving a long journey through pediatric cancer with her oldest son, she has a heart for women struggling in crisis situations. When she is not working on her first novel, she can be reached at Visit her new blog at

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