Something I have been learning to do is to shrink my world down to a more manageable size. We live in the communication age and vast amounts of data are now available to us. We are inundated with information 24/7, from our TV’s, the news, the internet, social media.
We also live in a world that teaches us to pursue things at a breakneck pace, education, a good job, acquiring lots of stuff. Then we are supposed to spend our free time keeping all our stuff clean and organized, our resumes updated, our taxes filed.
I live in community with a lot of need, much suffering, chaos, strife, a poor economy. It’s like that every where I suppose, it’s just the size of the area I live in makes it more intimate, more personal. When somebody dies, I probably knew them. There’s an emotional investment in most things that go on.
There are other pursuits, things I’d like to get involved in that I have to be careful of so I do not get over committed. I have a family too, that still requires some care, and a husband I like to have lots of time for.
What starts to happen to me is I no longer have time to go for a walk or time to exercise. I start eating a bagel in the car for breakfast and my backseat gets filled with coffee cups and the phone is ringing and the mail piles up unopened, and in no time at all I am simply flitting from one crisis to the next. Soon everything is a crisis, something sad and desperate demanding my immediate attention.
Those times when I get too busy, when I forget to take care of myself, can get a bit amusing, because wham, there’s God, saying “stop or I’ll stop you.” One Christmas season I clothes lined myself on some lights, tripped over the dog, and went sailing off the deck. Somehow I managed to land in two perfect ankle breaking holes, no doubt dug by the same dog that had just tried to kill me. I couldn’t walk for about six weeks and everything came to a crashing halt. It was a powerful lesson in letting go of to do lists and relinquishing control and focusing back in on what’s truly important.
Some people would call it a coincidence, but I don’t believe in coincidences. Believe it or not after all was said and done, those two sprained ankles were a real blessing.
There have been many such times when I was beginning to spiral out of control, only to be blindsided by something that takes things completely out of my hands, a two week bout of the flu, a broken down vehicle, my license getting lost in cyberspace, a crashed computer. Whatever it is, it is powerful enough to take me out of commission and to get my attention.
Over time I’ve learned to keep my life as simple as possible, to be careful about how much information I take in, and to remember to take time everyday to focus on myself and my faith.
It’s kind of funny, somebody said, “God is mean if he would send you sprained ankle!” I suppose that’s a reasonable assumption, except God is not mean. God loves us. Stepping in a small hole really is the lessor of evils when it comes to trying to completely annihilate your own emotional well being while sucking down endless cups of coffee.