Today I worked in the yard re-potting plants and cleaning up. I overdid it. By the time I came in I was over-tired and over heated. I know better than this but I got going and didn’t want to stop.
It is so easy to take on more than we can manage. You say yes to one thing and then another and suddenly you are in overload. Then add to that the worries that we all carry and the things we HAVE to do and we are in serious trouble.
It is so hard to stick to the middle ground. The Greeks talked about the Golden Mean….that center place where we have done just enough. If we choose to do too little we end up with a vapid face…if we choose to much we are tired, irritable and overworked.
We face the problem that in today’s work scene many employers expect too much. Since we can be reached at almost any time on our cell phones we are seldom out of touch. We are afraid to turn the thing off because we might miss something. It’s hard to call time when a job is on the line.
There is a balance and we have to try to reach it. It may not be easy but unless we do we are at risk for more anxiety and more stress. None of us need that.
Reach for that center place where peace dwells.
Today was a little strange for me. I love Easter and its wonderful gift to us but today was a little off. Again it has to do with change. Usually, at Easter, I do baskets for my two grandchildren who live near. They are adults but I still like to do it. My daughter-in-law and my grandson are both on a cruise so it seemed a little unnecessary to just do one basket. My granddaughter is in her 20’s and on her own with a good job and didn’t expect me to do anything. Time moves on and things change but it did feel odd.
Church was also different. The service was not the usual service and started with the Exultant which is beautiful but somehow I wasn’t ready for that. It is just me trying to adjust again. The service was beautiful but I wasn’t.
Once again I come up against my own failure to accept change. Change is hard but it shouldn’t be this hard. I am trying but not succeeding in feeling at peace where I am. It’s hard when you know that the problem is you and not the life around you. Maybe I am facing aging and not being in the midst of things. That also is my error for not pushing myself to get out there and do something.
There! I have voiced my sadness and my frustration and will need to move on and find what God has in store for me. I think the hardest thing that God tells us to do is to do nothing. The plan to do mediation has been slow in coming but will get here in time. I know that things will move on. God just needs to bop me on the head and say “I told you! Just sit!”
There have been many amazing people in my life. Some of them as crazy as me. One of my favorites was Lisa the wife of an Episcopal minister. She was raised a Quaker and her way of looking at things was a learning experience for me.
She always had something to say about how to draw closer to God and it was usually profound. She often used the expression “center down” which meant stop, think, and listen for God. She talked about Quaker meetings where members sat in silence and waited for someone to be moved by the Spirit to speak.
She told the story of a Quaker funeral where the man who died was not a nice man. He had been mean and unkind his whole life. At the funeral she attended the people sat quietly until someone had something they wanted to say about the deceased. Apparently the silence went on for a very long time. Finally a man rose to speak and said “He was better than his brother.”
I loved this story. It made me think. What if my funeral were like that. What would people say? Would anyone speak? Has my life had enough meaning? Have I practiced kindness and compassion? Maybe it’s just as well that funerals in my church are not done that way. Maybe that’s why they aren’t!
I will never forget one of her comments which was so powerful that it challenges me daily. She said: “the people we know best are the ones we communicate with the most. How is your communication with God?”
I think this is the first time in 43 years that I missed Palm Sunday. We we away attending my grandson’s wedding on Saturday and also a baby shower for my granddaughter on Sunday morning before returning home. It did feel strange. Usually I am immersed in the progress from Lent through Easter. Now we are in Holy Week and I feel lost. I know that I can attend Maunday Thursday services and Good Friday but it seems different.
It is interesting how we can develop patterns that comfort us. Lately my routine has been completely out of sync and as a result so am I. I am looking forward to getting back to routine. I know that some people hate routine and I was not as fond of it when I was younger but over the years I have learned more and more about enjoying things staying somewhat the same. I know, boring. Maybe not.
I need at least some normal to keep me centered. Recently between my family and my friends nothing has seemed the same. It is one of those times in life when we experience lots of change and have to find a new normal. Time has taught me that eventually these changes will slide themselves into a new routine and maybe it will last a while before it happens again but there are no guarantees.
We are guaranteed that life never stays the same. There will always be change and we have to learn to cope. I frequently use this prayer from Compline in the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer:
Be present, O merciful God, and protect us through the hours
of this night, so that we who are wearied by the changes and
chances of this life may rest in your eternal changelessness;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
You are simply you. You are the soul that observes what both your brain and your mind is doing at the present moment. You are the soul that goes by with your name. The feelings that you are feeling right now are not you. Just like the thoughts you are having—they’re inherently empty for they are not […]
via You Are Not Your Mental Illness, You Are Your Soul — Lonely Blue Boy
Since I am continuing to think about the school massacre it brings back to mind my thoughts about more extensive mental health screenings and help in the schools. As a society we seem to be headed down a path of increasing mental illness. People are angry and have no idea what to do with that anger. Taking a weapon and using it on innocent people has become the way to express that anger and frustration.
The mediation center that I will be volunteering for also has a program that teaches conflict resolution in the schools. This will not solve the whole problem but is a step in the right direction.
History tells us that there was brutality in the past and discrimination and violence. I hoped that we were growing and learning but it seems I was wrong. Unkindness is growing and having compassion is not the norm. There may have been some bullying when I was in grade school and high school but I don’t ever remember it becoming a major issue. (of course that was over 60 years ago) I wish I knew what could be done to help but I don’t have any more answers than anyone else.
Yesterday the world crashed in on me. The worries that I have been carrying about members of my family became overwhelming. It was as if I fell into a dark hole. The thing is being in the hole helped me. I let go of all the emotion that had been bottled up. I cried over it and it helped.
Sometimes we just need to recognize that some things are worth crying over. There is sadness and pain and things going wrong and we can’t fix it. Crying is a kind of acknowledgement that it is real and won’t change right away. It is a reminder that we are not in charge of the world and the control is not ours. This kind of letting go allows us to reach out to the one who is in charge and let all the worry and pain be assuaged.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Things don’t always work out the way we want. Lives can be damaged and burdens hard to carry but we don’t have to do it on our own.