Posts Tagged ‘pace

13
May
20

Final Exam

Stressed out dudeUrgent: [ˈərjənt]
Adjective. calling for immediate attention: PRESSING

 Today I am thinking back to that time when urgency seemed to rule my life.

It was a time when everything had to be done RIGHT NOW! Nothing could wait.

It was a time when I seemed to vibrate with nervous energy, spinning first this plate, then that one, praying I could reach each of them before any wobbled wildly and fell to the ground.

Back then, no matter how fast I ran, or how quickly I got there, some plates still fell and broke. Most of the time, I am embarrassed to admit, the plate that broke was the one labeled “Family Time.”

The thing is, I knew better. I knew my pace was unsustainable. I knew the value of keeping Sabbath time and allowing all my dendrites and synapses to stop their machine-gun firing and cool off a little.

But see, it was so INVIGORATING! When you live in the Urgent Zone you just feel so ALIVE!

Right up until the moment you don’t, of course.

Of course, these days, all of that has changed. Here in quarantineretirementland, there is very little that can be called urgent. If I don’t get it done today, there is always tomorrow. And if I don’t get it done tomorrow, well, there’s always the next day.

No one will die. No buildings will collapse. No sermon will be unpreached if essential “To Do” list items remain unchecked.

I’m not going to lie… it feels GREAT not to be spending my day chasing deadlines, shooting off emails, making phone calls, and driving across town. I especially love spontaneously taking naps just because I can.

But it also feels a little… I don’t know… indulgent? Self-centered? Lazy even? Shouldn’t I be building something, or planting something, or writing something instead of sitting here reading this novel?

This moment of discomfort – I now realized – is exactly the moment Jesus always picks to show up with his next Teachable Moment.

He interrupts the antsiness of my reading time and says, “Russell… I can see it is time to refresh your memory about one of the key lessons from my Sermon on the Mount. Because either you dozed off in the middle of it or have completely forgotten what I said.”

“Uh, sure, Jesus,” I stammered. “Go ahead.”

“Before you retired, you seemed absolutely WEDDED to the idea that your WORTH was tied to your PRODUCTIVITY. I had hoped retirement would have shaken that idea loose, but clearly it has not.”

He continued, “Since it has clearly slipped your mind, here is what I had to say on the subject… I said, ‘Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these.’” (Matthew 6:28-29, NRSV).

“Remember that one?” He paused, obviously waiting for a response.

“Uh, yes! Of course!” I said, proud to be able to show off my Bible knowledge to the Lord of Life.

“Well, I really meant it.” He continued, “You are in good health and – Me willing – have a lot of good years left. The thing I want you to focus on is really LIVING the time you have. Smell the roses, sip the coffee, sing along with the radio, gaze at the sunset, cuddle with Joan, walk the dogs.”

“When it is all said and done, I am not going to ask how many sermons you preached, how many churches you built, or how many “likes” you got on Facebook on a given day.”

“My questions are going to be: ‘Did you love God?’ And, ‘Did you love your neighbor?’ And the bonus question will be, ‘Did you truly LIVE while you were alive?’”

And then he gave me that sly Jesus wink and said, “Now that you know the questions on the Final Exam, get out there and prepare to ANSWER them!”

 

Abundant blessings;

26
Sep
19

Pedaling the Life Bike

BikingThe chain came off my bike the other day.

I was out riding with my friend and tried to shift to another, lower gear when “KA-CHUNK, KA-CHUNK, GRRR,” it all went kerplooey.

It was not a big deal to fix. We hopped off, threaded the dangling chain back over the correct sprockets and before you know it, we were off and riding again.

Besides giving me a moment to pause and catch my breath, I discovered another gift issuing forth from that momentary malfunction; it gave me a wonderful and useful METAPHOR!

Since fully and officially retiring on July 1, I realize that I have been struggling to find another gear for my life. My bicycle has 10 different gears. Different environments and situations call for different gear settings. The experienced cyclist toggles back and forth between them as needed.

In contrast, my “life bike” – up until now – seems to have only two gears: either “Flat Out, Pedal-to-the-Metal” or “Full Stop.” Nothing in between.

Now, with retirement (and this new shoulder injury), I am faced with the real need to find a new and different gear ratio.

Joan will testify that I do not do “nice and easy” very well. In fact, she told me that several times on our walk this morning with the dogs.

But seriously, what would be wrong with expanding my repertoire a little and learning a slower, more relaxed pace? First gear for the steep inclines, third or fourth when it levels out a little, and then maybe a deliberate, reflective, peacefully-taking-in-the-surroundings kind of pace for other times?

Hmmmm. Might be worth giving it a try.




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