Sunday, November 6, 2011

ships in distress

Ships in Distress off a Rocky Coast Ludolf Backhuysen 1667
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

Do we really live? Or merely exist, enduring from day to exhausting day? While what I do is important, what I am is more important.

Do I have energy saved up for my relationship with my spouse or close friends? Or are we like passing ships in the night on a dark and lonely sea? Do we hear the distant horn, the distress signals of our friends, families, neighbors and others, but aren't able to see the other ships through the fog of our own busyness?

File:Winslow Homer 005.jpg
Nach dem Tornado 1899 Winslow Homer
Art Institute of Chicago
Source: Wikipedia

When I'm feeling burned out, I need to ask myself: How is my inner life? My relationships? Are they deep and passionate and true? Have I taken the time to make them so? If we're mothers, how are our families? Our husbands? Are they calm and contented? Or as frazzled as we are? As a wife and mother, I set the tone for my home.

Do I have time for God? For solitude; to calm my anxious mind? To breathe deeply and be grateful for every breath.

At night, if we have children, do we try to get them to bed fast so that we can get more done and drop dead in our beds from sheer exhaustion? Or have I paced myself and taken care of needs so that I'm able to relax, savor and enjoy my children, building deep and lasting bonds? If it's not the latter, then I know I need to cease striving and reevaluate what I'm doing and why. "Busyness is the enemy of spirituality, as I shared here.

Sometimes, though, when in distress, we have to be forced to reevaluate. We had the minister and his wife at our old church stop by our home one afternoon. They were upset with my husband and I because we weren't filling their expectations of attending both back-to-back church services one Sunday. We only attended one. Instead, we had chosen to take a meal to a very sick family, after seeing off out-of-town friends that we had hosted for the weekend. Then we needed to take the time to rest and recover from our busy weekend with guests. I share this to make the point that others won't always agree or try to understand our choices to not participate in their agendas, but we still have to follow God's leading, like we did that day. They were very unhappy with us -- but we knew we did the right thing.

Consequently, that confrontation ended up being a blessing in disguise, as the minister's wife brought out a lot of other issues she had with my husband and me, which we hadn't known were busting at the seams. She pushed us to take a long, hard look at our lives, our choices and our walk with God. Sometimes we need that extra shove. God used that incident to bless us with our current situation, and we learned a huge lesson about freedom. We hadn't been listening to that inner voice, so the choice was made for us. For that, we're grateful.

So...we needed to listen to that still, small voice within us; instead of the shouting of other people. That still, small voice instead of the foghorn.

That said, we had to let go of some of ours, and mostly, others' expectations. It's not always easy. But, we trade the better for the best. "Best" may not seem so to others, and that's okay -- it's in the eyes of the beholder.


"We teach best what we most need to learn."
~ Richard Bach

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1 comment:

Heidi... said...

wow... great post! Sorry for what you went through though but I'm so glad you see the blessings in it!!