Slowing Down –
The last few days have been slooooooooooooooooooooooooooow. We’ve had overcast skies, plenty of rain and this makes for a dreary season and spirit. April showers may bring May flowers but February showers bring time to a standstill. The last few months have been long. I always have a difficult time between Thanksgiving and Easter. It’s dark when you arise and when you arrive home in the evening. The darkness that surrounds me seems to permeate my emotions. As someone with Chronic Severe Depression and a Severe Anxiety Disorder the days slowing to a crawl, mess with my balance and threaten to send me over the edge into negative thought patterns and fixations on disappointments and failures.
The balance, of course, is not letting the anxiety get in there and make my brain whirl like a drugged up hamster on a greased up wheel. Again, it is balance. I make sure the things which help me; meds, exercise, talking to others about how I’m feeling, are done and not discarded even when tempted to do so.
The balance to keep life’s rhythm manageable is an everyday if not every moment discipline. If we let it we would be either swept away in a chaotic whirlwind of activity or mired in a despondent state of surrender. Slowing down isn’t the goal but balance and mindful living are what keeps us sane and steady on the path.
In the Dumps –
Today, as we were eating lunch, I heard what sounded like rain hitting the tin roof of the porch. I knew it couldn’t be rain because apparently, it doesn’t rain in Tennessee any longer (sarcasm, but it’s been a long dry fall after a long dry summer).
The noise continued so when we finished our meal Beth and I went out onto the porch to look around. We discovered that the large Oak tree over-hanging it was filled with birds, we assume migrating, who’d decided to take a break from their travels and decorate the tin with their droppings. Lovely. I yelled; “Go! Go! Go!“, clapped my hands and they dispersed only to come back around about an hour later. Sigh.
As I reflected on the bird poop, yes, you truly can reflect upon anything, I thought about how sometimes, out of the blue, life can take a dump on you. I don’t mean to be crass but not sure how to say it differently. You do your best to avoid it, seek shelter, perhaps even stop it for a brief time but in the end, you’re still covered in gunk, your life is a mess, and you’re left wondering; “What happened?”
Wisdom reminds us even bad seasons of life have a stopping point. When it’s over, you clean yourself off, look above, thankful for the clear, blue skies and keep moving forward.
Blown Away –
Earlier today, after mowing the back yard of the Loging homestead, I grabbed my leaf blower, leaned a ladder against the house and climbed up on the roof. Using the blower I cleaned off the limbs, leaves and gunk that had collected over the past couple of months. Carefully navigating our steep roof I made my way to each side, and with wind power, rid the roof of some unnecessary and unsightly junk.
Last night, I spoke to a group of men about emotions. We discussed how men have a difficult time showing what they’re truly feeling. “We often avoid our emotions, ignoring them, letting them build up and then releasing them in ugly ways with negative results. As men we must have a method of processing, showing and releasing our emotions in ways which do not harm ourselves or others.”
On the roof today I was thinking about these men and the need for all of us to occasionally have a fresh wind blow through our lives. A stormy and chaotic world can often leave debris, junk, littering our spirit and having the unnecessary and unsightly mess blown away is good for the soul.
My face has several areas of dry skin. I try to keep it moisturized but often, during the day, these areas become flaky again and need more lotion applied. To this end I keep moisturizer at home, work and in the truck. The last few weeks, however, when driving around, I’d notice a dry spot reach for and apply the lotion but after putting it back in the holder somehow there would be moisturizer on my pants, the steering wheel, cup holder, floor board and I couldn’t figure out what was happening. Finally, yesterday, I noticed there was a crack in the bottom of the white lotion tube. I didn’t see it before because the lotion and the plastic are the same color. Once I spied it, the messes made sense. I grabbed some duct tape (one of the greatest inventions ever!) and fixed it.
Shaking my head and laughing at my confusion I wondered why I hadn’t seen the crack before. The simple answer was because I never looked for it. I just cleaned up the mess and kept going. I reflected on this and wondered how often we just keep cleaning up the messes that spill into our lives without ever checking to see to where they come from? We get so used to habits, hurts, hangups and learning how to live with them. What if, instead of cleaning the mess, we fixed the problem?
Wednesday I wrote about my encounter with a farmer and his tractor. Last night he returned to finish what he’s been working on all week. He had attached a hay baler and it was awesome!
He started on one end of the field and began simply driving over the dried hay laying on the ground. As he did the hay baler picked up the scattered straw, collected it and when it could hold no more spit out a round bale of hay. What was not long ago several acres of mess was soon a plethora of organized, useful hay.
As I watched the him work I reflected on how life would be much easier if we had a machine that could take all the messes in our world, including myself, organize, straighten, fix and pop out something useful. Unfortunately, this magical device hasn’t been invented yet.
So, I guess random and overly generous acts of kindness, reckless and abundant grace, non-judgemental and radical acceptance, along with limitless love of all, including ourselves, will have to be our way of taking this mess of a world and trying to make it better.