Thursday, August 28, 2008
Life by the Inch
In today's hustle and bustle, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. To wonder if we're ever going to cross off every item on our expanding lists of things to do. I've been feeling that way a lot lately. Hence today's blog. ;) We'll call this a therapeutic moment on our busy journey through life.
In college, I came across a wise tiny poem. It is as follows:
Life by the yard is hard.
Life by the inch is a cinch.
These are words to live by, especially in today's crazy world. Don't get me wrong, it's good to set goals for the future, to lay out plans, and to ponder how to achieve all that we desire. But it is also extremely easy to get so caught up in what we're not accomplishing, to stress over events we anticipate in the future, that sometimes we overwhelm ourselves.
Several years ago, my mother gave me very good advice. She told me while I was high school age that it's important to take each day as it comes and to do as much good as you possibly can. Then there aren't any regrets. I'm going to add to this sage wisdom: While you're doing good every day, do not run faster than you have strength. (I know there will be a lot of eyes rolling over this item---it has taken me a while to adhere to this scriptural counsel. I just began this past week.) ;)
I think the best thing to do is to prioritize each day. Obviously, we're not going to accomplish all of the items we've scribbled on our lists. We have to pick and choose, and take each day as it comes, do the best that we can, and let some things go. Last night, I turned down a request to perform today at a local senior citizen center. I actually said that naughty, two-letter word: "No." And I didn't feel guilty. Instead, I realized I just couldn't work it in. We're entertaining company this weekend, and I'm trying to get over a vicious bug that has relieved me of my singing voice. I've come to realize that Heavenly Father doesn't expect us to run ourselves into the dirt. Part of the gift of agency is learning to use it wisely. It doesn't do anyone any good if we allow our cupboards to get as bare as Old Mother Hubbard. ;) We have to take the time to restock the shelves, so we can be of helpful service to those around us.
In recent weeks, I've agonized over heart-wrenching trials some of those nearest and dearest to me have endured. These sisters of the heart are experiencing challenges that would tax the bravest soul. I pray for them, worry over them, and then realize, I need to trust more in our Father. If anyone knows and understands what they're going through, it's our Father in heaven and our Eldest Brother. They alone know how best to heal broken hearts and broken spirits. Some of us may get called upon to help in administering to their needs, but it will be under Their direction and on Their timetable. Instead of panicking over, "Oh, no! Now what are we going to do?!" I'm learning to place my hand inside of our Father's and allow Him to guide me toward what is best.
A few short months ago, our own family was plunged into the icy river of pain with the unexpected death of my husband's brother. We're still healing from this heartbreaking blow. I find that we're adhering to my mother's advice yet again. She learned, following the death of my father, that there were days when survival meant taking life one minute at a time. In the morning, she would awake and think: "Right now, all I have to do is get out of bed." Then she would. The next task would surface: "Now, I just need to get into the shower," followed by, "I just need to get dressed." Etc. She learned that it was too hard and too scary to consider everything that had been heaped on her plate in the days following our father's untimely death. By taking life in mini-steps, she learned to survive. And it wasn't overwhelming, it was do-able.
That is my advice today: take life by the inch. Don't try to do it all at once and risk burning yourself out. These days, it's important to keep that inner flame lit, even if it means taking a time-out once in a while to restock one's spiritual fuel.
Return to the Neighborhood