"I am the vine; you are the branches." — John 15:5

Thursday, April 2, 2020

“Heart and Soul”

Sometimes, when someone asks me to do something, rather than considering it I’d just like to say “I’m a frayed knot!” On occasion, both the audio and the visual would be true.

Even for the ‘A’ type, the Martha in our midst, the ‘ask a busy person’ personalities, there reaches a point within our psyches where they feel the stress of their success.  It usually shows, sometimes in subtle ways, at other times with such energy that anger surfaces or bed rest is required. It’s been said that the concept of work/life ‘balance’ has been replaced by work/life ‘integration’.  I’m not sure how I feel about that as integration suggests that every aspect of life is in high gear, at all times.  That might resonate with you personally or may well remind you of someone else; someone who is just a bit frantic, full of suggestions of things for others to do but they are ‘too busy’, letting people down or quick to criticize…

Even in this period of self-isolation, options for meaningful, or satisfying, work, or play, are plentiful. Some of us are able to work from home, albeit in different ways. Others, our ‘new age heroes’, are involved in essential services and are still required to leave their safe places.  Others have been laid off and face uncertain futures.  Many people have focused on creative hobbies, or have learned a new skill online, or mastered, for example, bread making.

The temptation is to reflect on our own lives and pray for God’s guidance to help us achieve equilibrium. That would be a good thing!  But perhaps during this Lenten season one of the changes we are called to make requires us to acknowledge that it’s not always about us! 

Think of all the ‘frayed knot’ people you encounter, these days practicing physical distancing. We may see drivers in a hurry, cashiers whose feet hurt and whose stress level shows, and rude people at the grocery store.  We e-mail with those who have loved ones in hospital, or are far away. We talk with the friend who suffers with chronic pain or deep anxiety or has been in contact with someone who has tested positive and is just waiting…We find ourselves feeling annoyed at people who insist on doing ‘good ’, disobeying the ‘gatherings’ law and putting themselves and others at risk. We hear the person with a conspiracy theory about the origin of the coronavirus and those expressing disappointment at some event being cancelled.

Take a few moments and make a list, preferably written, of all those people in need of a break or an attitude adjustment, a word of encouragement or the blessing of peace. Pray for yourself, for patience, and then pray for them.  Not what you think they need but what our Lord desires for them, God’s beloved.