I can snap PHOTOS of beloved mementos, and keepsakes (snap photos of family photos in frames, for example!) as I pack lifelong bulky treasures away into boxes, for storage that will go on for future months or years. These photos I can keep with me, on my phone or computer.
It’s a little way of easing the processes of transition. Another little thing I’m doing to manage my stress level right now as we get ready to move continents is I’ve written a few of my many favorite Names of God, found in the Bible, out in marker on colored slips of paper and have taped them all over the apartment, in places where I spend time. Above the kitchen sink. Beside my “desk” table. In the living room. “Inspirer”. “Healer”. “Nourisher”. “Faithful”. “Slow-to-Anger”. “Peace”. “God-with-me (Emanuel)” .When my eyes fall on these little labels my mind and emotions are led into worship, thanksgiving and prayer, for a few seconds each time. “Kind”. “Defender”. Ass I move around in the apartment sorting, cleaning and packing, I breathe, and I say thank you. “Queller-of-storms”. “Desire”. “Satisfier”.
I know that MANY PEOPLE face MUCH transition in modern-day life in our world, for a huge variety of different reasons. There are “transitions” on many different levels. It’s not just moving house, it’s not just traveling, and it’s not just me. I hope these two little ideas help somebody else to deal with transition in their life, today, with less stress, the way the little ideas and practices are helping me. We’re companioning each other in this day, which also reduces stress…
By that I’m not saying that I think this woman should be content necessarily with having to wash clothes in such labor-intensive fashion. I’m just using the photo as a general, over-arching illustration of the value of contentment in allowing peace and joy to come in, sit down, and make itself at home in a person’s life. The concept’s related to the oft-repeated phrase, these days, of “being mindful”, “being intentional”, and “being in the moment”.
We went to visit family in Guatemala, and during our time with them we went to this place where people had made these by hand in a tiny room with very simple tools and ingredients. We watched women and men and teenagers making these and I noticed how absorbed, peaceful and joyful each craftsperson seemed to be as they worked to create these items of beauty and usefulness for their fellow human beings.
I think there’s something healthy, satisfying and joy-producing about each of us MAKING things with our hands, hearts, brains. The things we make will be completely different one from another. Never compare yourself to others in this and never believe the LIE that YOU can’t make something beautiful and useful for God.
I think God made us each differently one from another, so that there are many different ways of “making something” beautiful and useful to our fellow human beings. Often we think of artists and craftspersons and maybe envy their abilities to create and restore objects of beauty and use. There are many other ways to “make something beautiful for your God”! One of the most noble and challenging is parenting. If you are in the health professions and doing it for God you are helping to make HEALING for people. If you are in a teaching profession and doing it for God you are “making” young people or older people stronger, fitter and happier through offering them priceless knowledge and helping them to apply it in their lives. If you are in finance , business or some other profession or occupation that contributes to society, and doing it genuinely for God and if you’re giving to other aspects of God’s work from the money you make then you also are “making something beautiful for God”. I think one of the greatest things about post-modern life is the way people of all ages and backgrounds can, if they want to badly enough, change their occupations and professions, receive further education or training, self-educate or train throughout every day they live, or add occupations and professions onto the ones they already have.
TODAY as I marked my ragged piece-of-white-paper-calender after jogging inside with music and doing a half a plank or so, I realized TODAY marks MY FIRST EIGHT WEEKS COMPLETED of re-becoming and staying, A RUNNER. I want to learn to mark self efforts more, celebrate little accomplishments more, learn that it’s okay to pat myself on the back, quietly, sometimes. For progress. And even when there’s not. So, that’s what this blogpost’s about. I mark it down on my raggedy piece of paper that I carry with me as we are home, or travel cities, travel countries. Or continents. Or cross hemispheres, sometimes more frequently south to north these days than east to west. About seven weeks ago I tried keeping the log online with one of those GPS map locater things – thought it would be fun and motivating, and interesting to see the map printouts from my city in the center of South America. But the GPS apparently could not find my streets and neighborhoods in Cocha so, I resorted to the raggedy piece of paper and the pen.
Yeah! Well! I focus on WEEKLY amounts, not daily, and I build in Rest Days. Each week’s mileage totals aren’t very much yet, and two of the weeks had as many as THREE REST DAYS. But this past week I only took ONE!
My back started hurting, well, really it was more my hip, so I slowed down even more for a couple of days…
Weighed myself on their machine as we cruised through a Wal-Mart yesterday and, I have not lost any pounds yet.
But I have not gained any, either.
I am content. And determined to continue…
from Adele Calhoun via her Spiritual Disciplines-Practices that Transform, IVP – “People in a hurry never have time for recovery. Their minds have little time to meditate and pray so that problems can be put in perspective. In short, people in our age show signs of physiological disintegration because we are living at a pace that is too fast for our bodies.” – ARCHIBALD HART
The quieter you become, the more you can hear and the more you can heal…