In Part 2, Emily P. Freeman talks about going to an indoor water park and realizing that each lifeguard is only responsible for the eight feet in front of him or her. This becomes a metaphor for us to recognize that God has given each of us a specific task, and to slow down to pay attention to that specific task. Oh,how this was a good message for me this week!
I was feeling overwhelmed with marathon training, new projects at work, wanting to put some time into my blogs, and do some projects around the house. I ended up using a vacation day on Friday so I could simply be.
“I want to make bread, or at least find the time to toast it.” (page 50). On Saturday I decided to postpone my long run by a day so that I could make bread and catch up on laundry and run the dishwasher. Sometimes it feels good to concentrate on small tasks.
However, I was also reminded that we are called to be small in community, not just by ourselves. Freeman prays, “Be our kind companion as we build our benches so we may be kind companions for those who come to sit.”
I found this to be a beautiful image of building community. I work for an organization that does Christian “community development,” and it’s easy to think of community building as something done by the professionals, in poor neighborhoods, with dramatic results, with specific techniques and tools. This chapter was a reminder that we are called to bloom where we are planted, as the saying goes. So despite my preference to sit alone on the bench with a nice cup of coffee, I am called to make room and offer a cup to someone else.
Finally, when I was reading and making “to do” lists as they occurred to me, wondering how I was ever going to get everything done and agreeing that yes, I don’t plan to get famous, but it would be nice to grow my blog again, but it is all so overwhelming and I have so many how to articles and ebooks saved, and there are so many possibilities! I came across this passage:
“But possibly can be as overwhelming as it is inspiring. At first it can feel terribly exciting to imagine anything is possible. That is, until I spring flat into the wall of my own limits in the form of lack of time, lack of energy, comparison, competition, and distraction.”
Uh, hello! That is so me! I was encouraged to read on:
“Could it be possible that we have it wrong? Maybe success isn’t in believing I can do anything but in knowing I can do nothing. My limits–those things I wish were different about myself–are perhaps not holding me back but are pointing me forward to pay attention to my small, eight-foot assignment.”
Again I say, yes! Time to focus. To hone in on my eight-foot assignment. And the eight-foot assignment of writing this post is now finished.
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