Every week, I take the time to read all of it. Often passing it forward.
He gardens too, above.
Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
December 10, 2012
honored will be cultivated there. Plato
If I have
told you these details about the asteroid, and made a note of its
number for you, it is on account of the grown-ups and their ways. When
you tell them that you have made a new friend, they never ask you any
questions about essential matters. They never say to you,
"What does his voice sound like? What games does he love best?
Does he collect butterflies?" Instead, they demand: "How old
is he? How many brothers has he? How much does he weigh? How much money
does his father make?" Only from these figures do they think they
have learned anything about him. The
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Jesus
Do you have any relatives that make you wonder
about the gene pool in
your family tree? Well, Uncle George was demanding and difficult.
Looking after him was stressful, taxing and thankless. Driving to
the funeral of Uncle George, the young man let loose with pent-up
"Thank God," he says to his wife. "I suppose I'm sorry
he died, but I've got to tell you, I don't think I could have stood one
more day with that annoying man. I've had enough. And I'm telling you
that the only reason I gave so much time and energy to your Uncle
George was because of my love for you!"
"My Uncle George," she says flabbergasted. "My Uncle
George? I thought he was your Uncle George!"
We collect Uncle Georges. It is the perfect metaphor for any anxiety,
worry, fret, disquiet, apprehension or fear that is elevated to the
level of urgent consternation. Uncle George consumes us. And he's
not even our uncle.
"Martha, Martha! You worry and fuss about a lot of
things." Jesus, The Gospel of Luke
Which means there is a shift: I am now worrying about stuff I can do
nothing about. And I give the better part of my attention, energy and
time to non-essential matters.
And yet. For all our objections to the contrary, we collect worries
like we collect all our STUFF... there's always room for one more. It
seems to take care of something. I know I like to use Uncle George
to let you know how important, or busy, or indispensable I am. It's still about
But worry and fuss is a pickle, because it gums up the system. Stops
the flow. Worry,
from an Anglo-Saxon word "to
strangle" or "to choke." As
if literally cutting off the air supply that allows us to breathe
emotionally and spiritually.
It's not just the accumulation of Uncle George(s), it is that we have
become untethered and susceptible. So we feel at the mercy of--whether
it be exhaustion, public opinion, the need to pacify or please, the
need to impress, or fear or embarrassment or potential failure.
the deal: preoccupied with Uncle George, I am quite literally, not
myself. I am of two minds. I am exhausted, busy, pulled
in many directions... and
numb, not really available for people I love. And I am not really
available to any wholehearted fire or gladness or desire or intention.
This is not to say that we can't engage in activities, or service, or
work. However, work that is fueled by a need to be needed, or need to
prove value is too consuming, leaving no time for rejuvenation, or
prayer, or delight, or the quiet work of the Spirit.
So. What to do? As if we don't feel bad enough, some opt for the
willpower-on-steroids approach, "Just
cut it out!" That lasts for a half hour or so, about
the same amount of time I can give up serious dark chocolate.
Others opt for techno-cure. Our paper had an article promoting "Hot gadgets to
chill on vacation." Who knew? To think I can't relax
unless I have the proper equipment. (Although, maybe they have a devise
to help me remember all the stuff I forgot to worry about.)
The bottom line? With Uncle George we lose focus. When this
happened to Jesus' friends, ("because
so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a
chance to eat," The Gospel of Mark), Jesus--mercifully--didn't
preach or lecture or lead a prayer or offer a gadget. The story
says, immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go
ahead of him to the other side, while he sent the crowds away. "Come with me by
yourselves," Jesus told them, "to a quiet place and get some
It's not about creating a life absent of stress.
It's about being present, even in the hectic.
In other words, it is in the rest, the refueling, the
"be-ing," the Sabbath that we refocus on essential matters, and allows us to let go, to be present,
even in the busy, the noise, the demands, the lists.
My friend tells the story about a Nativity play at his parish. Mary and
Joseph show up at the inn, hoping for lodging. The little girl, playing
the innkeeper, has only one line, "No
room." But she apparently isn't beholden to the
script. She opens the door (of the inn), looks at Mary and Joseph, and
then looks out at the priest. She looks back at Mary and Joseph, and
then looks out at her parents. She looks at Mary and Joseph and says,
"Oh well, you might as well come on in for a drink."
Yes... I think that's
great. We need the freedom (wisdom) of that little girl... the
spontaneity and joy and compassion and gladness that comes from not being
I am stressed. I have a rather intimidating pile on my desk (it could
be two piles, but I'm afraid to try and separate them). I have
obligations and travel commitments and speeches to make. I recognize
that with the stress, I go through my days with a different point of
view. It is predictable that I no longer see surprises, or splendor in
the unexpected, because now I am too focused on what is missing, and I
see only defects, imperfections and blemishes. This worry is gumming up
the system. It is choking my sense of awe. Perhaps I've lost sight of
There is more work to
be done tonight, but it can wait. Sarah Mclachlan is singing Silent Night,
there is a little Bordeaux left and a couple more ornaments for Zach to
put on the tree. Right now, this
is more important. It is the heart of Sabbath. The music washes over
me. And, at least for the moment, I don't give any thought to Uncle
I want to know if joy, curiosity, struggle, and compassion
bubble up in a person's life. I'm interested in being fully
I am an old man and have known a great many troubles,
but most of them never happened. Mark Twain
Why I am Happy
come, an easy time. I let it
roll. There is a lake somewhere
so blue and far nobody owns it.
A wind comes by and a willow listens
I hear all this, every summer. I laugh
and cry for every turn of the world,
its terribly cold, innocent spin.
That lake stays blue and free; it goes
on and on.
And I know where it is. William
Help us to do our very best this day
and be content with today's troubles
so that we shall not borrow the troubles of tomorrow.
Save us from the sin of worrying,
lest stomach ulcers be the badge of our lack of faith. Amen. Peter
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