". . . little shall I grace my cause

In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,

I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver . . ."

(William Shakespeare's Othello, I.iii.88-90)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

A New Beginning

Have you ever had the experience of being really ill, so ill that you didn't realize how bad off you were until you finally started feeling normal? Then because "normal" felt so darned good, you started thinking you were Superman (or woman), able to immediately return to full strength, scaling this mountain, traversing that plain, and plumbing the depths of the sea?

You may have then realized that no, you weren't back to "normal" yet--you were just emerging from the ruins, and it might have been wise to take a little time to finish climbing out before you started trying to rebuild.

This is kind of how I have been feeling of late. For some reason Revelation 7:14 comes to mind.

As I think back over the last couple of years I have to shake my head in disbelief. I would prefer not to rehash all that has transpired, much of it being rather personal in nature, but it has been an epic installment in our family chronicle, a conflation of many diffuse squalls into a perfect hurricane of a storm, and I think we are all a bit scarred from the experience. But I also have the sense that maybe, just maybe, the storm is finally abating. Shall we aphorize? Yes, let's. It's time to turn over a new leaf, find an open window, look for the rainbow after the storm, get a new lease (NOT leash!) on life, take stock, and plant some seeds.

So that is what I have been trying to do the last few weeks. I recently concluded a one-year contract working as a part-time staff accompanist at a local high school. On an almost daily basis for this last academic year, I have started my days by driving a half hour to school, working several hours, and driving a half hour back. What this meant, of course, was that the things I used to do in those 3-4 morning hours now had to get done by someone else, or at some other time, or perhaps not at all. Certain things, like laundry and dishes, give no quarter and will always get done, if not in the morning (which was my wont), well then, at some other time. Other things are easier to push aside (a fact which reflects not at all on the importance of those things but rather on the sinner's capacity for abrogating that which should be most valued). And one of the easiest things to push aside is personal care, both of the body and of the mind. So sleep suffers, diet suffers, exercise suffers, the pursuit of thing intellectual and artistic suffers, and personal devotion and prayer suffers. Relationships also suffer, because the exhausted (drained, used up, depleted, emptied) person is not effective at either listening or communicating and, himself in survival mode, has less to give to others.

I'm tired of merely surviving, of getting through the day in one piece. I want to thrive again.

Maybe it's too much to hope for. Shall we deliver another aphorism? Why not? Life this side of heaven is no bed of roses. But a rose here and there can go a long way toward making a lumpy bed more tolerable.

So the girl who couldn't bear to think of New Year's resolutions in January is ready to make some summer resolutions now. I have my mornings back, and here's what I plan to do with them:

1) Pray. First thing.
2) Read the Bible.
3) Read something else for my own edification--in a book, NOT online. (That is not to say that I'm swearing off online reading. But my written word consumption has been out of balance for too long, and I need to address that, for my own sake.)
3) Exercise.
4) Do some intentional rather than path-of-least-resistance meal planning (I'm talking with cookbooks and everything!).
5) Do at least one thing (besides the usual cleaning and maintenance) that contributes to the beauty and comfort of the home.
6) Work on my piano technique (i.e., play some scales).

That's it. I'm keeping it simple. But these are some areas of my life that I feel I have sorely neglected this past year (and beyond), and if I can succeed in putting them back into perspective I think a lot of other things will follow.

Here's to good health!

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