This is one of those weeks that, in my 20s, I would have assumed was the absolute end of the world. Armageddon, and the end of days for sure. In my 30s, I would have panicked and believed heart and soul that things could just never be the same and that all good and sun and hope was gone from the planet. I this like being 41 thing. At 40 you can start to see the mudslides and avalanches of crazy things happening all over your life's landscape and think, "oh, there goes the mud again, guess we'll be digging out."
Not that it's not hard, and not that having chaos and hostility and insane numbers of things that are on the "triage" list isn't something I'd rather avoid. Of course I'd like time to relax and play music and think and read. But I know now, this will pass, things will settle down. My children probably will turn out to be good men and not serial killers, probably anyway. And eventually the perpetual stack of things "to-be-organized" will, you know, get organized. Or it will get dumped in a box and shoved in the garage anyway. My husband will not always work 1,500 miles and three time zones away from home. Things will be better. I know they will.
I'm stealing a phrase I've picked up from my friends and colleagues and my friend-colleagues who have been lucky enough to go to seminary to name this awareness. "Non-Anxious Presence." I think we can all steal it. I know it's really a kind of mindfulness, holding the spark of the holy in your mind and in your soul but more importantly in your gut and on the tips of your fingers. And while they talk about holding a non-anxious presence in a congregation during a tough meeting or in a hospital room when things are scary, I'm holding this for myself. MY scattery-scared-simpering-self. Because if I can't hold this for myself, how can I hold it for parents of a new born, or a 14-year-old emerging into adulthood, or for church leaders wrestling with a gangly budget? I may not have time for good, solid self care, but this? This I can do.
My hero "HAPPY Cindy Changes the World" said this all in a way that makes sense to me this morning, bless her hard-workin'-soul. This is important work, and what sometimes feels like the "busy-work" of the job isn't. It isn't at all. It's absolutely as important to sweep and mop and organize shelves of Spirit Play stories as it is to offer a sympathetic ear to a family in crisis. It is as important to say no as it is to say yes, sometimes anyway. It is good, good work that does make a difference. And flaking out is simply not an option. So, I'm sitting with myself while I work today, being a non-anxious presence. Keeping it in perspective.
This-- this whole deal. This whole crazy wonderful thing of a life is good stuff, mister.
And oh man, I can't wait to be 50.