The week I’m recounting is one I don’t have much memory of, because it was in large part an autopilot kind of week. It was a week where things need to get done, and you have to do them, and you focus on taking care of those things, hoping you are building something up that spreads that burden out, leaving you less autopilot days down the road.
The weather was nice, if I remember it right. We’re getting into full-fledged Oregon Coast summer days. Highs in the 70s. Sun with a few clouds and a breeze. Weather you dream about no matter where you live. We had a few days with rain and clouds, but just a drizzle. That’s how I remember it, anyway.
In a time of transition when you’re adding responsibilities, doing new things that aren’t comfortable, you feel a little more on edge. You’re a little less able to roll with punches and unexpected happenings. But those punches come more frequently in times like these naturally. You plan to finally take care of that office work you’re just learning how to do, then the light repairman shows up, and you can’t really tell him to come back later, because you’ve needed this for 6 months. Then something breaks that only you know how to fix. Then someone needs your advice, and you want to give out more than anything you’ve wanted all day. You need to eat too. You need to get that in the mail before the mail runs. The bank closes at 5pm, which means 4:45pm. Think about all this too much. You’ll get where you can’t decide what to do next, cause you feel like you need to do it all at once.
I’ve heard this example that our bodies are built to help save us from wild animals. You’re walking through the woods and come up on a grizzly bear, and your blood starts pumping faster, your adrenaline flows, you get in this mode where you can run like you normally can’t. You can stay awake in ways you normally can’t. You get stressed and you get super human. In a world where you don’t come across grizzly bears every day, your body finds other things it interprets as life threatening stresses. The thing is that a missed deadline isn’t going to eat my arm, but we want to make our bodies think that. So, if I’m always worried about my missed deadline, my body is always acting like it’s running from a grizzly bear, which is not something you want your body to be thinking for long, sustained periods of time.
I’m working hard these days, losing sleep, doing what’s gotta be done. Camp still seems like camp. I’m proud of my people. I’m trying to do them honor, be the leader they need right now. I’m also trying not to feel sorry for myself because I’m tired, because I’m working hard. It’s easy to do that. You know this. I bet you could catch yourself on any day being tempted to feel pity over something you’ve gotten yourself into. I’m trying to remember some things I should say to myself every day:
- I’ve never had a day I didn’t have enough to eat
- I’ve never been shot at
- I’ve still got my mom and dad, and they are still together
- No one abused me
- I found the wife I hoped for my whole life
- I got friends who have my back at any moment
- There’s always been some roof I could sleep under
- I’ve been forgiven more than I’ve been begrudged
Plus, I don’t want to get stuck in the mud of self-pity. It’s a road that leads to dissatisfaction and entitlement. I hope for myself that I keep pushing towards thingsI’m in love with, things I’m curious about. I don’t want to stop paying attention, being amazed by stuff, swimming in stuff, sitting on the perch soaking in the stuff. To realize nothing has been promised to me, I’m not owed anything, but also that I don’t need all that much. To remember that I don’t need that much. I don’t need that much. Don’t need that much.
But what I do need, I should remember that I need it.
The tired is starting to show here and there, and people are so kind. At the end of a worship, Ben came up to me and said, “Troy, you look so sad, let me give you a hug.” I think it was probably more the lighting and the bags under my eyes that have always been there, but I honestly don’t know what I was looking like or what kind of vibe I was putting off. I don’t want to put this off on other people.
In the worship we were asked to write something we are worried about that we would put in the fire. Then we were asked to write something we hope for this week on a strip of cloth and tie it around our wrist. I couldn’t think of anything literal that seemed to sum up what I felt like I was hoping for, so I wrote, “Fire & Light.” I think about this day in late May when I went out to the beach with Digby and built a fire as the sun was sitting. I dragged up a piece of driftwood and leaned against it as it got dark. I want something simple and warm. Something powerful, something that can be fed and grow, something instantly recognizable, something that will show the way, something that will keep us from shivering in the cold, uncertain night.