Tuesday, July 24, 2012

It's not me, it's you.

I was thinking about people and why so many of us are always stressed out. It seems to me that we look at our list of things to do and we get overwhelmed. We get upset cause others don't seem to feel any urgency for the demands on us. We think it should be obvious, but the list exists in our minds, not theirs.

Take the woman at my work who I've mentioned before. She's constantly stressed. It shows on her face. I watch her as she toils and frets as her gaze sweeps from one side of the store to the next. You can clearly see that she has taken on every task as if it's her own. She's made her list too big to manage.  The voice in her head tells her that its all fallen upon her... so she begins to micro-manage, which only adds to her troubles. She has doubled her work load as she now has to find a way to make the list of chores in her mind, the list of chores on every ones mind. But now... how to control peoples minds? It can't be done and her frustration rises.

I know that feeling. I look around my home and think that the dishes and the laundry and the trash etc. should matter to us all. How can it not? It affects us all, right? They can't really assume that I can do it all by myself while working close to 40 hours, right? They must know that leaving the lights and fans on costs our family money we don't have, right? Surely they recognize that it's impossible for one person to do the work of 5 people, right?! I don't think they do... or maybe they just don't care. Or maybe the lists in their heads don't match the list in my head. Maybe they have lists of their own and they are overwhelmed by the things that concern them most.

I see the way the woman at my work interacts with other employees. I've noticed that when she has to deal with someone who has a very laid-back personality, it sends her through the roof, she can't control their reactions and she wants to. It must be so terribly frustrating for her... this need to control and the inability to control other peoples reactions to what she considers pressing. It makes me tired just thinking about it.

So I was thinking... how do we communicate our needs to one another? How do we convey our need for help with these cranial lists, without becoming shrew-like, without becoming plowed over by our own demands? It's the same answer for many of the problems we face... by being less self involved. By discovering who the people around us are. By investigating their needs, and caring about their lists, by trying to understand what things threaten to plow them over. Is there time for this? I mean, whose arms will take care of business if our arms are holding each other up? Who will be left to focus on the details if our focus is on "the least of these"? You want my edjamacated answer? Magic. Truly it is, albeit divine magic, it's not something we mortals can explain. Math doesn't work this way. If you divide the hours of the day by the tasks at hand... there simply isn't time to make time for others is there? I've never been very good at math, but I can see the hand of God when He moves. At the end of the day, all there is, is people. Souls meant to reach their potential and when we allow imaginary to-do lists run our lives, people fall through the cracks... we fall through the cracks.

I can take out the trash, I can even ask for help and if I don't receive it, I can wait... and if I'm patient, I may actually learn something in the process. I'm learning something right now even as I write and I wait on God to teach me a new lesson, or maybe remind me of an old one. Normally, I'd look up the verse that ties all my thoughts together in a nice little bow... but today, my daughter wants to sing me a new song she just learned... I think I'll go find out what things are on her list in that pretty little head of hers.

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