Ever feel like you’ve “lost the plot”? You’re reading a novel and can’t quite figure out who is who, or you tuned out during a film and now it doesn’t seem to make sense anymore. Your life is busy, busy, yet sometimes you’re no longer sure who you are or where you’re headed.
Come to Me when you are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest and teach you how to be meek, like I am.1 The meekness I’m referring to is really strength, but it is manifested with gentleness and kindness. It doesn’t need to assert itself or boast, because it knows its strength.
As the car kept winding up, up, up, I couldn't help but wonder if our friend's house had been built on the very top of the mountain. Darkness had fallen by the time my sister, two friends, and I got to our destination, but even at night the mountains seemed alive.
Our friend led us up a flight of dark and wobbly steps to the balcony, where we gasped at the panorama. Before us was the most beautiful view of the city of Iskenderun, Turkey, far below. Twinkling lights of all colors lined the Mediterranean, as though an angel had scooped up a ladle of stars and flung them across the darkness.
Last winter I took a five-week trip to fundraise for a humanitarian aid project I'm involved with. My plan was ambitious—possibly overly so. Long, intense days for over a month straight took a toll on my spiritual life and general disposition.
One day, as I was taking my lunch break and walking around the large mall where I was manning a collection booth, the nonstop sights and sounds in this highly charged commercial setting were weighing on my spirit. I am a nature lover, and the below-zero temperatures and severe snowstorms that kept me indoors even when I got off work were another factor that made me feel trapped and miserable.
Today I went for a walk with the kids in the countryside surrounding the village in which we live, an area consisting of farmland, dirt paths, and small woods. The weather was great, so it was a good opportunity for the kids to get some fresh air and exercise as they ran around looking for the little creatures that are abundant in spring and summer.
It was an enjoyable break for me as well. Out on those country trails there are no computers, no pressing work, no chores, no meetings, no messes to clean up, and none of the myriad of other things that keep us busy most of the day.
Eiko was 31 kilos (68 pounds) that Christmas. Her skin stretched tightly across her cheekbones, and even her bulky winter clothes could not hide her extremely thin body. Only thirteen years old, she was suffering from a severe eating disorder that had begun at the age of nine. My parents and we, her siblings, hadn’t been fully aware of her struggles in the earlier stages, but now their impact was glaringly apparent.
Every morning I wake up and board an express train leaving from fast track station. As I speed along life’s rails, I stare out the window and think. Where has the time gone? How did my children manage to grow up so quickly? Now it’s happening with my grandchildren. I catch my reflection in the window and wonder where all that gray hair came from. It seems like only yesterday…
Life is full of busy moments, tasks, and responsibilities that are each connected to jobs, studies, family, friends, orhome life. The moments turn into hours, which turn into days and weeks and years. It seems there is a never-ending stream of things to take care of. Then one morning, you wake up and feel at a loss. Where are you headed? It’s hard to keep a sense of direction when your vision is blurred.
This spiritual exercise can help you regain your focus. Sit down in a quiet place and follow the story of the blind man at Bethsaida:1
I can still remember the first time I discovered what a few minutes in God’s creation can do. I was in grade school and was frantically searching for a misplaced workbook that I needed for class the next day. The more I searched, the more confused and frustrated I became. I was exasperated and on the verge of tears when my mom came into the room. Seeing my dilemma, she suggested I go outside for some fresh air and sunshine. “Perhaps it will give you new energy and refresh your mind,” she said.
A 113-year-old man, when asked the secret of his longevity, replied, “When it rains, I let it.”
Stress is the trash of modern life—we all generate it but if you don’t dispose of it properly, it will pile up and overtake your life.—Terri Guillemets