Monday, October 1, 2012


Sheep at Fionnphort, Isle of Mull
This term is extraordinarily busy for us.  I am a full-time doctoral student taking classes in the Theatre Department (which is streeeeeeee-tching because I don't have a lot of background in this). In addition, I am a teaching assistant and an administrator, give regular talks at our faith community, and in the next few weeks have two major funding applications and a book review due (I still have to finish the book).  Dean is enrolled in a mini-MBA program this fall and that means he spends a lot of evening and a few weekends in class besides working his normal, demanding job.  Plus, he takes dance lessons one night a week, leads worship every Sunday in our church gatherings, and takes me out on a date night once a week (yes!).

Like the old adage states: when it rains, it pours.  So when I see the clouds of life being whipped into a frenzy on the horizon, I get dressed for wet and carry a big umbrella.  These days I freak out less when the stuff of life clumps together.  When the windfall of bills comes our way every fall, I take a deep breath and get out my cheque-book.  When we have a succession of house guests, I rearrange my schedule to get most of my work done ahead of time and move my office to the dining room.  A jam-packed term means I map out my calendar to make sure all my readings and assignments are on track.  Spare time is crammed full of extras like book reviews, writing applications, editing, preparing talks, making bread, watching the occasional movie, and sleeping.

And though all of these are helpful tools to manage a busy schedule and get through times of crazy, busy madness with my sanity mostly intact, it is not enough.  I still get overwhelmed, feel that old familiar knot in my back and stiffness in my neck, get paralyzed when faced with a writing assignment, suffer from indecisiveness, and get stuck.  But hey - there's an app for this!  It is called unstuck.  The home screen of unstuck asks you to identify how you are feeling in your "stuck" moment:  afraid, aimless, conflicted, hazy, hesitant, high and dry, indecisive, overwhelmed, lost, paralyzed, stumped, tired, undisciplined, uninformed, uninspired, unprepared, unmotivated, up in the air?  Yes, all of the above, I want to say.  Sadly, I don't have time to download and use the app because I have this blog to finish, laundry is waiting, I have an appointment in a few minutes, and I haven't even started on the three projects I have on my list today.

No doubt there are some good suggestions for working through stuck-ness in this app.  I do want to be unstuck. I do want to get through this whirlwind of the next few months. I do want to complete every task on time and with excellence. I do want to spend time loving and laughing with Dean in the midst of it. I do want to be able to give meaningful attention to those in my faith community. I want to sit in God's presence and not be thinking of everything else that needs my attention.  But I don't.  I fret too much, spin my wheels on occasion, complain more that I need to, and on really bad days, find myself wanting to give up.  At times like that, neither the unstuck app or my clever  scheduling skills can bring any lasting peace to my soul.  There is only one way to get that.

God, you are my guide, my protector, the one who leads me safely from place to place, making sure I have enough to eat and a safe place to sleep.  I will follow your lead.  I am satisfied, deep down inside.  You invite my mind to stop all its busy work and worrying and urge me to lie down on the grass and take a moment to look at the blue sky on a sunny day.  You let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction.  Even when things are going terribly wrong, I don't have to worry about it or be afraid.  "Come sit with me," you say, "Come walk beside me and I will show you a way through it.  Ask me.  I can help."  I don't have to worry about any obstacles, human or otherwise, past, present, or future.  You never do.  There is a rich feast of goodness and mercy in every situation because you placed it there like a gift, and you wait for me to unwrap it.  Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life.  I don't know why I run from them when I could just go home, to your house, God, and stay awhile in my favourite, secret, safe place.  - adapted from Psalm 23.  The sentences in italics are quotes from The Message.

Matte from Montreal

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