I've had a couple of interesting conversations lately that leave me a-thinking tonight.
One was with a super dear friend who I don't see but every few years, yet we wade through the deeps on the phone pretty regularly. We talk about the hard things in life. It is true, raw, vulnerable and totally transparent. On this last call she expressed gratitude for what we've hashed through together and guessed that she probably wasn't the only person I was hashing through things with. She was concerned about my output vs intake and whether I was taking enough interest in "self care" to make sure that my cup was full enough to keep pouring out. She asked if I slept well at night.
Last night after the call I fell asleep feeling pretty well cared for. So I think I'm ok. I'm gonna make it. In fact, I remembered that just a couple of mornings ago I was reading in the Psalms and I had a moment with God when I hit Psalm 16:5-6...
"Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance." ... and I thought about the blessings, the pleasant places and the delight that God has provided for me... the spaces He has made for me to have my cup filled to overflowing.
God has been good to me. ...even in the dark, difficult times. He has been good.
The other conversation I had was this morning, with a friend and one who I consider my philosophical sounding board. He is someone who understands the way I think and provokes and promotes deeper exploration into those thoughts. Really good stuff happens there. Anyway...today he asked me what I've been thinking about lately. I had some flippant, surface, practical answers that were quick to come out, but I knew that wasn't what he was asking about. So, I thought about the friends I've been talking and texting with and hashing through with and praying for over the past weeks... and the word that rose as the answer to his question was Peace. I've been thinking about Peace... having it, maintaining it. And the word that followed soon after was Responsibility.
Where do those things intersect and overlay?
How does one keep their peace when their own lives and the lives of those they love have challenges and difficulty and pain and conflict? It's not by "self-care" in the sense of going for a massage or pedicure, or "mental health day". I'm not knocking any of those. I enjoy them. But they aren't really effective for the long haul. Does a pedicure or massage really fill me up...fill my soul so I can be actually useful and effective in my relationship with others? They are a great escape, but don't alleviate fears or anxiety or worry... the things that keep one up at night.
I realized that our best, real, Self-Care... the stuff that can really help us to sleep well at night... the thing that keeps us from being depleted while hashing through hard things with those we love... the thing that is at the core of our personal peace is rooted in Responsibility. To be more clear, I believe that our peace can be found in knowing what is really our responsibility to deal with... Asking oneself, "What is my ability to respond in this situation?" Trying to fix things for others... or change them, or trying to make everything better for someone else... we really can't do that. It is beyond our ability of response. Realizing the limits of our response-ability is true Self-Care and is well connected to our access to peace. Those things that lay beyond our ability to respond, we can pass on to the God who is able. And then we can find rest. Peace.
Just a thought.