And just like that, my life is not my own. Not that it ever really was, but at least I could pretend I was in control for a while. Now that it's over, I'm back to being at the mercy of some strong force I cannot see.
What's over? Why summer, of course.
I have been out of sorts these past few days as I have checked off the checklist:
•pens, pencils, markers, tape
•open house night, meet the teacher night,
•I think I'm forgetting something....
It's not the "going back to school" part that makes me irritable. Although I do join in the litany and pray for good teachers, good friends, good health, and good teachers. It's not really about the passage of time and my babies being one step closer to leaving home. After all, letting go is part of life.
What makes me irritable, is the feeling that as summer ends, I find that I am no longer living, I am surviving.
To live means to have room to rest, play, create, travel, eat, visit, explore, read, and watch sunsets. These are the gifts of summer.
To survive is to just make it through the day, not aware that the sun neither rose, nor set, because your biggest achievement is just getting through it.
We have done this to ourselves. We have allowed the pressure cooker of school calendars, sport calendars, music calendars, and church calendars to push us to the point that we aren't really living through the day, we are just surviving it.
This mentality sets us up for failure. It turns us inward. It sets us up for feelings of inadequacy, because we can't have it all together, all of the time.
I don't even know what "it" is.
Here's what I do know.
We only get one time around in this life. We assume that we will have a good 80 to 90 years to get "it" all done. This is an arrogant assumption. We take advantage of the day, thinking that we have a lifetime to live, when really, the only day we have to live, is today.
"What would it take for you to live your life, not just survive it?"
We have become a society of people surviving, and this will kill us.
It's impossible to be a living community, when we are all trying to survive individually.
When we are surviving, the mentality is, "what's in it for me?" We treat each other as goods and services who are working for or against our personal survival. "They dropped the ball." "They didn't call." "They messed up." "They sent out the wrong information." We forget that all of us desire the same thing: to live more fully.
When we are living, the mentality shifts. We treat other people as people who have good intentions and are trying to do their best. Living requires loving. And loving always requires grace.
All of us need to know that we have value and worth and are more than just surviving. So be kind to the cashier at Target, the secretary at the junior high, the teacher nobody wants, the cook in the kitchen, the teller at the bank, remembering that we all desire to do more than survive.
Slow down. Nothing has changed. You still have 24 hours to live your day. May it be full of life.