Life is a Verb Thursday is a summertime meme that I have decided to follow as a result of reading the book by Patti Digh. I found that book to have so many profound statements of how to live – that I have decided to meditate on one statement each week during my three months of summer vacation.
Last week’s meditation caused us to ponder what are our TRUE goals….to fit into the pair of jeans of our youth, or to recapture the lifestyle that those jeans represent? I think for me the issue is not to recapture my past, but rather to seek a realistic future. I have always tried to live my life without regrets, and for the most part, I can look back over the past 50 years and say that I made the best decisions I could with the information I had at the time. Hindsight is always 20/20, but I cannot look back at the past with the knowledge I have today; that is not fair. I can, however, look at the future with the knowledge I have today and attempt to make wise choices.
I think for me it is not my old pair of jeans that I try to wear again, but it is someone else’s jeans that I want to fit. I need to learn to be satisfied with ME – to not compare myself with others for I will always find those who are better. I need to accept who I am; discover my God-given strengths and talents and learn to develop them; learn to become the best me I can, and know that there is purpose for my life.
This week’s devotion is something that has been in the back of my mind since summer began: selfishness. What is it, really? Is it ever ok to think of yourself first?
Again, a bit of back story. This segment began by a retelling of the canned speech flight attendants give before take-off. You know the one….in case of an emergency, the oxygen mask will drop from the ceiling. If you are traveling with a young child, please make sure to cover your face first, then take care of the younger passengers.
We don’t put ourselves first for fear of being called selfish. Not to our face, of course, but in those quiet moments when people make infallible pronouncements about others, the kind that allow for now ambiguity….Sometimes I wonder if taking care of others – saving others – isn’t simply a diversion from saving ourselves. If I focus on you, I don’t have to focus on myself. And maybe saving others deprives them of their own agency….Nurturing my own self first in order to be better able to help others – what would this look like? (page 119 in the Intimacy section)
For those of you who have been following my blog lately, you know that I have been taking care of my mother for the past two weeks. While this did not come as a surprise, it was not a welcomed interruption to my summer vacation. I was hoping to be a little selfish this summer; after all, my youngest is now a senior in high school and very independent; I was not going to be involved in academic pursuits; I did not have a summer job. This was going to be the first summer off in five years. The above quote is one that is quite timely for me this week. I hope that you can related to it on some level as well.