In and around the Texas Gulf Coast town of Rockport, there are magnificent centuries-old oak trees that grow nearly horizontal to the ground.
We saw them recently, on a few days respite from life in suburban Dallas. I was astounded by these incredible examples of God’s enduring strength, these champions of change and survivors of storms
There’s a lesson here about learning to lean where I’ve previously stood flat-footed and braced against the storms of life.
You can learn to lean and not break
There are times when the winds of this world threaten to snap you into two pieces. I really don’t think I’m the only one who experiences the destructive nature of howling winds that slash at my metaphorical windows. They screech at you until, in your anguish you just know that you’ll be ripped from your moorings. Life as you know it will be finished.
Remember: those bent oak trees are still beautiful in their bentness. And you, no matter how storm-battered, are still beautiful too.
The trick to withstanding the storms of life is learning to pause, assess and respond without reacting.
How to get onPAR (Pause, Assess, Respond)
It’s okay to take deliberate steps away from crushing news. Lord, I can see how people become surly and jaded. When I’m exposed to nonstop news, including the diatribe on social media, I tend to sink into quicksand of sarcasm and criticism.
At those times when I find myself overwhelmed by life’s grittiness, I’m trying to pause (I’m not always successful!) before getting sucked into the grime.
I assess the situation. Do I need or want to play? Is there an option to walk away and not participate?
Once I determine my part, then I respond instead of reacting (the former being a proactive stance).
Here’s an example: Say there is some sort of work drama that affects my department or my piece of the work plan. I can’t walk away but I can choose to sit quietly and keep my mouth shut!
That’s only one example of two trillion.
I’m fortunate that as a contractor, I work alone in my home office. I don’t get pulled into the vortex of office life. But that doesn’t mean my world is always peaceful! Here’s what I do when faced with daily vicissitudes:
I take a break. I write. I pray. I take the dogs for a walk and I deliberately notice the stillness of the water in the lake. Peace, be still.
I breath and I bend, grateful for my flexibility.
One day at a time, I lean toward flexibility and fluidity searching for a profound sense of grace and fortitude. All will be well because all IS well.
So long as you bend but don’t break.