Because we all need six weeks off…

Posted by on Dec 11, 2022 in Blog | 7 comments

yellow die cast miniature van on brown sand

A good friend was chatting about his recent visit to the dentist. As his mouth was trapped in a permanently open gape the dentist was doing all the talking, and was running through the woes of the world. He kept going for a long time and then concluded, “with all that has been going on, I think everyone needs six weeks off.” It’s a rather appealing idea that… the whole world taking six weeks off.

It made me reflect on a recent walk Rosemary and I had been taking on the shared cyclist-pedestrian footpath. It was a sunny day and keeping to the left as we were supposed to meant we couldn’t access the shade on the right hand side of the path. Given there was no one else on it, we hopped sides. All went well until we saw a cyclist approaching and so moved back to the left hand side well before he was upon us. Our law abiding instinct was not appreciated and for reasons best know to himself the cyclist started yelling at us: “Unbelievable. Some people are so selfish.” He kept glaring back at us as he shot along his shady side of the track. I suspect he would have reported us to the police if we had dared put a foot on that side again.

How do you respond when something like that happens to you?

My instinct is to move into defensive mode. “Seriously. Like we did nothing wrong – moved back onto our side immediately and well before he was upon us. Some people are so uptight!” But for once I didn’t, simply thinking, “Gosh, that was a pretty extreme response for something so minor. I wonder what is going on for him. Hope he is ok.”

And then I thought a little more deeply. People are pretty uptight at the moment. Good humour is hard to find. The smiles I try to remember to give when out walking are returned less often than they used to be. People seem worried and concerned.

It’s easy to see why. Covid; soaring interest rates (and pity those who only just qualified for a mortgage when rates were low and have now had their obligatory repayments double); horrible flights if you get to fly; the war in Ukraine; ill tempered public debate about everything; a culture where we are quick to blame but slow to assume responsibility; inflation; gaps on grocery shelves (there are just so many dodgy brands of tea I can tolerate); yet another round of Covid; endless conspiracy theories; nothing seeming to be the way it used to be…

Yup – there have been a fair few stressors out there, and let’s remember, stress is cumulative. When levels are really high it only takes one tiny extra stressor (like someone on my side of the path) to spiral out of control as a result of all the other things which are just below the surface. And so we land up with our very bad tempered and ill-behaved world.

Can anything be done about it?

Well, if you can take six weeks off, why not? There’s nothing like rest and a reset to help restore perspective and good will. And if you have a reasonable amount left in your tank, why not use it on behalf of others who don’t? So when you see someone behaving poorly, why not give them the benefit of the doubt and be a little gentler in your response.

Of course, you could be feeling pretty drained yourself. It could be you who now faces an unpayable mortgage. Perhaps you’ve left someone mystified at why you exploded so strongly at them. Why not be kind to yourself? Instead of an “I stuffed up there again. I’m really pathetic!” why not a curious, “So what’s going on here, and how can I help me to be a better version of myself. And if I can’t – well, I guess that’s what God’s grace is about. And how about I remember that I am still a child of God even if I seem to be wearing a disguise at present.”

Matt 11:28 is a beautiful invitation from Jesus: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.┬áTake my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Even if you can’t take six weeks off, why not take a few moments to come to Jesus and to explode or complain or weep or sigh. And as you sit at the feet of the One who truly understands, may you find rest for your soul…

As always, nice chatting….

Photo by Nubia Navarro (nubikini) on Pexels.com

Feel free to repost with acknowledgment or to forward to any who might find this helpful.

7 Comments

  1. stress might be cumulative but joy is contagious. ?

  2. stress might be cumulative but joy is always contagious

  3. Good word for the moment Brian, the phrasethat has come out of Covid and seems to be applied to life in general “It is what it is” seems to be the go to phrase as people struggle to maintain stability in a totally unstable world. For me, I’m so glad God has our outcome in His hand. He knows the beginning to the end, I have to keep my hand firmly in His.
    Thanks again for a in time message.

    • Thanks Deb. Holding on to His hand (knowing that it is also holding on to us) is liberating.

  4. Very helpful article, and I appreciated the perspective on why there might be so many societal struggles at current.

    • Thanks John. There are indeed more than a fair few struggles out there at present.

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