What do you experience when you look at this photograph? Take a moment to take in the coolness of the mountain air on your skin. The crunch of the fallen needles under your feet. The absolute stillness in the presence of the majesty of nature. The largeness of God’s creations which exist in an effortless display of beauty that can take your breath away if you allow it. Take in a deep breath of the serenity that you feel while experiencing nature’s room and just be, if only for a moment.
The best intentions are often not enough to battle the busyness of life. I like to write. I have promised myself that I would not allow my job to interfere with the pleasure of writing. Unfortunately, I have failed myself miserably in these last several weeks. When work is busy, it seems to trickle down to all other aspects of my life; staying late at the office means eating dinner at a later hour, which means doing dishes at a later hour, which means less downtime before heading off to bed, exhausted both physically and mentally. Being busy at work oftentimes means working on a Saturday, which means my Saturday chores and errands are pushed to Sunday. You get the picture.
During the past week, I have had to drive several hours a couple of days for work. Physical fatigue of driving five hours a day aside, this alone time in the car has helped to re-focus my intentions. I often begin a writing in my mind, and this week I have been able to come up with some fantastic ideas that have me really excited. I cannot wait to begin putting pen to paper, so to speak, to get this story going. It is crazy to think that this past Monday, when looking at the week ahead with disdain for the schedule confronting me, was not the beginning of a busy work week, but rather the beginning of a new burst of creativity. I am constantly fighting the busyness of life in order to realize my dreams and desires, and it’s comforting to know that the fight is not over. The important thing to realize is that no matter how many blows I take, I’ve got to keep looking for that opening that will allow me to throw a wicked right cross.
Horacio Jones wrote: “I like being alone. I have control over my own shit. Therefore, in order to win me over, your presence has to feel better than my solitude. You’re not competing with another person, you are competing with my comfort zones.”
I like being alone. Not entirely, however, for the reasons stated in the above quote. In solitude, I can spend time with God, which, I have come to realize, is THE most important, joyful, peaceful and loving time I can ever spend on this earth. In this regard, Horacio Jones got it right: “your presence has to feel better than my solitude.” If spending a night out with friends, or constantly having another person in my ‘space’ feels better to me than spending time with God, then my priorities are out of whack.
These past two weeks for me have been a tale of two extremes. Last week, I spent the week busy and hurried, in preparation for hosting a Christmas dinner for my entire family. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the purpose in the preparations. I also immensely enjoyed spending time with my family. But once it was over, I was glad to have my peace and quiet-my solitude-back.
This week of the impending New Year has swung to the opposite extreme. My son has been away snowboarding with his father, and I have had the house, and my time, completely and utterly alone. No commitments, no preparations to make, no expectations on my time. And this week has been insanely blissful. Much time has been spent in prayer and reflection on the exit of yet another year and the beginning of a new one. This week has brought unparalleled relaxation and renewal–just what the doctor, or I believe in my case, God–ordered. I have enjoyed the solitude of these days. I have enjoyed running the occasional errand, with no stress attached, and with my heart open to whatever the day may bring. I have taken drives to nowhere and discovered beautiful places in the Bay Area that I have never seen. This is the way that life should be lived. I think I may have just come up with my resolution for 2016! How wonderful!