Monday, January 17, 2011

Pull the Ripcord

Do you ever get into one of those moods where you find yourself escaping but you don't really know what you're escaping from or to?  I do sometimes and find it's a strange place to wander; it's quite unnerving.

It's not always a bad place to be, but it might not always be productive either, and I think being productive is very essential to life.  This past summer I went with our youth group to the Forward Conference and their motto was "Life was meant to be lived in one direction - forward."  I whole-heartily believe that.  That's why being in this 'esape' mode baffles me.

What do I mean by escape mode?  It's like waiting for an important letter to arrive in the mail, or a more modernized version, waiting on someone to reply to a post, tweet or email you've sent.  To keep your mind off the waiting, you 'escape' into a either a good book, a good movie, a good distraction.   I love my escapes, and often have some of the best times in them.  However, while I'm having a great adventure in my wonderland, the world continues to move around me, but I'm at a physical, emotional and spiritual stand still. 

What's wrong with that?  Nothing, in and of itself.  I actually think everyone should take a few escapes from time to time, and allow themselves to detox from the world of our labors.  Everything is a labor.  Our jobs, our families, our careers, our hobbies and our passions.  All of it takes a part of our soul, our energy our very being in order to 'work' with each one of them.  I'm sure you've heard the phrase, "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy."  That's so true, but it's more like Jack's just plain ole' wore out if he never escapes. 

Being in escape mode is like sky diving (like I'd know the first thing about sky diving having never been).  You're exhilarated by the rush of complete freedom, but you can't stay there forever.  Your body is still falling toward the ground and eventually you'll have to pull the chord or you won't be sky diving any longer, you'll be splattered all over the cold hard earth. 

What I"m trying to zero in on... is the state of free feeling.  Even though you're free, you're not in control of anything while you're falling... you're just falling.  You may manipulate moving to the right or left, slow or fast, but you can't control up or down, stop or go.  You're going to continue to fall until you reach the ground; the law of gravity dictates this.  That's what I find unnerving about 'escape' mode.  While I enjoy the thrill of whatever adventure I'm on, I'm still free-falling and I don't like the lack control it involves. 

There are things I've been waiting on for years.  I suppose this is God working on my 'patience'.  If I'm not careful, I can allow my 'wait' to push me into 'escape'.  This is not good.  Escape is not the answer.  It is during our waiting that we do the most important part of our living.  If we 'wait' to live after we receive, we'll miss our lives altogether.  The journey from one moment to the next is where living occurs.  While we may photograph or memorialize those defined 'moments', it's the journey to them that's important.  Escaping the wait, is avoiding life. 

What it boils down to is this:  Escape into brief moments along your journey, but live life in every moment, not just scheduled ones.  You'll miss it, you won't know where your chord is during your free fall and life will smack you right in the face when it's too late to save it.  

Till next time,
~T.L. Gray