Things Undone

The world turned black yesterday afternoon and the skies opened. Lightening, window-rattling thunder, torrential rain. Sirens began wailing between thunder claps. We’re living in a time of excess.

Everything is extreme: unrelenting storms, heat, anger and fear, tiredness, lack of money, news of accidents, to say nothing of the unrelenting and extreme tirades in political rhetoric.

In Kansas City, along with all the other extremes, a large portion of the Interstate beltway collapsed just at the point where three major roads interconnect. The 40-some thousand cars that use that stretch of six-lane road every day are reduced to one lane or alternate roadways.

Things are undone. The world isn’t ending, but things sure are shaky.

How are we to focus on rebuilding our lives when so much feels like it’s crumbling?

I’m reminded of a conversation I had with my grandson a few years ago as we were coming home from church. I’d asked him how he liked my homily and he shrugged and said it was okay. I asked, “Did you even listen.” He nodded. And then he said, “You always talk about the same thing – peace and love. I mean, that’s good, but that’s what you talk about.”

I guess I still am. Oh, I’ve extended my repertoire of peace and love to include being and breathing and forgiveness, but when you get right down to it, those last three are only extensions of the same theme. Love one another/love yourself; be at peace with one another/be at peace with yourself.

The problem, of course, is the how. How to be at peace in all the turmoil?

No doubt, many sitting in traffic, or inching along the beltway on one lane, or dealing with the stop lights and additional traffic on the alternate routes are frustrated. No doubt many last night were frustrated by the storm that hit at rush hour and added flooded roads. No doubt many became angry and tried shortcuts that ended up in accidents. Detours made in anger and impatience often don’t work out as we would like them to.

We all have to choose our own detours. And with every day, we have to choose again. We can react to these times with anger, fear, and frustration, or we can choose a slower detour.

If things are undone, they will, eventually get done. Or not. And perhaps in the “or not” lies the answer that they weren’t vital anyway. If the things are a must, then practice patience with yourself and whatever you must do. Choose a detour around the frustration and the anger.

Sometimes, peace and love, for yourself and for others, is as simple as slowing down, taking a breath, and forgiving the moment.

Now how’s that for rolling fifteen years of homilies into one short sentence!

11 thoughts on “Things Undone

  1. I read your blog and thought the old adage “Cleanliness is next to Godliness.” should be “Acceptance is next to Godliness.”

  2. Your challenge reminds me of one of my favorite platitudes, Janet:

    If I cannot affect it
    Or direct it,
    I accept it.

    So, when stuck in traffic, I like the gentle urging to roll down the windows and share a smile with fellow drivers.
    I met a lady in California who kept a bottle of bubbles in her glove box to blow bubbles in a traffic jam and watch people smile and laugh!
    Sometimes, for me, “accepting it” means recognizing this so-called delay might be an unexpected gift from God to notice the wildflowers that manage to survive in the carbon monoxide filled edges of the pavement along life’s highways.

  3. this is the big question. how to be cool when nothing around you is? my problem with the modern world is how to inspire the uninspired. of course i use humor when i can. even i who is inspired sometimes forget in the midst of road rage. if you talk to everyone you have friends everywhere you go. responding to your blog helps. today i saw a big billowy white cloud and remembered to stop. and dig it.

    1. I bet you inspire more people than you realize. That’s the thing with in-spirit gifts – they may disappear very quickly while being absorbed as a lesson for whom-we-don’t-know.

  4. Janet, talk about timing. This is exactly what I needed to read today. Thanks so much for being there.

  5. Indeed, I’ve grown weary, and groan with complaints about the storminess of our flooding lives lately, and somehow, a slow detour sounds refreshing–like permission to take the road less traveled–unless everyone else, encased in a separate vehicle, is also taking that alternate route now.

    How different would the rush hour storm be if we were all walking–or riding horses or bikes?

    During part of last evening’s storm I was in the dining room of my mom’s retirement center where there’s sometimes a bottleneck of wheel chairs and walkers at the dining room entrance–rush hour. There, at least, those involved in the congestion can chat and commiserate, unlike those of us who sit, isolated in our creeping vehicles, searching for a way through the storms and detours to dinner.

    1. I thought about you last night with the storm and thunder and noise. I like the image of sitting and talking to a neighbor as one sits out a bottleneck. That actually happened to me once on 470 when we were all trapped by a roll over. So we waved and rolled down windows and chatted some.

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