I love how the universe works, giving me messages in mu;triple ways, even when I’m not looking for them or don’t know where to look. I can recall at one point being so frustrated and sad, feeling insecure and not knowing what to do, which way to go. “I need a sign!” I would holler to the heavens. I remember aging to my sister over the phone about it once. She listened before replying, “Signs are everywhere. They’re all around you.” At the time I thought to myself, and perhaps rudely responded, “Yeah, yeah. Whatever.” But as I think on it now, I realize, much to my minor annoyance, that she was right. There really are signs or messages literally everywhere; I simply miss them or am sitting on top of the so I can’t see them.
Tonight as I contemplated what I might do about tonight’s post, I decided to revisit an earlier post. I asked Alexa (yes, I asked the voice inside my Echo Dot) to give me a random number between 1 and 120. She landed on 67, which I translated into Day 27 of my second blog, “The Next Forty Days.” In re-reading it before preparing to post it, I found that the message, written in March 2016, was very resonant with where I am two years later. It’s nice to revisit a post and find the message I needed to see this evening.
That’s the beauty of staying open to possibilities. It’s another important consideration on the journey of these forty days. It is my hope that you find resonance in the message.
The Next Forty Days, Day 27–Keep On Moving
Every weekday morning I trudge up the four flights of stairs to the office. It is 11 steps to each landing, so I walk up 66 steps, plus take two to three steps on the landings. At the top of the stairs I have walked approximately 76 steps. I often stand there for a few extra seconds, panting, before I gather myself and head into my office. Sometimes you simply have to keep your feet moving.
I go through this a lot. Some mornings I groan as I drag myself downstairs to ride my exercise bike. My mind is howling in protest over not wanting to get on it, each step I take drags me toward and then up onto it. I start pedaling telling myself I’m not going to make it to the 22 minutes I devote to this particular activity. But a degree of stubbornness kicks in and I push myself past my protest and on to completing the goal at hand. These days I spend a lot of time pushing through. “You’re not going to make it, you’re not going to make it,” my internal naysayer harasses me. “Oh yes I am, yes I am,” my stubborn, persistent self snarls back, pushing myself, willing myself to keep moving. More often than not I do make it, achieve the goal, whatever it is.
I have moments when I simply don’t think I can keep moving. I get overly exhausted, overwhelmed by all the things I have t do, and determine that I can’t do another thing. And then, I do another thing. We perhaps have all done this–pushed ourselves beyond our limits, thereby creating new limits that we will subsequently push beyond. I suppose at one level it is how we all live and grow and get stronger. I think though, there comes a time for rest.
The exercise of these 40 days is in part about reflection, sacrifice and remembrance of the suffering Jesus faced as he walked the world. It is also about rest, about listening to your body as it tells you what you need. I have been ignoring mine, and I do so to my detriment. So I have determined that I will begin to take some intentional steps toward my own wellbeing and peace.
The process of persevering is in some ways quite simple–you keep moving, putting one foot in front of the other, sometimes literally (like when I take the four flights of stairs at work) as well as figuratively. But it is also about knowing when to pull back, take the elevator, give yourself a break. Jesus did this from time to time. The gospel writers say that periodically, Jesus would withdraw from the crowds and go to s quite place to rejuvenate himself. I definitely need to take a page from Jesus’s play book and learn to withdraw myself to find quiet and rest. Soon.