In the stillness of the morning, a cup of hot tea would be my only companion. The microwave hummed as the mug of water heated, drowning out the sound of the howling wind outside. Sixty minutes were mine--almost guaranteed uninterrupted--before any other life forms in the house would rustle from their slumber. It was an opportunity to make a dent in my mile-long to-do list. But I was restless and felt a bit ungrounded. Immersing myself in work didn't feel right, so I began my day with an oft-neglected time of quiet reading and reflection. I opened an app and began to read the next entry of a series I had begun several weeks earlier. I let go of the thought that I was over a week behind on the readings and opened my mind to the words of the writer.
…The world around us blinds our eyes so that we can’t see how short our time is. We’re building elaborate castles on the deck of a sinking ship, standing back and admiring accomplishments that will soon be pulled under the icy cold swells of time...(YouVersion, author not identified)
The writer had stared into my being and gently painted a purposeful picture with words. He went on to describe how we can become slaves to almost anything in our lives. Sometimes we don't realize how confined we are because the results of our entrapment can be perceived success, nice things, or the admiration of others. The author challenged readers to entertain the idea that the true reality around us is not limited to what we can see and touch. God may be influencing our lives in ways we will never fully understand.
The writer’s words created an image in my mind I won’t soon forget. If the castle is sinking, what truly matters? Am I missing opportunities to learn, teach, or perhaps inspire others? For the remainder of the day, I considered the reality around me in a deeper way.
The first lesson came on my bike ride to work. It's unusual for weather to permit a cycling commute in an Indiana January. But today was unseasonably thawed, so I peddled away. A cold front was approaching, so I planned my to-and-from riding garb accordingly and started my half-hour jaunt. Two miles into my ride, I was somewhat cold and was questioning my decision to ride in shorts. But then, unexpectedly, a stream of much warmer, humid air blew my way and surrounded me. My body relaxed in the soothing steam-room-like surprise.
I thought: There are forces, like the wind, that we cannot see with the naked eye. These forces can comfort us when we are cold and alone. Just because we cannot see them, doesn't mean they are imaginary. The air is truly warm.
I arrived at the hospital where I work and walked down the hall towards the locker room. The pediatrics office had not yet opened and a mother and her two rambunctious preschoolers were playing in the hall as they waited for their appointment. One of the boys had a stump where there is usually an arm. He smiled just as brightly as the other boy as I passed by.
I thought: We can interpret our situations and life circumstances however we choose. Happiness is there for the taking.
I turned on the shower and it didn’t get hot. I left it on and waited. It got a little warmer but wasn’t comfortable.
I thought: I’m glad there is indoor plumbing and the water isn’t ice cold. Sometimes things aren’t ideal, be thankful they aren’t worse.
I got dressed and I realized that I had forgotten my belt.
I thought: I’m glad I remembered to bring clean underwear. I untucked my shirt just a bit and smiled as I visualized the belt I left hanging in my castle.