A Different Story (from the ones you’ve probably heard)

I love spending time with people who travel the world–or people who come from other places and have traveled to the U.S. where, happily, our paths have crossed and ended  in a meal or a long cup of coffee.  Hearing their stories, flipping through their pictures, and comparing notes of my own travels, enlarges my view of the world and helps me gain perspective.

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Specifically, talking to people who go other places reminds me that the world is enormous and that there are a billion, ordinary, life-changing events unfolding on every continent everyday, even as I brush my teeth in the morning.  I may not know what each one is, but being aware that I am small in this vast universe, that my joys and sorrows are coinciding with myriad others across the globe, helps me to disengage from my toxic tendency to navel-gaze.

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And it helps me to reject the ubiquitous, Hunger Games media frenzy in our culture.

Because, again, my traveling friends remind me that many important things are happening all the time, and no one is reporting them.

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It’s life-affirming to remember this.

Just because the Internet screams at me, demanding that I watch the dickie-bird and react, doesn’t mean that it’s telling me the truth.  By that, I mean, the whole truth, the larger truth of life.

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My friends remind me, and I feel relief.

I think to myself, I am small, thank God, and there’s more to this story of the world.

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Big Rocks

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What matters to you?  For me, the answer is simple:  other than my relationship with God, my family matters most to me.  To get more specific, how I guide my kids through the gauntlet of child-and-teenhood is of utmost importance to me during these brief years.  And that sounds great, right?  Many of us might say the same.  But the thing is, I get so distracted by all the good/interesting/fun/educational/creative/ministerial things I could be doing that I forget to keep my priorities straight.  Like the raccoon who can’t extricate his arm from a trap because he’s clinging to the shiny bit of tinfoil, I can hang on to activities or ideas I think are good even when they’re causing me to neglect the “main things” in my life.  A wise woman, teacher, and author, Sally Clarkson writes about the temptation for moms to get distracted by all sorts of things and forget to mother according to their most cherished ideals.  She reminds us that we only have a few big rocks (main things) we need to fit into the jars of our lives, but many little ones (everything else).  If we put the little rocks in first, you guessed it, there’s no longer room for the big rocks.  I don’t know what your big rocks are, or even if you’re a mother with kids in the home.  But I’d like to encourage you (and myself) that whatever matters most to you, whatever you know-as-you-know should be a the top of your life list, focus on that.  Give it priority, keep it out in front of you.  Don’t get distracted.  In the end, I think we’ll all be glad we kept the main things the main thing.