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2008 March

The difference between Heaven & Hell

Over the weekend, I (mostly) recovered from another bout of overwhelm. Sometimes I feel like a ping-pong ball, bouncing from too-much to not-enough. Whether its work, social engagements, or connecting with family, feast or famine seems to be the rule. Can you relate?

Faced with the prospect of another very busy week, as I wrote in my journal on Saturday, I found myself wondering “what makes it worth it?” What makes keeping my “skin in the game” worthwhile, through the overwhelm? The answer, I think, is each other.

I remembered a parable about the difference between Heaven and Hell. In both Heaven and Hell, people sit around a huge table laden with the most delicious food and drink imaginable. In both places, no-one has elbows. In Hell, people sit at the table, weak with hunger, unable to eat because they can’t bring food their mouths. In Heaven, people feed each other, reaching across the table with their long arms.

Then last night I had the good fortune to be attend the lovely Janet Boguch’s birthday party. She treated her friends to a yoga class, during which the instructor read a Rumi poem. The essence of the poem was that reeds and rushes, by themselves, can get blown away by the wind. But woven together can make a lovely basket that can keep food dry and even shelter a baby.

So this week, if (really, when) I find myself feeling like that ping pong ball again, I’ll remember – I’m one reed among many, woven into a fine basket. I’ll visualize putting my tired little ping pong ball in that basket. Sometimes mixing metaphors is a good thing. πŸ™‚

Do you have a stroller?

Some close friends recently had a second child. Their first, the lovely and rather precocious Clara Jill–yes, named after me πŸ™‚ –is six and a half, and was somewhat apprehensive about the arrival of competition.

When I went over to their home for the first time after little August came home, Clara was ensconced in her baby brother’s stroller and had pulled several of his blankets over her head. She was making baby noises and didn’t want to come out even for home-made macaroni and cheese, normally her favorite. Her exhausted parents smiled indulgently and whispered that Clara had “regressed” a little bit lately.

Regression or not, I found myself thinking what a rational response Clara was having to this new challenge, and it made me wonder, don’t we all need a stroller sometimes?

On better days, I think my stroller is petting or playing with my dog. On not so good days, my stroller is more likely to be getting cranky or eating too much chocolate.

Do you let yourself have a stroller? If so, when do you let yourself crawl into it? What does it look like, feel like? Does it help you cope with overwhelm? I think the ideal stroller does not come with side effects, or produce a hangover. What about yours?