These are all fair questions and statements that if we are honest, we each wrestle with either on a daily basis, or throughout life. I would like to say that I have all of the answers to life, but I take the stance of Jack Palance in the movie City Slickers when Billy Crystal asks him about the secret to life. Jack Palance holds up his gloved finger and says it is that one thing. Billy Crystal asks him what that one thing is that is the secret to life, and Jack Palance says that is what you have to figure out. I love this movie because it really breaks down life for us as Americans. The cowboy represents a different by gone era, and we as City Slickers/Americans are jumbled up with life. Jack Palance goes on to say that "You City Slickers worry about a lot of "stuff" (word changed).
How true that last statement is! I find that the majority of my life was so entangled by anxiety, that I could barely breathe at times through the choking stronghold it had around my life. What if I get disabled? What if I don't have enough retirement? What if my wife leaves me? What if I don't make it to heaven? What if I lose everything and live Chris Farley style in a van down by the river? What if...What if... Well, I refuse to live my life that way anymore. Don't misunderstand a lack of worry and anxiety for a lack of vision. I very much have vision for my life, I just work daily on removing stress and anxiety out of my life. When my son David passed away in a vehicle accident 16 months ago, I realized that the things I used to get bent about in the past, just don't matter in the grand scope of things. Take a step back and evaluate what you are worrying about, and does it really matter that much.
Stress! What is it? Why does it enter into our lives and wreak havoc? It is definitely not of God, so therefore it has to be from satan. When I look back on the past 48 years of my life thus far, I am amazed at some of the stupid decisions and traps that I entered into. My kids played every sport under the sun. We even did a travelling track team for a season (granted it wasn't multi-state like a lot of them are now). I remember those evenings where my wife and I had to divide and conquer because we had three kids in three different sporting events that evening. Inevitably, fast food was in the equation. We run ourselves ragged and don't even realize it most of the time. I am all for getting kids involved in sports, I just don't think it should dominate your family time, and definitely not the weekends. We have changed as a society. There was a day not too long ago where coaches wouldn't schedule practice on Wednesday evenings because of church, and there definitely were not travelling sports teams on Sundays. I am not trying to be an old fuddy duddy, but I am just observing the degradation of family time through the years, and the rise in stress, anxiety, marital problems, high blood pressure, etc.
How do you rectify the past with the future when it comes to regrets? That is not an easy thing to change. My point being that you can't live in regrets of your past, as it will do you no good. We can't change the past for our lives. The could of, should of, would of, don't equate and wash out in the end. No, but you can change your future habits in what are priorities in your life and others going forward. I want to be a voice of change and caution to future generations. Maybe some of my readers are on the cusp of exhaustion now and in the thick of what I have just written about. There is good news for you, it is not too late to prioritize and ponder what you can remove from your life, and what needs to be added back in. If you keep eating bacon double cheeseburgers every single day, don't be surprised when you end up obese, with high cholesterol and blood pressure. It is not much different in our activities on a daily basis. When you constantly put busyness in your life that is taking away from quality family time, then don't be surprised when the anxiety, stress, and sleepless nights take hold of your life.
Rest! Whoaaa...What is that? Well, it is something we do not get enough of. In the 21st century we have been programmed to be efficient and methodical in all of our actions at all times. We have been told that we are lazy if we just take a breather and sit down (I am not talking about vegging out watching hours of sports on tv). However, rest looks different for each person. I have found that I also rest better when I exercise daily. I know that sounds counterintuitive, but in order to rest, we need exercise. Life is about a fine balance of moderation in life. Too much of one thing is not good for you, and too little of another might not be either.
I took the picture for this blog several years ago while on a business trip through Indiana. I was so enamored by the road and trees, that I stopped my car, got out, and took a picture. I knew that one day it would make a good blog picture and story, so here it is. It speaks to me that sometimes life is lonely on this journey, and that we don't know what is up ahead and around the bend. In summation, I would say that it is time for all of us to slow down and enjoy life. Rub a little nature on you. During your lunch break, get out and go to the park. Listen! You will be amazed at what nature and God speak to you. I am speaking to myself as well. Last year I had 3 owls roosting in my back trees. I would spend hours in the evening on my back deck looking at them with binoculars, and watching them fly from tree to tree. Life's Journey! Well, it is kind of hard to do life with others, when they are so busy, or you are swamped. Take time to recharge, come alongside someone, and walk this journey of life with them. Life is lonely without friendships, and they can only be made through spending quality time with others. You have got this, but you need to slow down, shed anxiety and stress, and exercise Psalm 46:10: "Be still and know that I am God!"