There it is in black and white: my formula for how I got through January 2017. Most Januarys are a little blue for me; February being even bluer, but my heart has been especially heavy this time around.
At the risk of getting too personal, I feel really weighed down. When I read the news, a daily habit, it’s exhausting, mentally and emotionally. There is too much to read – I heard Robin Young from Here and Now on NPR call it, “a firehose of news.” And what there is to read is crazy. Crazy.
Our polarity in this country has broken my heart. We use our social media platforms like weapons, arrows darting across the ether at people we in real life care about, or used to, anyway. It seems to me an age of incivility.
Most days I pray in order to connect with my source and to quiet the abundant noise around me. Usually I pray before I write. I never post without praying first. Running fits in depending on the weather, but I’m sure it is the reason I’m not taking an anti-depressant! I’ve been a runner for years, but a mediocre one at that. Now I run like I’m being chased by an angry mob, unintentionally improving my speed and running longer and longer distances because it feels so good to release these toxins.
I’ll leave you with a Cherokee parable I first heard a few years ago in The Servant Leadership School at Holy Trinity. It’s attributed to the Cherokee, and there are variations of it on the web. There’s wisdom in it; far more wisdom than I have in me.
The Wolves Within
An old grandfather said to his grandson, who came to him with anger at a friend who had done him an injustice, “Let me tell you a story.
I, too, at times, have felt a great hate for those who have taken so much, with no sorrow for what they do.
But hate wears you down, and does not hurt your enemy. It is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die. I have struggled with these feelings many times.” He continued, “It is as if there are two wolves inside me. One is good and does no harm. He lives in harmony with all around him, and does not take offense when no offense was intended. He will only fight when it is right to do so, and in the right way.
But the other wolf, ah! He is full of anger. The littlest thing will set him into a fit of temper. He fights everyone, all the time, for no reason. He cannot think because his anger and hate are so great. It is helpless anger, for his anger will change nothing.
Sometimes, it is hard to live with these two wolves inside me, for both of them try to dominate my spirit.”
The boy looked intently into his grandfather’s eyes and asked, “Which one wins, Grandfather?”
The grandfather smiled and quietly said, “The one I feed.”