Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Through Days of Toil

there are times when i long to be away from my everyday life, to hop in the car and flee, to abandon the responsibilities that tie me to one place.  i don't know that that's a bad thing to do.  we become bogged down in the day-to-day routines, and pushing them aside allows us to see our lives from a different perspective.  breaking away from the norm often helps us to focus on what's important and to assess if we've allowed things that are not essential to crowd out what is truly important.

yet, one can't live a life devoid of responsibility.  getting away requires much preparation.  someone has to see that the animals are fed.  the bills have to be taken care of.  those who depend on us must be notified that we won't be available so that they can make other arrangements.

soon my wife and i will take off on a series of trips.  first, we'll go to spend some time with relatives/friends who live a couple of hundred miles from us.  after that, we'll make a trip to new york and washington.  shortly after we return from that trip, we'll make another trip of two hundred or so miles to be with family.  by the time all that is done, i'm sure we'll be longing for time back at home with the luggage stored for awhile, and i expect we will be happy to assume those cares which now weigh us down.  our time away from them may allow us to discover ways to trim down those cares and to strip away some burdens that we see are unnecessary.  that's the great reward of escaping for awhile, along with the new experiences of the journey.

still, without a deep joy in life, these escapes are nothing more than momentary distractions, pleasures that soon dissipate.  cares arise, needs must be addressed.  they are a part of life.  we cannot escape them.  we can only push them away for a short while.  if we use our time away from them to imagine that life can be carefree, we fool ourselves, imagining an unreal life that is impossible to achieve.  it is far better to employ our retreat to assess how to streamline our lives, how to sift the essential from the nonessential.  life is not what happens between the escapes from it.  the escapes must be a part of life, too, means to achieve better balance.

may we see that life flows on, sometimes in a torrent, sometimes tranquilly, but nevertheless it flows on.  may fleeting joys and cares be seen as ripples on the surface that don't disturb the deep waters of happiness.  may we take time to differentiate between the ripples and the underlying current.  shalom.

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