Thursday, March 12, 2009

When Your Flame Flickers, Quit Moving so Quickly

Last night, we did a midweek labyrinth walk again. It's strange with the time change. Last week it was so dark. Last night, we walked in the blaze of sunset.

Again, we walked with candles in tall jars that we carried. It wasn't quite as breezy as last week, but my flame still flickered. I quickly noticed that if I slowed down or stopped for a minute, my flame blazed again.

I couldn't help but think about the implications for my daily life, where I am not feeling like the brightest flame lately. If I am the light of the world, as Jesus tells us, the world might be in trouble. My typical response to feeling my light flicker is to try to do more, be more efficient, move more quickly through my day. No wonder I feel frazzled.

What would happen if we all did more to protect our flickering flames? What would happen if we slowed down? I often assume the world will fall apart if I take some time for myself.

Of course, in these times of economic downturn, many of us are facing more pressures. Those of us who get to keep our jobs often find ourselves expected to do not only our work, but also the work of our laid off colleagues. And it's not a good time to look expendable. Those of us thrown out of work may feel that job hunting takes more time than our jobs did.

Still, we need to build some times of stillness into our days. If we just turn off the volume of our computers, we won't get pings whenever anyone sends us an e-mail; I know I'm not the only one who feels that I must drop everything and check my e-mail when I hear that ping. Maybe instead of having news on as our background noise, we could have some soothing or inspiring music. The world can spare us for the amount of time it takes to pray the Hours. We could find a yoga class--surely we can find an hour or two in our weeks for some kind of physical discipline that helps our minds calm down. We can look at our free time and make fierce decisions.

What activities (or rest!) helps keep our flames burning brightly? What makes our flames falter?


John said...

Take heart:
Isaiah 42Here is my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen, in whom my soul delights;
I have put my spirit upon him;
he will bring forth justice to the nations.
2He will not cry or lift up his voice,
or make it heard in the street;
3a bruised reed he will not break,
and a dimly burning wick he will not quench;
he will faithfully bring forth justice.
4He will not grow faint or be crushed
until he has established justice in the earth;
and the coastlands wait for his teaching.

Kristin said...

What a great passage from Isaiah! Thanks for posting it. I have always loved the image of dimly burning wicks--so hopeful.