Monday, September 12, 2016

Mindfulness Reminders

Yesterday was one of those days when I didn't feel as effective as I thought I would feel.  We were having a God's Work, Our Hands day at church, with several activities for church members to do: working on quilts for Lutheran World Relief, stocking the food pantry shelves, working on prayer shawls, writing notes of encouragement, and boxing up cookies for college students.

I had 2 people beside me work on the quilt.  At this rate, we will never finish a quilt. 

Actually, that's not true.  In the 2 years that I've been in charge of this process, we've finished 2.  And since we only work on them 1-3 days a year, that's not bad. 

As long as I don't compare my progress to that of churches that have lots of quilters who meet on a weekly basis to complete quilts, I'm O.K.  But yesterday, I was feeling ineffectual.

Then I came home and tried to use Skype to join a planning group that was meeting at Lutheridge (a camp that's 12 hours away) to plan the 2017 Create in Me retreat.  I was able to participate for about 5 minutes before the sound started getting wonky, and then the computer froze.  I was never able to get back on.

For about an hour after admitting defeat, I felt a strange mixture of shame and guilt.  The shame came because I couldn't get the technology to work--but why would I feel shame?  It's not my fault as far as I can tell.  I planned to participate, but then I couldn't--so why the guilt?  I couldn't participate in that way, but I hadn't completely wimped out.  I led a Facebook planning party for 8 days which generated some good ideas.  But still, I feel guilt because other volunteers are doing more. 

In the evening I watched a documentary about the Sept. 11 attack on the Pentagon--perspective restored in a strange way.  What's important is to do the best I can do each day, to remember that we really don't have very long on this planet, and to tell and show love.

September 11 is usually an odd day for me emotionally, often difficult, and yesterday was no different.  I wonder if that will change as the years go by.  April 19, with its anniversaries of Columbine and Oklahoma City, used to be similarly difficult.  This past year it slipped by almost unnoticed. 

I'm trying to use these types of anniversaries as a kind of tolling bell, a reminder to tend what is important and to let go of what is not, a reminder of mindfulness.

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