“Humility, like darkness, reveals the heavenly lights.” -Henry David Thoreau
When I was in high school, we did a section on Thoreau and Emerson. I found nothing to like about them, and in my reflection, slammed them quite a bit, calling them self-centered and self-important. I still have very little use for them, but I have come to appreciate what they were doing a little bit more than I did then. I have also come to realize that it was maybe not the place of a junior in high school to determine whether Thoreau and Emerson were as great as they thought they were. Or whether they were great at all. Students like me are the reason I am glad I don’t teach high school English. I doubt my work was revealing any heavenly lights.
I ran across this quote over my winter break, which seemed convenient since the new year is always a good time to think about where changes need to be made. The past few weeks, as 2009 was winding down, one thing that I began to realize is that, in the busyness of life, I have let too many things slide, especially when it comes to relationships. It is difficult for me to balance working full-time with much of anything else, and I have had quite a lot else going on. When I come home from work, I really just want to put on my pajamas and relax. I do not want to leave my house. I do not want to pick up the phone. I do not even really want to get on email. The Bible is very clear on the idea that we need people. I am less clear on how to make that happen when life is wearing me out. I am lucky that I have such good, patient friends and family, because they have put up with a lot.
I don’t really do resolutions, but I enjoyed this post by Don Miller in which he talked about living a good story. I haven’t read his latest book, but I love the idea of giving your goals a narrative context so that you know the kind of story you want your life to tell. I want my life to tell a story of rich relationships, of people I trust and can turn to. This year, with the extra time on my hands, I want to invest in the people around me. I want them to be more a part of the story of my life.
In order for that to happen, it’s not enough to write a blog post about feelings and motivation. It takes time and effort and some of that aforementioned humility to go with hat in hand and apologize for being unavailable, for being unable to prioritize. I have more respect for Mr. Thoreau than I used to. I hope he’s right about those heavenly lights.
Don’t forget to enter to win a mix CD if you haven’t already done so! If you need more examples of my mix CDs to entice you, here’s one I made for Alisa and here’s one I made for a CD swap. Oh, and here’s the left-handed mix I made last year.