Saturday, March 30, 2013

...living on margin


Holy Saturday. Whatever one's beliefs, we all experience dark days of waiting, of unknowing, those personal Holy Saturdays when hope is elusive. I wrote a post (click here) called "...learning to live between "don't know" and "not yet" a while back. Here I am again. Waiting isn't my strong suit.

Recently I ran across these words from George Fooshee: "Everyone ought to live on a margin: a physical margin, a spiritual margin, a time margin and a financial margin. Living on a margin simply means allowing room for things to happen. There are really only three ways a person can arrive anyplace. He can arrive early, on time or late. I used to aim at arriving right on time, and I consistently arrived five minutes late. That's because I allowed no margin. Those precious minutes add up. Think of the cumulative effort, on health alone, of continually spending 15 minutes hurrying to be five minutes late. I swim three times a week at the YMCA to stay in shape, and I try to eat right and keep my weight down, since I want to serve the Lord and therefore don't want to die of a heart attack. But 15 minutes of hurrying three times each day for 15 years adds up to nearly six months of 24-hour days when I'm under unnecessary tension, just hurrying to be late. And tension is a leading cause of heart attacks."

Thank you, Mr. Fooshee, wherever you are. Good words. Aiming for margin in every aspect of life is the key. Because the day will come when an unexpected financial loss will occur. Or when work doesn't equal available time. When an illness comes from nowhere and takes over. When doubt creeps in and hangs around. That's life. Sometimes two or three converge. When all four margins - and they can - evaporate, I believe that's what's known as a dark night of the soul.

My days are more peaceful when I live on the margin. When I don't spend all I have and do share with others. When I pray and meditate. When I order my time. When I walk, exercise, stretch and eat healthy. Stress evaporates. And I feel so good that I let go a bit. You know the rest of the story. My name is Celeste and I'm a recidivist.

Yet, in spite of discipline and best efforts, those dark nights of the soul, they do come. With a vengeance. So why bother with the margin? The obvious answer is that margin makes the everydays less stressful. But I suspect that the bottom line is this: it's not all about me. When I live on margin, I don't hand my stress to YOU.

A friend posted these words today:
"On the last day, Jesus will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, enter the Kingdom. For I was hungry and you gave me food. I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was sick and you visited me.' Then Jesus will turn to those on His left hand and say, 'Depart from me because I was hungry and you did not feed me. I was thirsty and you did not give me a drink. I was sick and you did not visit me.' These will ask Him, 'When did we see You hungry, or thirsty or sick, and did not come to your help?' And Jesus will answer them, 'Whatever you neglected to do unto the least of these, you neglected to do unto  me'."

Thank you, Mr. Fooshee. Thank you, Doug. Thank you, Mother Teresa for this thought: "Live simply [in the margin] so that others can simply live."

Thank you, Jesus. Help me to remember...the tomb is still empty.