The Good Ole Days
"I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life..."
Henry David Thoreau
There was a rumor this summer going around the interwebs that TV show "The Office" was leaving Netflix. But, thanks to everything good and holy, this was simply a rumor with about as much truth as our president's communications with Boy Scouts or foreign leaders. I digress.
I've been struggling lately with the practice of turning off and resting through my feeble attempts to discover rhythms for being present. Plus, I recognize that in American culture, even the idea of a taking digital holiday is a little trite by now. Yet, I still think it's essential to our health as people to find ways to be present in our lives. There's this beautiful moment in the final episode of The Office when Andy Bernard says, "I wish there was a way to know you're in the good old days before you've actually left them." It's tough to be happy, find meaning, and appreciate the people around us in the midst of everyday awkward life. This is what "The Office" portrayed brilliantly for nine years. If we're honest, I think we relate all too well with Andy's sentiment that we feel that the "good ole days" are always behind us.
So, where do we find this gratitude and presence that so often alludes us? I think one clue is tucked away in the ridiculous simplicity of Jesus' words: “Come to me, all you who are struggling hard and carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Put on my yoke, and learn from me. I’m gentle and humble. And you will find rest for yourselves." Whatever our struggle, challenge, burden, or boredom, there is a simple freedom in the love of Christ. This message at its core is the acceptance that you are fully accepted.
I recently heard a story about someone who was ill. After visiting several doctors, there were many opinions about how to cure the illness, but every "fix" caused another side effect that needing curing. Eventually, she went to a doctor that understood the source of the initial illness, which was causing the pain, which rendered every other fix unnecessary. When we engage and wrestle with God's persistent and fierce acceptance of each of us at a deep level, I think we're able to more clearly see who we are in the present moment. Like Jacob wrestling God in the wilderness, we can enjoy the struggle.
May we come to experience the "good ole days" that are right in front of us. May we feel the acceptance of God's acceptance and know that we have the opportunity to live more deeply than ever before.