Gestalt, my current version, and losing the Forest for the trees.
My life is going really well right now. In the last year… new job, new kid, new house (twice), new car. We are quite healthy (long term wise) and happy (if I pretend not to hear the squabbling). We love the town we live in and generally love almost everything about the direction in which our lives are headed.
So here is the rub. Life is going really well. But absolutely nothing is going right. I really mean it. Simple refrigerator part? Repairman has been to the house twice, canceled a third appointment, and it still isn’t working yet. This is going on four weeks waiting for it to be fixed. Each kid has gotten their “personal illness” (all of our kids seem to be prone to different things, skin rashes, throwing up, ear infections… Danielle hasn’t declared her major yet) in the last week. Caroline had to redo the same spreadsheet (350,000 lines of excel data.. not to mention the columns) like 3 times for things that keep needing to be formatted slightly differently. A brand new TV needed a repairman… oh we sold a car because it couldn’t go up the driveway of the new house (destroyed the exhaust pipe discovering that and added this to the list of things to check before buying the next house). The list… really it goes on and on (not to mention I am currently cleaning up a big coffee spill all over my desk and pants).
Now I’m slowing down. We are trying to tick off one thing on our to-do list at a time to manage chaos rather than let it manage us (within reason). And we are saying no to good invites to keep some margin in our lives and recharge our batteries. So don’t worry about me, because this is my point. We’re good. My wife is a bit stressed out between kids and work (and she is more bothered than I by the house-chaos that is always a part of moving, not to mention 4 young kids). But generally we are good and all that stuff while frustrating (and occasionally very frustrating… did I mention that Meredith finally decided to be three in all her terribleness?) hasn’t altered the fact that I feel really blessed and really lucky and that all is going really well. And… this isn’t meant to be about me. I just suddenly found myself seeing in my life (mostly while cleaning up the just mentioned coffee spill and filling out church insurance paperwork which is clearly my favorite part of my job……..) a lesson about OUR lives.
Sometimes… we aren’t that lucky. And I don’t mean just that sometimes all really isn’t going well. I mean sometimes we lose the forest for the trees. Particular annoying things make us get bogged down in negativity and all we can see is what isn’t working, and we completely lose track of all that is a blessing.
What makes that difference? Why sometimes can lots be going wrong but we are completely able to separate those individual occurrences from the larger – better – whole? And why, other times, will we not allow ourselves to be blessed by good fortune just because some particular part of our life just isn’t exactly how we want it to be?
I’m interested because I think this is an important question for us individually but also in the various groups that we belong to. Whether it’s a family unit, a church, an organization, or even as a whole nation we go through these cycles. Are you stuck right now in the trees? Is your community embracing the forest and managing the individual stuff with a healthy dose of perspective? (And do you remember to celebrate that healthy when it’s happening?) What about your family… what about you?