Starting on Empty

Last night I was turning my light off to go to sleep when my youngest child wandered up from her room.  I was like, okay I’m not even playing at this before I even try to fall asleep there is already a kid and a dog in my bed.  So I vacated the bed for the small single mattress we put on the floor at the foot of our bed (okay this happens with some regularity).  Having moved down to that mattress I forgot to plug my phone in overnight to charge.  I started the day with it already under 20% charged.

ios_7_battery_life_hero

 

I have spent all day trying to grab quick charges from my car, from my computer, from my office manager’s computer… you get it. You have probably done it.  I am spending the whole day in catch up mode… and it doesn’t work.  You can’t start from behind.  I tell folks the same thing about surgery recovery from my days working in a hospital.  You can’t catch up to pain.  Take your meds, don’t cut back from what you were told to take, and keep taking it.  Because once your pain gets out in front of you?  It will take you a long, long time before you feel comfortable again.

So.  You guessed it.  This isn’t about my phone.

Its about starting on empty.  Its about remembering to find some me-time.  Its about getting a good night sleep.  Its about creating margin in our life so we aren’t overloaded.  Its about not starting out the day in catch-up mode.

Two weeks ago I preached on this and began my sermon with a favorite anecdote from Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh:

“There is a Zen story about a man riding a horse that is galloping very quickly. Another man, standing alongside the road, yells at him, “Where are you going?” and the man on the horse yells back, “I don’t know. Ask the horse.” I think that is our situation. We are riding many horses that we cannot control… Our lives are so busy.”

When we start on empty we are not at peace with ourselves and thus cannot be instruments of peace.  When we start on empty so much of what we do will be empty because we do not begin it with anything to give.  Oh, we fool ourselves into think we do.  And we may even be so talented that we actually manage to give something for a little while.  This is not a laudable talent.  Because sooner or later living on empty is going to have dreadful consequences.  For you.  For those you love.  For the world.

Get a good night sleep.  Have a slow morning.  Cancel appointments for an afternoon.  Let the dishes stack up in the sink.  Play hooky from work and call it a mental health day – because it is!

You owe that yourself.  You owe that to the world.

Because we all want a fully charged phone. (friend… I meant to say friend!) 😉

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About Andrew Kukla

I am the proud father of four wonderful children, loving husband to Caroline, brother to three mostly wonderful sisters, and son of two parents that gifted me with a foundation of love and freedom. I also am a Presbyterian pastor and former philosophy major with a love of too many words (written with many grammatical errors and parenthetic thoughts), Soren Kierkegaard, and reflections on living a life of discipleship that is open to all the challenges, ups and downs, brokenness and grace, of a chaotic and wonderful life founded upon the love of God for all of creation.

Posted on September 15, 2016, in Sabbath and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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