It shouldn’t have bothered me. I was calling my doctor’s office to see if I could schedule a follow-up appointment… to an appointment I haven’t had yet. I wanted to get it set on the calendar ahead of time since the schedule is filling up so quickly. Perhaps it was my hesitancy over the phone, but the scheduling department woman pounced. I was breaking the rules. I could not make that second appointment yet. I would have to wait. And then I just started crying. I couldn’t control it, and the harder I tried to keep it in the more tears that fell down my face and cracked my voice. I heard a hint of compassion in her voice as she told me she would let me leave a message for my doctor’s medical assistant, but then she also followed up with strict instructions, “be BRIEF.” I’m breathed in and out as I waited to leave my message. By the time I stated my case I decided to wrap up with, “I’m so sorry if I’ve taken up too much of your time… and my phone number is…” and I just lost it. I’ll be really impressed if she can even understand my phone number.
And that’s when the full on sobs took over. Suddenly every possible situation that I could worry about, despair over, fear- they all overtook me. “I don’t like breaking the rules. It’s too much. I have too much. Too many people. Too many relationships. Too many things to think and worry about. I will never finish this book.”
To get the full effect you should imagine each of those phrases cloaked in heaves and sobs. Just picture a 4 year-old who needs a nap. I felt as though I couldn’t pull my emotions back around, and my recent hurts were about to take me back to bed so I could cry myself to sleep.
But I didn’t. Instead I opened up an e-mail from my dear friend and finally opened up the link to her latest blog post. Tanuja has a heart the size of New York and she has spent just about every weekend since Superstorm Sandy hit the east coast volunteering her time and labor to restore homes and life for those communities. As I read the paragraphs my tears just stopped. I felt my heart making a major u-turn.
The surest way to change emotions is a shift in perspective.
I could spend all day nursing my doubts and worry, or I could remember the joy that comes from loving others. As Tanuja reminds me, there are so many opportunities to love.
Rather than letting my volunteer opportunities and relationships overwhelm me, today I am choosing to see each of those as opportunities to love those individuals uniquely placed in my life. Each face is an opportunity to love.
Sometimes all we need is a shift in heart perspective.
“It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom.” Galatians 5:13-15a, The Message
Following and learning,