Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Dips versus valleys.

I have accounted for Nitty.Gritty. readership in 38 states and 7 countries, in the previous post- at the 120 comment mark. I guess nobody blogs in North or South Dakota, New Mexico and about 10 other states. =) I'll keep working on those regions. Now I know when I declare my intent to run for Presidency, who to track down in each state to help me with my campaign. =)
Thanks for playing along with me on this one. Maybe some day I'll go on tour to a city near you.
On a personal note, I've been saddened the past few days. My grandma has had ongoing health issues that just keeping getting worse. I wish there was more that I could do for her situation, or even be able to ease the added stress in my mom and dad's life, but truthfully, there is nothing I can do. So, it makes me sad a bit, and I hope she either makes a strong comeback, or that arrangements can be made to make everyone's day to day life easier.
Next, my brother-in-law's Dad is in a hospital after having some issues with his heart, and the doctors have told his family there is nothing more that can be done for him. Having been at the bedside of a loved one in their final hours and moments of life makes their reality very real to me. I know the pain and emotions they are feeling, so my insides hurt for them too.
I also have been linked to the story of a girl (Kelsey) nearing the end of her battle at St. Jude's hospital, as well as getting the link to another family whose 2 year old daughter, Avery, was killed after a driver hit her and her mom and cousins in a McDonalds parking lot outside Atlanta a few months ago.
These stories, family or not, make the reality of this life so clear. None of us know what tomorrow holds for us. I realize that each moment we have truly is a gift, and that what we do with our time here is of utmost importance. To let the little worries of life drag us down seems a shame.
Yet, I had some thoughts on this very topic pop into my mind during a short (brisk!) bike ride a couple of nights ago. The path I took had some little dips and bumps along the way, and then one larger hill for me to go up and down. You know what surprises me? It's the little dips in my path that take the most effort and energy for me to maneuver. That big hill- that looks like it would zap my energy, that hill actually gives me more speed. I see it coming and I prepare myself mentally and I pedal a bit harder as I head into it.
But those smaller dips, they come at me and I hardly see them until I'm in the middle of them, and then I have to pedal hard for a time to get back to speed.
I think that's kind of how life happens, isn't it? Sometimes, before we realize it, we feel overwhelmed and it's like the weight of the world is coming at us. We wonder what's wrong with us- it's nothing big- compared to what some people are going through, and yet it's taking all our energy to stay on top of things.
While Chip and I were going through our valley in life, we found we had support and help at every turn. We were cared for and people did what they could to lighten our load. I guess the bike ride made me think of it in those terms.
I've got gears that I can shift when needed; I make the resistance greater or lesser, depending on the terrain. Maybe that's what more of us need to learn to do in 'real life'. I know I am terrible about asking for help with the little things in my life, and so I let the stress and day to day challenges weigh me down. When what I should be doing isn't pedaling harder, but I should be changing gears. Whether that means letting things go around the house, or asking for help from others, or even redefining my priorities...it's a matter of me assessing the 'dip' and making sure the ride continues as planned.
I think it's a good thing to think about. All of us- whatever we may be facing, life happens to us once. And even then we don't know for how long or what may come our way. I have learned that to modify expectations, or to be willing to 'switch gears' is the best way to handle the dips and valleys. Of course, I have a clear picture of where I'm headed (ultimately Heaven!) and so that helps me chart my course. That would be my challenge for you today.
Think about it. Are you on the road that you want to end up on? If life were to throw you a dip or valley (or maybe you're in the midst of one right now), do you have something that is gonna help get you through that time?
Maybe it's a bit heavy, but I figure it's worth a few minutes of our time to think about it. Some people spend more time thinking about what to eat for lunch than they do wondering what their future holds. While I understand your lunch is important, I have to say your future is at least as important...no matter what it holds. And if you haven't told the people that mean the most to you in this life how much you value them, do it now. Because you never know what may come your way. No matter who you are, or where you live.
That's my Nitty.Gritty. deep thoughts... my light-hearted self will be back here soon enough; I'm pretty sure about that.


Valerie said...


Cris said...

What a great post! And it gives us all something to really think about. Thank you for sharing this with us.

I am sorry to hear about your Grandma and your brother-in-law's dad. Certainly situations like those always tend to make us feel helpless. But don't ever think that there is nothing you can do. Because you can ALWAYS pray for them and for everyone else who is involved.

I will certainly be keeping all of you in my prayers.


An Aries said...

Hey, I read your blog from North Dakota AND I've shared it with several friends. One time I read your blog while on a business trip to South Dakota. There, I've covered 2 more states for you!!

michelle said...

hello from Canada..thanks for sharing your thoughts and concerns....it is just what i needed to hear today....

Joy said...

It is so encouraging to hear that I'm not the only one who feels like I struggle more with the day-to-day challenges than the huge, life-altering ones. It's been really hard to explain to people why kids getting me up in the middle of the night or screaming at each other is tougher to handle graciously and God-honoring-ly than rushing one of them to the emergency room or signing surgery consent forms for a major procedure with a lot of risks. But it's exactly what you wrote: we turn to God immediately in the big crises and rely on Him and the support He sends through others. The small things we don't see coming and we think we can handle in our own strength, and then wonder why we fail so miserable at it.

I went to a women's conference this past weekend and heard a great message on walking the path of suffering. The speaker is author Elyse Fitzpatrick, and she recently wrote a book called "The Steadfast Heart." It is a great encouragement to people walking through those valleys, but also those who are slogging away in the dips and struggling to find hope.

Lisa said...

What an awesome post. You are right--it is the everyday that can come at us like a load of bricks. I love the idea of "switching gears". I try too many times to pedal harder...and harder...until I am exhausted and out of breath and can't see. This makes SO much sense to me. Thank you!

Kristine said...

Reading from Silver City, New Mexico.

Thank you for your thoughts in regard to where we are on our path. I am doing all I can to reach the same heavenly destination you are, but am finding that the shifting gears is more vital than I used to think.

It's also really important for us to find those around us who are in need of a little push from behind too...or an arm around their shoulders, or a hand to hold.

I appreciate your insight. It is a bright spot...

Are you so excited about Vegas? I'm anxious to hear the end result!