Rhonda Cagle

Shift Happens

In Uncategorized on March 3, 2010 at 10:06 pm

Stream of consciousness writing is something I diligently attempt to avoid – at least publicly. I have a rather eclectic amalgamation of immediate and extended family members, clients, Christians, atheists, evangelicals, and Roman Catholics who read my ramblings, which means that without an edit button and carefully crafted words I’m guaranteed to offend virtually everyone. However, I’m crazy tired – the kind of tired that causes me to drive several miles past my exit on the freeway because I’ve zoned out or circle three times through the grocery store because I can no longer remember where to find the cinnamon. And it’s been ages since I’ve written anything except what my clients pay me to write and there’s a lot of life going on right now so I’m going with stream of consciousness musings and will ask for forgiveness when I am less crazed and more well rested.

For those who care, we’re roughly three weeks into Lent. I will confess that I have a love/hate relationship with this season of the church year. It’s akin to that old joke that assures you, “after it stops hurting, it’s going to feel a lot better.” I usually like what I see as a result of this 40-day season, but the actual 40 days just suck. I really should use better and more spiritual vocabulary and tell you that they are a time of discipline… introspection… focused austerity. Sometimes that’s true – but, at least in my life, it’s almost always true that they suck. Even before I was aware of Lent, I can look back in my life and see that this general timeframe has consistently been a season of great upheaval and internal reorganization in my life.

This year, my Lenten observance has been overshadowed by the unrelenting demands of life. Over the past few months, I’ve become keenly aware of how exhausting it is to keep all of the bases covered and all the balls in the air. In this economy, earning a living is difficult. As a single mom who is self-employed, it is overwhelming. Even the tiniest shift of the scale can create a tipping point that upends everything, leaving me flailing as I try to regain my balance.

Finances are uncertain and money is scarce. Tip. Megan was in a car accident and is having continuing challenges with concussion symptoms. Tip. Her car is totaled and I have to buy a new one. Tip. My mother-in-law likely has only weeks to live and funeral arrangements and costs have to be addressed. Tip. The scales of life keep shifting and tipping and I find myself off balance. I think this year, my Lenten lesson is abundantly clear: Shift happens. The question becomes how to respond to the shift. (And yes, the pun is intended!)

If I was a more insightful writer, a more spiritual person, or perhaps less tired, I might have an answer. I don’t. Perhaps that’s part of the lesson. Each time I feel myself seesawing as life tips the scales, I find myself praying. In my better moments, the prayers are in complete sentences. Mostly, however, it’s simply me breathing in and out, whispering for God to somehow help… somehow show up… somehow keep me from falling. And somehow, when I reach my tipping point and I feel everything giving out from under me, God provides a counterbalance – a person who helps, an unexpected client project and income, or simply a moment of divine mercy when I’m able to catch my breath and find my footing, even if it’s only for a few moments.

It’s not sermon material and it definitely won’t end up in any of my client writings, but it’s the truth about these weeks in my life and this Lenten season. Shift happens. So does prayer. Somehow God shows up and keeps the scales from tipping. And, although I am bone weary and desperate for solid ground, I find myself so profoundly grateful for God’s provision and presence in the midst of a topsy-turvy life.

  1. I’m so thankful to God for the counter-balance. So many times I’ve missed it, and ended up traveling upside down which really distorts your perceptions of life. Life to me is like a tornado at times – twisting swirling masses of ‘shift’ that would seek to pummel and destroy me – and when I remember to pray or breathe in and out, as you said, I find myself in the eye – where the debris cannot harm, and everything is quiet – even if for the moment. I know it is Him saying ‘peace be still”.

    Rhonda, you have a keen sensibility and remarkable timing in your writings. Thank you for being obedient to your ‘stream of consciousness’.

  2. Let’s hear it for the counterbalance. One of my biggest challenges is remembering that somehow life still goes on and works out. Normally that balance happens for me after I’ve just pitched a huge fit where God and I have had a heated discussion. Sometimes I just feel like an over tired child who needs a nap and is just cranky with the world… oh wait that’s because I’m over tired. 🙂 I’m thankful that God understands that too and walks with us through. One of my older, wiser friends who also lived in our universe told me once while she was struggling to provide for her and her sick husband, that in those moments of unexpected provision where the needed funds came from some place different, that she looked at them like God handing her a beautiful boquet of flowers. I’m grateful too for His meeting us in the midst of it all.

  3. Praying for you Rhonda. When it rains it pours.

    I have been without sleep this week worrying about one of my preschoolers in the hospital and my own daughter – who is being bullied at her new school by some ferocious little girls.

    If I were in your shoes I would be an absolute mess. I can’t even begin to imagine. So thankful Megan is okay – hopefully the car gods will be kind to you for the rest of the year!

    So, how to respond to the shift? Let yourself fall apart for a while, we don’t always have to hold it all together. Sometimes we just have to let go – even briefly if for only just a moment – break down. Give it to God.

    Hugs ~

  4. Although concussions usually are caused by a blow to the head, they can also occur when the head and upper body are violently shaken. These injuries can cause a loss of consciousness, but most concussions do not. Because of this, some people have concussions and don’t realize it. .

    Have a look at the best and newest short article on our new blog page

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