Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Rubber Bands, Trampolines, and Basketballs.

I watch people everyday going and coming, running and walking, rushing to the red light and chasing trains only to arrive and miss them. Sometimes I never turn on the television, and some days I just stay home for some much needed quiet and relaxation, because I never have to go far to see people. Granted, living in Paris you bump into people even if you’re living alone, sleep-walking on your way to the bathroom at 2 am. You only have to go as far as your mirror to see people, and who or what do you see? There’s no need to send email responses etc. revealing confidential information. That’s an “in-house” question. ;-) Me? Sometimes I see rubber bands of many lengths, colors, widths and depths. Other times I see mini-trampolines and the huge Olympic sized ones. (Please no comments from the chocolate factory.) And sometimes I see basketballs. Again, no comments. :-) What do these three have in common? Their ability to be stretched, and bounce back. (And yes, they are used in sports and for exercising, but let's talk about that later.)

People are not made of rubber material, but sometimes I think at the subconscious level we think we are, because much of the time we act like the Energizer Bunny: we keep going and going and going. But eventually EB stops too because as good as the energizer battery is, it has a shelf life. And so do we. Many times we take on more tasks i.e. assignments and projects than we truly can bear, and to justify it we quote a favorite scripture in martyr-like fashion, God won’t put more on me than I can bear,” or something to that effect, when most of the time we’re delivering pizzas He did not order. And then we wonder why we’re not “getting paid”, say nothing of a tip. Extra cheese please!

Rubber bands tend to wrap themselves around “things” (and people) to keep them together, which is not a bad job to have. Public relations and organization. LOL!! Just make sure the retirement package is substantial, because rubber bands: 1. Lose their rubberability (I could not resist making up that word), and dry-rot around the objects they were designed to hold together TEMPORARILY. Ouch! (It’s time to let some things go, for the pain is . . .) 2. Can be stretched out of shape and no longer return to their original shape, and thus lose their usability. (Okay, that’s already a real word according to spell check.)

Have you ever stored items you wanted to keep forever, or that you just planned to return to maybe in a month or so, but you don’t have an appointment with them, so you wrapped a rubber band around them and put them in a drawer, or on a shelf and eventually you forgot they were there? Then when it’s time to spring clean three or four years later you “find it” and discover the rubber band is sticky and gooey, or it breaks off into fragmented pieces (I guess this would depend upon the dryness or humidity in the environment over time)? Hmmm, it has lost its “bounce-back ability”, which leads me to trampolines and basketballs.

They too are made of rubber material and are made to go the distance, but time, and wear and tear take their toll on these as well. Trampolines, left uncovered to weather the elements and storms will eventually let you down (I can see something like this on “YouTube” now) in a moment of assumption. Oooh, that hurt. Hmmmm. And basketballs sometime lose their air (Jordan can’t help you then) and are no longer fun to “play” with. And over time they too will lose their elasticity. That’s the word I’m looking for, like Stretch Man in the movie the “Final Four”! Oh no, that’s college basketball in the states. The Fantastic Four”! and Elasta Girl in the movie “The Incredibles”. Hmmm, could it be that I’m overstretched with my mind wrapped around too many things at one time (snap!), or just for too long (fragmented)? Or all of the above?

I used to think one was “good” and smart, and smarter than others because he or she could multi-task mentally, emotionally, physically, financially and all those other “alleys” because it meant you could divide your mind and attention (but not your body) to be with more than one person at a time doing more than one thing at a time, or ALL things at ALL times. But people who do this long-term and lose their ability to maintain control are eventually diagnosed as bi-polar, or schizophrenic, or having Alzheimers, or dementia, or some other kind of mind “altering” condition. So why is it considered okay and normal as long as we have on a suit and tie, three inch patent leather heels, a palm pilot, three to ten phones, a gps with the mp3 usb key and mini laptop all in one? A divided mind is still . . . well a divided mind. (And “unstable in all his/her ways.” James 1:8) An overstretched rubber band – no matter its size or width is still overstretched. A dry-rotted trampoline is still going to drop you like it’s hot, and an air-less Jordan is still not going to let you cross on dry ground. (See the book of Joshua in the Old Testament for that one. ;-0).

I can look back on my short life and the lives of some of my friends and colleagues, and we don’t have to go through Star Gate or the Time Machine to see where and when we played, and won and lost basketball games, fell off trampolines, and at the end of the day just snapped! I don’t want to return to that way of thinking and living because a week long stay in the hospital, and an interview with a good looking young doctor revealed that the only place I was going fast, was to the grave. The more I looked into his beautiful brown eyes, the more I wanted to LIVE!! LOL!!! So he told me I had to remove my rubber band from around some things I was doing, and some people I was continually trying to please. I had to not only cover my trampoline during “inclement weather”, but stop letting everybody jump on it, and any time they wanted to whether or not it was convenient for, and to me. Also, I had to stop being the trampoline too. Oooh, you can take that and right (I mean write) another topic all by itself. And follow the bouncing ball? Only in a cartoon song, and not if it’s no longer bouncing. I had to learn when to say “no”, “not this time”, “I don’t have it”, and other non-popular responses when friends, family, acquaintances, and enemies “needed” my services for their situations. (Needs are water, oxygen, clothing, food, shelter and love. Everything else falls under “wants” and “desires”.)

I think we all have within us the desire and need to be needed, because it affords us opportunities to “feel” valued and to be close to people in some way, even if in a negative one. We all want to do the “greater things” Jesus said we would do, but we need to find out what they are, and what that means for us individually. We all have different gifts, talents, resources, etc. and yes we all have egos that, whether we want to admit it or not, feels better when they’re being stroked and not stoked or poked. Am I thus equipped and empowered to meet certain needs? This is the question. And another one is, am I the person for the “job”? Sometimes even though we have the resources, it may not be our assignment.

Hmmm. Even those who don’t believe in Jesus the Christ suffer from, or experience the “Savior Syndrome”: “Just call me, I’ll be right there,” “I’ll be your bridge over troubled water,” “anytime you need a friend,” “I’m the only one you need,” etc. And on and on and on. Singers, lyricists, poets and musicians are good at, and good for putting these phrases to catchy tunes and causing us to prophecy to ourselves and others that we “can do all things through Christ which strengthens me” (and without Christ too). We’re convinced that we’re invincible and in this chain of fools, even though I may be a weak link, I’m gonna stand the strain and take all I can take until the chain breaks!!! “You can stretch me until there’s no more stretch left” is not a song He will let me write. (Maybe “Stretch Marks” to the tune of “Flashlight”? Just an impulsive spur-on-this-moment thought.) This is not God’s way, so therefore it is not His intention for any of us to exist like this.

We have to know when to say “when”, when to say “no” and when to say “yes”. There’s only One true Savior of the world, and He came with the perfect plan for all of us to live and LIVE (I did not say die) this life with our bounce-back ability intact. One of my favorite scriptures through Jesus’ mouth while He walked the earth, found in the New Testament account of Matthew 11:28 is this, “Come unto Me (that would mean God) all you who labor (that would mean ‘work’) and are heavy laden (too much jumping on your trampoline), and I will (Jesus/God) give you rest. (that would be . . . rest. LOL!) Take my yoke (assignments and projects) upon you and learn of me (hmmm, you know what it takes to learn about something, or Someone – go to “school”), for my yoke (my assignments and projects and methods) is easy (hmmm, now that’s a hard one) and my burden (help a sister out here. LOL!!) is light (I think that would mean it’s not heavy.)”. ;-) And neither are you. He/she ain’t heavy, he/she’s my brother and sister for sure, but the only One who can carry us both is Jesus the Christ, the Son of the living God. He IS the rubber band that won’t ever snap or dry rot. His trampoline is bouncing back the entire universe keeping the moon, stars and sun from crashing into each other. And He’s the greatest B-Baller Who ever lived because he lived, died and rose again! Now that’s true “bounce-back ability”. I’m not the Savior. I’m just your sister.