I recently felt overwhelmed. There was just so much going on. Friends and family hurting, anxiety about the stock market, war and refugees filling the TV screen. I just wanted to get away from it all.
And I am not alone. Most people I know have those times when they just don’t want to deal with it all. The world presses in and the soul can’t absorb it. Our daily skills of filtering the variety of experiences that come to us seem to have deserted us.
But, one thing I have discovered about getting away from it all is that it isn’t as easy as just leaving home and taking a vacation. I have discovered that “all” accompanies me. While I packed my suit case and intentionally left worry and stress in my sock drawer, they would not be denied. When I unpacked at the beach, there they were, waiting to re-enter my mind.
It was then that I realized that getting away from it all is getting out of my own mind and heart. For you see, what I deal with is not all that stuff around me, but the “all” that presses in and threatens to suffocate my spirit is my response to all the stuff around me. And the reason I can't get away from it all is because of my love. It is my love for my family and friends that keeps me connected even when I am not there. It is my love for humanity that makes me wrestle with international issues of war and pain.
So, the issue is not my family and friends, the world and its suffering, the security and insecurity of money and life. The issue is how I carry these in my heart. Do I cling to them and tangle with them in such a way that they posses me? Or, is there a way to love and care for each other that allows us to hold each other lightly?
At times, I trust my ability to worry and fret and believe that the more I do that, the less problems there will be and the more likely peace will come. But, that only exhausts me. When I get overwhelmed, I have to trust in the power of some spirit outside myself to hold those I worry about. Some say that they have to turn it over to God. I am not sure who holds my concern and worry, but I want to believe that it is a beneficent power who is stronger than I.