There’s one question Lisa Nichols Hickman asked at the end of chapter two that I haven’t answered yet:
Consider the delicate balance between love for neighbor and love for self. How do you maintain the balance? What are your checks and balances for keeping the two in tandem?
I don’t know if this answers the question, but…
When life is flowing along smoothly, I rarely experience conflicts between love for neighbor and love for self. Everything in my life dovetails effortlessly; I feel as if I am where I need to be, doing what I need to do, and everything runs smoothly. But when the laundry starts piling up and the clutter gets out of control and I start eating junk and I don’t get my short workouts done, then I know life is out of balance. The love I share with others (my family, co-workers, my church family, friends, or neighbors) is rarely the cause of my breakdown. More often, I am just a bit out of sorts myself; I get myself stuck by dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. I do better when I stay in the present moment! And sometimes I just need to pause and hit the reset button. During these times I am reminded of another St. Francis quote:
Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.
I was thinking about where I could put this quote in my Bible and I thought back to the time I was asked to be a Deacon in the church. Before our ordination, we read St. Paul’s instructions regarding Elders and Deacons in Timothy together. And I remember our Pastor Deb Miller explaining the importance of taking care of ourselves and our households so that we could serve. Somehow St Francis’s words of wisdom seemed to fit well beside those instructions. And as it turns out, there’s something that just makes me happy about putting the words “doing the impossible” on a page of the Bible that happens to be filled limitations. (My mom is an ordained Presbyterian minister, and I have been blessed by so many women daring to speak in church, especially Rev. Deb Miller!)