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Sunday, June 29, 2008

redifining priorities

Today my hair straightner broke.
It literally snapped in half.
To some this may seem like a minor detail of life. To others who have seen my natural hair texture, this signals a small emergency, or does it?
These days things like that do little to rattle me. I'm usually good at problem solving and so I can think my way out of it.
But this morning when I went to go pull my straightner out of my suitcase only to find it was now in two pieces ,I was distressed.
I didn't think the burnout of my new job and moving would really settle in until a few weeks but here I am, frantically trying to piece together my hair straightner feeling down and ashamed.
Ashamed that this would cause me to go into such panic mode. But to be fair to myself, I know that in many ways this is merely the straw that broke the camles back. A mere disruption that underscores the many disruptions, adjustments and annoyances that have occured this last week.
Fortunately, I was preparing to go to church and I was confident that a few hours focused on something greater than myself would put things back into perspective and bring me back to my center of peace. It did, momentarily.
But when I get home there it was, still broken. I decided to look at this from a bigger picture and take this time where my emotions were raw and available to understand how this experience was beginning to shape me and redifine my priorities.
Two months ago, this wouldn't have been much of a big deal. I would've just gotten a new straightner. It was that important and money was of little concern. But now, I live in a world where options like that are just not readily available. There's no way I can fathom spending $50 or even $25 on a straightner.
Last week I remember getting off the subway and entering the gallery (the lone mall here). The first thing I saw was a cinnabon and thought "I have to have one." But at that point I was sleeping on the floor and had a cucumber in my refrigerator. I had to really think about the long term benefits of spending money on that cinnabon or using it for something else.
For some this may seem like silly shallow moment in some spoiled girls life, but this new way of looking at life and money and what is important is different and foreign.
In a lot of ways, the things I spent my money on, the things I had were apart of my identity. Not having that security puts me in a very interesting place.
I know there are people who are in much more dire situations, it's moments like these where I pray for them and ask God to give them grace. It's more uplifting than merely using their misfortune to make me feel thankful for what I do have.
I also realize that I will be working with people in situations much more complicated and urgent everyday, and this gives me an opportunity to have greater empathy for them as well as an understanding of what is really needed in someone's life when there at that point.
Still I feel something shifting in everything I am.
It's times like these where I want to go back. Back to where it was safer and easier and where I didn't have to work as hard, and I had very little cares. But then I realize that 'back' doesn't really exist. There has never been a time, at least in my life, devoid of some unstablizing moment. In fact it was all those hectic, unstable moments that I believe have prepared me for this moment. Prepared me for faith and, as the Lord says in 2 Corinthians 12 ,"my grace is sufficient for you."
So the straightener, well I'll have to get creative or go wavy/frizy/blah. I'm becoming who I've always been, like something is being pulled out of me that has been stuck and tainted and broken yet is now being stripped and reborn.

Song: Stand by Rascal Flatts

Quote: Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at this moment. Eckhart Tolle

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