It’s the first word used by technology nerds in answer to a multitude of questions:
“Why is my phone doing …?”
“Why is my TV not …?”
“Why is my computer so …?”
“Why is my toaster …?”
Have you tried turning it off and on? And then next comes, have you tried unplugging it? And then, have you tried unplugging it, taking out the batteries and letting it sit for a minute?
Slow computers, laggy smart phones, televisions that won’t let me change the channel. Reboot? Unplug? Rest and restart?
You probably have an idea where I’m going with this, right? It’s New Years Day and every blog, Facebook status and tweet is about resolutions and good wishes for 2016. Since my blog is mostly just my personal processing, therapy place, I’ll add to the throng and hope that my readers who like the view into my messy mind, might find something useful.
My life is kinda laggy and glitchy at the moment. My operating system is buggy and my core is overheating. It’s frustrating me. But, even though my issues have been building for several months, I haven’t taken the time to reboot. Sure, I’ve thought about it but, like most everyone else, I’ve decided to shrug, sigh, roll my eyes and whine about things. Rebooting is annoying and who has time to unplug?
I’m wondering if I was perhaps the healthiest when I was the sickest. I know, right? That makes no sense.
When I was waiting for transplant and in the months just after transplant, I couldn’t do much for myself. In most every sense, it was absolutely maddening and frustrated me. I couldn’t walk the length of the mall and I had to refuse just about every social invitation. I felt like I had no purpose and was a drain on the people I love.
But, my soul? Though I struggled with depression and self-worth, the intimacy level of my prayers was greater than I had ever experienced before or have found since. The words of Haratio Spafford in 1863 describe it best.
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
Now I am better. But now, I am worse.
I am better physically. I am strong, independent and capable. I am a provider again and have purpose. But I am also worse, allowing busyness, stress and activity to strangle my peace and feed anxiety.
Thankfully, experience has taught me that I can reboot. Like with my electronics, I am the one who can choose to unplug. I have to refuse to allow the tyranny of the urgent to displace the important.
The tyranny of the urgent has once again convinced me that I have time later to take care of the important. I will read that book, later. I will write and reflect, later. I will pray, later. I will give my wife the attention she deserves, later. I will connect with that old friend, later. I will exercise and take care of my body, later. I will eat better, sleep more, walk my dog and clean the clutter in my life, later. I have fallen for that lie so many times before.
During my transplant journey it became evident that “later” is never guaranteed. In fact, it wasn’t until later became unlikely that I recognized all that the tyranny of the urgent had stolen.
In January of 2014, when opportunities to resume the pace of life I lived before transplant came back around and my recovery was about complete, Robin made me promise that I would not return to my old patterns of stress, over commitment and the tyranny of the urgent. She said, “you did not get a liver transplant to kill yourself.”
It’s January 2016 and the tyranny of the urgent is again in the driver’s seat. I’ve been sick more this Fall than at any other time since transplant. I’ve self-medicated with social media and mindless television. My energy level has dropped, my motivation has become scarce and my normally-positive attitude is showing signs of distress. It is not well with my soul.
This month I will set aside the first part of each day for quiet reflection, prayer and searching. I will reread The Seven Habits hoping it again helps me realign. I will unplug, re-evaluate and make whatever changes need to be made. I will reboot. I have to.
Will you? If we change nothing, nothing will ever change.