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Thursday, July 18, 2013

A Minute of Margin...

On my small book shelf sits a little book titled, A Minute of Margin by Richard Swenson M.D.  It's been tucked away for quite some time till yesterday  when my soul was thirsting for a word of encouragement.   Let me just give you a small piece of the introduction to the book for it alone is priceless wisdom. 

Margin is like oxygen---everybody needs some.  If we have too little, we suffer from the shortage.  If we have too much, the excess will not benefit us additionally. But having the right amount permits us to breathe deeply.

Margin is the space, specifically the space between our load and our limit.  It is this space that enhances vitality and resilience. It is the space that guarantees sustainability. It is in this space healing occurs, where our batteries recharged, where our relationships are nourished, and where wisdom is found.

  We do not follow two inches behind the next car on the interstate...that would leave no margin for error.  We do not load boats until they are submerged...that would invite disaster.  Why then do we insist on leaving no buffer, no space, no reserves in our day to day?

         Our enemy is also our beneficiary: progress.  Progress is helpful but not pure. Even as progress results in many advantages, it is also accompanied by disadvantages.  Progress bring blessings, but it also brings pain.  Overload is a human condition. 

Progress will continue to give us more, axiomatically leading to increasing stress, change, complexity, speed, intensity and overload.  Such a list is not as negative as it might first appear, but it certainly implies that discernment must be used and priorities must be clear when choosing a future course of action.

We have limits as Christian just like everyone else.  Once these limits are exceeded, we have no margin for prayer, for caring, for stillness, for community.  That I have limits, of course, in no way means that God has limits. 

The recent death of my husband's sister has caused me to think on how I spend my time in these early fall and winter years of my life.  Cannot go back and recapture the past , cannot run ahead and capture the future.  But I have today to live to my fullest or waste it on things that matter not or have no eternal value.  Even the very words I write only have a tiny chance of even being read by others.   Which is why I probably do not post much and spend much time on face to face relationships. 

 Has someone  encouraged you today by their words, a hug, a face to face contact, a note, a phone call.     Aren't you glad they took that margin of time and thought about you ? 

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