...self care is never a selfish act- it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give it the care it requires, we do so not only for ourselves but for the many others whose lives we touch.

Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

On Loosening the Screws

Now is a great time to loosen- instead of tightening the screws- on the people in your life! In an image that comes right out of Dickens' England, screws were tightened on the prisoner's crank, making it more difficult for the inmate to twist. In order to occupy their time with labor, the treadmill was used in a similar fashion.

Before you start about a nice work out at the gym, and you didn't know Victorians cared for the health of their prisoners, know that this "activity" went on all day (for about six hours at a time), every day, not as "recreation," but as punishment intended to cause pain, suffering, and despair. On the typical prison diet with this kind of hard labor, inmates mostly died in prison long before serving out their sentence.

The term "tightening the screws" means that sometimes we make it more difficult for others for no other purpose than because we can. As if anyone needs life to be harder, it seems some folks exist to do just that. There's no judgment here, just a suggestion that if Christ's coming means anything, it's time to lighten up, loosen up, and cut others in our lives some slack.

Loosen the screws with the purpose of making life a little easier for someone else. And maybe start with giving yourself this gift.


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Having been in ordained ministry in the UMC for 34 years, I've experienced the truth that although, clergy are frequently present for others, no one can offer what they don't have.That's why if you're a clergy person, you need someone who will listen to you. Not the random next closest person available, but rather someone like a spiritual director, a therapist, a peer who can be fully present to you. I hope the links and posts you find here will give you ideas, humor, hope and encouragement. Scott Endress

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