I’m Andrew Chirch, an Interfaith advisor and coach. 99 is a special weekly podcast series where we meet for 9 minutes to regroup, re-center ourselves, and prepare for the work ahead. Subscribe here to listen on your favorite podcast app, or you can use the player at the top of this post. A transcript is below.
Are you impatient sometimes?
Do you look to the future as the solution to your problems? (Like I sometimes do).
I catch myself in this mode when I’m browsing eBay or amazon for the next cool piece of electronic gear, or I remember that time I bought a jeep. Oh was that 4 -wheeler going to change my life!
I was going to be one of those intrepid adventurers who heads off to the wilderness on a moment’s notice… great hair blowing in the wind with the top down. As I drove by, people would probably notice my rugged good looks and want a jeep themselves. I would undoubtedly birth a movement.
Now steps can be ableist… not everyone has a body that can take steps, so I also mean incremental progress.
The reason I mention the story about the jeep is that it was such an example of my impatience —with myself— my dissatisfaction with the way things were going in my life.
I’ve heard from other people who have their own version of the jeep story – whether it’s a hobby, a collection, a shopping habit, food, or anything that takes us out of ourselves.
Out of ourselves…. ooh. that’s another layer to unpack. On this podcast, I often encourage you to move beyond yourself. To find ways to transcend what feels like the ordinary, and set off in search of majesty. Like anything, there is too much, there is not enough, and there is a middle path. Recently, we talked about living your life AS a work of art—how even the most ordinary seeming life can actually be a work of art. Every minute of every day like a brush stroke on canvas.
Other times, I am reminded that part of the human experience can be boredom and staleness. It can take outside intervention – a tragedy, a traumatic event, or something unexpected to shake out of our doldrums. It’s important that we not waste our time in this life, no? After all, there’s a reason most people know what a bucket list is. (If you don’t you should look it up).
What is Andy talking about?
Well, let’s see… he talked about the Jeep… which I guess was kind of like a step, but maybe in the wrong direction.
Then there’s the danger of always running forward without looking around or savoring where the steps have taken me… Like too many steps too quickly.
Then there’s the life with no steps at all – refusing to even come out of my house and face what life has to offer me.
I suppose in literary terms, we haven’t hit on the Goldilocks solution: just right. (or as my 12 year-old daughter pointed out… “actually, that would be the Baby Bear solution. Goldilocks is just colonizing the Bear Family’s experience.).
So… What’s just right when it comes to steps?
What would the baby bear answer be here?
Well… let’s see…. your life is marching on every minute, every day… with your participation or without it. Are you present in it?
Think about *that* — for better or worse, every step in your life has brought you here to this point. If you think that you were created with some purpose to fulfill, then there must be some value in your being in this place right now.
If you think this whole experience is pure chance and random evolution, you’re still here, right? In fact, if this is all there is, then isn’t it even more important to look around and appreciate where you are at this step?
Whichever you believe, none of us knows how many more steps there are, so what if we started taking notes about each one?
I’m grateful you’re here on this step with me. I come back here each week to meet you and continue on this pilgrim mage together. You help me appreciate each step – whether it’s painful, sweet, messy, or easy… here we are.
Dr. King said, “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”
And I’ll paraphrase Henry David Thoreau, “The price of anything is the amount of life you pay for it.”
What are you buying with your life?
If you feel stuck and stagnant, maybe it’s time to take a step. If you don’t know which way to go, or what step to take, move toward joy. Make just one step that direction. Even if it’s the simplest thing. Make a small step, look around, locate joy, and make another step.
That Jeep I told you about? It turns out it wasn’t the Jeep that represented Joy for me. I liked the feeling of being admired and loved by others… remember… the great hair blowing in the wind, people noticing, starting a movement.
I’ve since learned that my joy has to do with community. (whispers, “that’s you”), so drop me a line sometime. Especially if you want to take me for a ride in your Jeep 😉