Sometimes You Have To Do The Next Thing Even If The Next Thing Is Washing The Dishes!
The month: February.
The year: 1974.
The setting: A Sunday night service in my home church in college.
The message: “Learning to Live in the Meantimes.”
Funny how a message sometimes grabs the heart and holds on tight! Funny how that message becomes a life mantra.
My college pastor, perhaps the wisest person I know, presented a sermon that continues to bear fruit in my life to this day. He defined the mean times in two ways: One – There are events that occur in life that knock us off center. They are Mean Times and we have to learn to live in and with those events. Two – The times between the event and the creation of a “New Normal” are also Mean Times – the time between times. We must also learn to live through the In-between times. Both are Mean and both require mindfulness and intention-setting.
In that sermon, Dr. Flamming told us that when the Mean Times come we must do three things:
- We must learn to lean heavily on God (or our Faith or Belief System).
- We must learn to lean heavily on our family and friends.
- We must learn to “Do The Next Thing.”
He illustrated that third point by saying something like, “If your Mean Time comes when you are in the middle of washing the dishes and you have to leave the dishes in mid-wash to take care of the initial challenges of the situation, the NEXT THING you do is FINISH WASHING THE DISHES!” Very, very powerful!
He said this, not to encourage us to ignore or deny the reality of our Mean Time but to encourage us to reconnect with the reality of life from which we have been torn when Mean Times strike! When we reconnect with our “knocking off place,” we give ourselves the chance to move forward through the event and into the time of transition and proving. It is in this Mean Time that we grow and learn and discover resiliency.
Remember, Sometimes You Have To Do The Next Thing Even If The Next Thing Is Washing The Dishes!
Mark E. Hundley