What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important. (Dwight Eisenhower)
Hope you are doing well. Thank you so much for your letters. Seems like your life is full of crazy stuff in the prison system, things I have no understanding of, nor comprehend how you tolerate, work through and actually still have peace and joy in the midst of them. I can’t believe you’ve sent me four letters and I have not responded to any of them yet. It makes me sad to think about that. I wonder why I haven’t and why I’m sad.
I could give you the “excuse” that life has been a bit crazy lately and it would be true. In the past month, I’ve spent time with my mom during her surgery, helped Sarah with the baby, had a power outage for a week from a major winter storm, helped Jared move into his apartment, looked for a new place to call home within the next two years (we need to downsize–our taxes and this big house are killing us), along with the normal things I do like manage our home and rental property at the beach, have some kind of exercise regimen, lead my women’s group and stay committed to our small group (both of which provide grounding and love), spend time in our marriage mentoring ministry while keeping our own marriage from falling apart, make time to write and keep up with my blog (that also keeps me processing and grounded) and try to maintain some kind of close relationship with God (my lenten fast being a huge thing right now – click HERE and HERE to find out more).
Just seeing all of that in print makes my head spin and I’m not surprised that I am a little exhausted and stressed. My Word of the Year is “TEND” (for those of you reading my blog, I will be having an update right after Easter) and I’m not sure how it’s playing out in my life. As I perused your latest card this morning, your words struck me right between the eyes of my heart. I paused and re-read all four of your letters, reflecting on what might really really really matter and what I might need to “tend” to. As I sit here and process, two huge things jump out.
First, the urgent often takes the place of the important. The urgent are the things that supposedly need immediate attention: endless “needs,” work, house stuff, emails, the “fires” of life, etc. etc. etc. Many times, I have to respond quickly or they don’t get “fixed,” “checked off my list” or I have disappointed someone. I’m not saying they shouldn’t be taken care of, or they aren’t good things, but oftentimes my focus needs to be shifted. In all the flurry of the urgent, the truly important gets neglected: my relationships and heart connection with people (people like you), my dream to bring hope and healing to myself and others and figuring out the avenue to do that best, and most importantly, a vital and deep relationship with God. I miss what’s best for what’s good.
Sometimes I envy you in prison (click HERE and HERE to read more about Kim). You take the time to make what genuinely matters matter. I know you have great loss in not having external “freedom,” and I don’t take that lightly, but you seem to spend your time and energy on the larger things of life, not being encumbered by all the seemingly urgent things it takes to make life keep “humming along,” whatever that even means. I would imagine you really miss the normal parts of life and are envious of me at times as well. As I read your letters and am getting to know you again, it seems like you just “get it” and see life through the lens of the important and not the urgent. You’ve caused me to pause and listen to the cry of my own heart today.
Second, your encouragement from prison is baffling and beautiful. Your letters remind me that it’s not our outer circumstances that dictate our inner life. Nothing can touch our true selves and the hearts God has given us. He is continually healing and bringing us into closer touch with His own heart, the best place of all (not the Women’s Correctional Institution or Stirling, NJ). You penned that the SAME God who has consistently “held you in his loving arms as you have suffered the consequences of your own actions also holds” me too in all the things I am journeying through. I was mildly taken aback. What kind of person says those things (and more importantly believes them) in your situation? The answer does not surprise me: you are someone who understands the deep heart of forgiveness, mercy and grace of God like no one I have ever met before. Your words today healed my own heart further and placed me right in the palm of God’s most loving and generous hand. Thank you. Thank you.
I am making plans to visit you (I am sorry they were thwarted this past time by your illness) because I want to take some time to set aside the urgent for the important and continue the path of relationship with you, one that we both believe has been one of the most redemptive and healing of the past year! I miss you and can’t wait to see you again.
Much much love,
P.S. To answer your question about being a grandma, it’s truly amazing! Broden Bear is a fun little guy! I love that your daughter sent you 265 pictures of your sweet granddaughter! Yay for us!