Inside, outside, upside down: what life sometimes looks like from here

Aerial view (Photo: CKirgiss)
Aerial view (Photo: CKirgiss)

The past few years have been a bit, well, giant-swing-ish.

One main reason: I went back to school for a PhD, on a whim, which doesn’t qualify as even a Really Silly Reason.

Balancing academic life and ministry life has been like riding two different giant swings . . . at the same time…which might explain all the stomach lurches, head rushes, and recurrent bouts of low-grade nausea that often accompany such two-giant-swing seasons of life.

When I rode a real giant swing at camp last week, I videotaped and photographed the whole thing, on a whim, which doesn’t qualify as even a Really Ridiculous Reason. Camera phones are expensive. Giant swings are, well, giant swings. Meant to be experienced. Meant to be exhilarating. Meant to be enjoyed.

In order to videotape and photograph the ride, I had to keep my eyes on the screen. Carefully. While clutching my phone. Tightly. While swinging. Wildly.

In a very small and massively metaphorical way, it was a lot like life – not just my life of the past 10 years but, I suspect, many people’s lives at their most regular.

I missed much of the ride’s wild joy because I was concentrating on filming it. I missed many of the best photos because I was sailing through the air too fast to think or focus.

I got maybe one good picture. One. Plus a nauseous-ish headache because I failed to keep my eyes fixed on the horizon.

There is much blathery blather out there about “being grounded” and “living a balanced life” and “centering yourself,” most of which require a person to ditch life’s various wild rides and creative expressions entirely.

Much better to joyfully ride whatever giant swings may come our way, being sure to fully enjoy them by keeping our eyes on the breathtaking surroundings.

Much better to live a rhythmic life that is sometimes slow, sometimes fast, sometimes wild, sometimes calm, being sure to express it creatively in our realities and our relationships.

Much better to center Jesus – not just center on him but actually center him – which equates to also immersing, surrounding, and filling ourselves with Him.

Life is rarely predictable, balanced, or safe. That was never the intent nor the promise.

Instead, life is sweet (even when sorrowful), exhilarating (even when difficult), and full (even when unknown).

Or at least it should be.


4 thoughts on “Inside, outside, upside down: what life sometimes looks like from here

  1. Tera Peterson July 22, 2013 / 11:46 am

    Thanks for the remider! My motto is relax and enjoy, much easier said then done some days!

    • ckirgiss July 22, 2013 / 11:58 am

      For me, that is almost always easier said than done. It’s so easy to get sidetracked and distracted by all the other things going on around me or all the other things I need to do or all the other things I want to do or all the other things I feel like I should do or all the other things…you get the idea. Ironically, I’m a person who truly loves to enjoy the ride, loves to relax and be still, loves to lean in and listen. But it’s impossible to do all of these at the same time in different contexts, and therein lies the rub – to truly enjoy life, one must be willing to set aside some of life’s most enjoyable things, at least for a time, because one can’t enjoy all the enjoyable things all at once. Perhaps this is more an issue of greed (“I want ALL the enjoyable things”) or impatience “I want all the enjoyable things NOW”) or lack of trust (“I want ALL the enjoyable things NOW because I’m afraid they won’t be there tomorrow”) or some other human weakness. Indeed.

  2. Don constable July 22, 2013 / 5:05 pm

    Speaking of Phd, is it dr Crystal? If not, when? I just took a full time job in Minneapolis working with ex-cons and addicts and I am just 3 years short of 80. It feels giant swing-ish. Definitely giant swing-ish.

  3. ckirgiss July 22, 2013 / 6:59 pm

    There is a PhD after my name. I defended in May. Phew. When I am 3 years short of 80 I hope I’m chasing giant swings as fast and joyfully as you are. I don’t think age matters as much as the world says it does, and I know for a fact that there are lots of lives just waiting to be impacted by you.

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