There is construction work being done near the office building, and it’s been fascinating to watch as the earth is so easily and gracefully moved about by a small machine being operated by an even smaller worker. Ah, that we could only hire a team like this to shovel away all our troubles! Interestingly, I watched as they built, brick by brick, a drainage well to catch the overflow when the storms hit. Seems, however, that they had an unexpected squall of their own before one cloud rose in the sky, because this morning two quintessential big and burly hard hats are now using jackhammers and sledgehammers to break the well apart. My guess? It wasn’t measured twice, cut once, as the saying goes. Perhaps it didn’t meet codes and standards, or was placed incorrectly, or was too big or small. For whatever reason, all that hard work is now being torn down so it can be redone correctly.
How often in my life I’ve had to break down what I have created – from something as benign as a craft project to breaking down my pride to apologize to someone I’ve wronged as I sought to rebuild the relationship. I find that, especially when I’m hurried and stressed out, I don’t take time to think clearly and slowly and plan out what I’m about to do, and in my scrambling I find I have made errors or left something out or done the job just halfway and must wipe the slate clean and start all over again. Or I get tired and overloaded and do/say things that put stress and strain in my relationships. Frankly, I hate this, as it only makes me frustrated and angry with myself for not having done it right the first time – can you spell perfectionist?
While things like this are bound to happen (can you spell repress the perfectionist?), something I’m striving for (continually) is to build some margin into my schedule so that I’m not always running around like a chicken with my head cut off (as my Grandmom used to say). Sometimes that means I have to say no to certain invitations or requests or things I’d like to do, and as I’ve said before, the hardest thing is not choosing the good from the bad, but choosing the best from the good. So many interesting and fun things, so little time!
I’ve previously recommended the book “Margins” by Richard Swenson, which addresses one form of boundaries, and this month I’m recommending the books “Boundaries” by Henry Cloud and John Townsend, which helps you build these borders into more relational issues. You can click to the left column to see more and purchase these books, which I believe are both must reads for everyone! Hopefully these will help you build your own wells only once, in the right spot and just perfectly.
Hmmm… do you think I should get these books and hand them to the guys outside working on that well? Maybe not… they are wielding a LOT of power in those muscle-driven hammers and they don’t look all that happy. Perhaps I should just bring them a couple of cold bottles of water, yes?
Exercise your “NO” muscles this week, and build some margin and boundaries into your life!