Not Doing

Let's start with the hard lesson.

In the way of the ancient Greek deities, Aphrodite wronged Demeter somehow and, in return, Demeter took away Aphrodite's deity privileges. To earn them back, Aphrodite was sent to retrieve something from the Underworld, which involved an ever sketchy and dangerous crossing of the River Styx.

Aphrodite got two directions: retrieve the glowing box; don't save the drowning man.

Sure enough, as Aphrodite was completing her task, a drowning man she knew appeared in the river begging her for help. As compelling as the man's entreaties were, because she had been warned, Aphrodite was able to focus on her task, and not exactly ignore the drowning man, but was able to leave him to his fate.

More recently but not much less starkly, when Howard Hendricks taught candidates for Christian pastoral ministry, he was aware of the daunting demands that all in the helping professions: medicine, psychology, teaching, public safety, and the many other forms of human-to-human care and ministry encountered.

Therefore, he advised his students to say, no, to a good, important, and even necessary things every day.

Just to stay in practice.

We don't have unlimited time; and we don't have unlimited chances.

It's 5:05pm. The clock by my bed said 5:08am when I woke up. Not much more doing left today.

This is hard. I just looked at my list of people I want to engage. I've got a large and diverse contact list.

I keep a shorter list of people I hope to connect with in the near future when time and chance appear: maybe by DM, maybe a handwritten note, maybe a video chat, maybe a visit.

My cognitive preferences make some things more attractive than others. That makes those things harder to not do. My associative preference makes me eager to be engaging in relationship building. On the sequential side, there's content preparation, accounting, project tracking, due dates.

In light of my own awareness that's developed on this page, on that short list of people I want to engage, I'm seeing five that I can't see a real chance I should make time to engage. I have to let them go from my list.


I need the practice because tomorrow I see the heavy lifting of more not-doing.

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