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Don’t get too comfortable

comfy-chairPeople who are sitting comfortably are happy to speak up. From their seats they shout, “We’ve always done it this way.” “Why can’t they see?” “Whatever happened to?” “They just need to!” And they often land on, “How come I can’t get any respect?” Comfort breeds inertia. And to these, it may feel very much like steadfastness or tradition. Which has its place …. as long as we are willing to give up our seat.

I am grateful to have people in my life, including my pastor, who discomfort me. Because discomfort causes me to squirm. Squirming leads to wriggling. Wriggling leads to getting up to check if there is something wrong with my chair. And from standing I can look around – even move around – to work the room and get to know who’s there. After all, from the comfort of my seat I can only receive those who seek me out, but from standing I can seek out others. I can get to know how they feel, what they’ve been through, what they know and who they are.

Then when we’re called to order, I take a new seat. One which has been vacated by someone else or, if there are not enough seats, I will be happy to stand. When a seat comes open I can take it and get to know my new neighbors. Maybe they have seen me standing and have waved me over. Those are people I want to get to know. People who are willing to give up the empty seat next to them, even put their things on the floor, so someone can sit there. Just love those people. I hope to be those people.

But for now my objective is not to become so settled in my seat that I don’t notice when it’s time to move. I’m not looking to leap into the expensive seats, nor am I eyeing the podium. Just, maybe, to perch on the edge. Back straight, abs tight, shoulders back, feet on the floor. It’s funny how ‘ready position’ works for any situation. Balanced, expectant, looking and listening. There’s something good ahead. I just know it.

Stretching it

Seems like I sit a lot these days. Writing and blogging and posting and, well, information consumption can do that to you. That’s a bit of a problem for folks who like to move. Not just in the name of “getting in my exercise” or “keeping my weight down” or “not sitting for long periods because it’s bad for your health.” It disrupts me. Period.

And it’s pretty devious because sometimes I don’t notice. Been sitting here a while and everything I’m thinking is getting stale. The words are garbled. The imagination is out to lunch.

So one of my go-to’s is the seated tip. I extend my arms straight out to my sides (like a T) and, keeping my butt cheeks on the chair, I lean straight to one side and try to touch the floor with my fingertips. The other arm, then, is extended straight up to the ceiling.  Then, I repeat this on the other side. It’s a core strength and oblique abdominals challenge. Our trunks are woefully weak in this computer and screen age.

I’m lop-sided. I can reach the floor on one side fairly easily, but not so easily on the other. I attribute this to an injury I sustained 2 1/2 years ago that put me in a brace for a bit. But that’s no excuse. I’m weak.

So, leaning right, I look at the floor, trying to urge my fingertips further, further to touch. Come on, you can do it! Slowly, awkwardly, I brush the floor. Success!

On the other side, I don’t look at the floor. (This wasn’t planned; it’s just how this has gone.) I look, instead, at my hand extended to the ceiling. And feel for the floor that comes into touch. Voila!

Then, I repeat. And of course, I compare. How come it’s so much harder on one side than the other? Injury, yes. Thorn in my side, perhaps.

But here I am, arms extended, to touch the earth and reach for the sky. I am the me in the middle.  When I look to the earth and urge myself forward, my body resists. By my own effort I stretch, eventually. When I look to the sky and let myself go, my body complies, effortlessly.

Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven, I say to myself. Humankind is in between and reaching. Do I look down and push or do I look up and reach?

The distance is the same. The difference is me.

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