Points to Ponder: Did You Forget it is Today?
Points to Ponder
Did You Forget it is Today?
WHAM! The noise and then the faint sound of voices jarred me awake in the middle of the night. I sprung from bed, instantly thinking that someone was breaking into the garage. I grabbed for clothing to throw on so I could go out if need be. As I spun around in the dark, I noticed a window - in the wrong place. The digital clock on the night stand, the only light in the room, read 12:30. (I don't have a digital clock.) Suddenly I realized I was not home. I'd forgotten that I was in a hotel room. The noise was from the room next door.
"Well, that was stupid," I said to myself. I'd left home on a four-day bike trip at 5am the previous day. I'd been sound asleep (rare for me when I'm away from home) and I forgot that only my bike and I were in the room, 110 miles from home.
It's funny what can scare you when you forget where you are; or your mental GPS system has you convinced you are somewhere else.
The same thing happens when I arrive home from long trips. I wake up in my own bed at 2:30am and I think I'm in a hotel room. Then the features of my surrounding come into focus and I realize I am home. Over time, I have seen in this a pattern: I'm operating (at least subconsciously) from the last place I occupied. The startling wake-up in the hotel had me thinking I was at home because that's where I'd been the previous night. Likewise, the first night at home had me thinking I was still at the hotel where I'd spent the previous night. Funny how your mind sometimes trails behind your body.
Have you ever found yourself over reacting to a situation? When you step back and fully consider what has occurred and review your response, do you ever think, "Where did that come from?" All those heightened emotions, the adrenaline rush, and the powered-up defenses are above and beyond reasonable. If you look at the situation objectively, you may equate your reaction with trying to kill a fly with a sledgehammer. When you look at some of the stuff we get worked up about, we behave as if it's a threat to national security when in reality it simply reveals a threat to our ego. Some situations contain some element that resembles a past occurrence that still aches and was never properly dealt with. A word, an event, or some other "trigger" takes you back to that time. So your reactions seem out of place because they a re; you're not in the moment, you're still in yesterday.
Sometimes I have to stop and reflect on why I'm getting stressed about something. In a parent-child interchange at home, I may find myself very annoyed with my daughter's response to my request. I realize that I'm going back to when I was the child responding to my own dad's word; the upset is because I'm expecting her to be like me.
Some years ago, I became quite bothered over what I saw as a lack of loving concern by some church members for the family of another member. I apologized to these good people for my strong words after I realized that what I perceived in their behavior had taken me back to my childhood when our local church was not supportive of my mom while my father was away in Vietnam. The anger I was feeling as an adult pastor was that of a 13-year-old boy toward congregations who were mostly dead or had moved away.
Have you ever given some thought to some of the strong emotions you feel? Do you notice that you express certain opinions on certain topics with an edge to your tone of voice? Is the glass always half-empty with you? Where does the venom come from, and what triggers it to come out of you?
Maybe your mind and emotions are in a place your life passed through long ago.
Try to remember where you are, with a solemn appreciation of where you've been. That time has served its purpose. That day and its events (good or bad) have delivered you here. Your next move is, as a good friend of mine often says, "onward and forward."
Looking back can be wise and useful especially if you think your muffler fell off somewhere. Other than that, be thankful for what has been and then press on to the next step.
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new" (II Corinthians 5:17).
Points to Ponder is a series of occasional articles written by Rev. Dennis Whitmore, Pastor of Hilltop Christian Fellowship of Clear Spring. www.hilltopchristianfellowship.com. Listen to Pastor Dennis on WJEJ-1240 AM, Tues and Thurs, at 2:10am and 10:45am both days.