Nicer

Sometimes you get in the zone in life and it's great. You are so content, so centered with what you're doing that time passes and you're completely unaware. Because what you're doing is exactly what you should be doing, your heart is in its proper place and your mind and soul are deeply engaged. We've all been there. Gazing at a sleeping baby will do this, walking in the woods, for some of us. Skiing is one thing I can name for myself. There are some universal zones: watching the ocean wave in and out; holding the hand of someone you love.

I think that we can wander through life for a long time unaware that we're looking for that zone, our zone, all along. What is that thing ... what is that thing I was born to do ...?

  In the zone with Nate the Great.

In the zone with Nate the Great.

The zones, the good ones, are different for all of us. For me it's sitting with someone at their kitchen table and listening to them tell me the stories of their life—I never want to leave—people are so captivating. I've seen photographers in the zone, people mowing the lawn, too. Margaret is in the zone when she's teaching me yoga. The sun went down on us the other day, we were so engrossed in what we were doing. Sam, when he's flying through the air; Brett when he's doing the Sunday Times crossword, Coco playing lacrosse, my mom when she's praying. 

We all find our way to our sweet spot in life, eventually. Or at least we hope to, that's the idea. The thing is that it feels like there are more and more opportunities for derailment; there are crappy zones, too, places and spaces and people that draw us in and then suck the life out of us. 

I don't really care about the data mining stuff in the news recently in regards to the Book of Face. We all knew, we can't pretend this is news. I've come to see that Facebook is just one of those zones that doesn't feel good. Spend more than a few minutes there and you feel like you need a shower. Sure, this could be said about the vast majority of things we do online, but Facebook gets the blue ribbon when it comes to being a zone of malfeasance. Yes, yes, it has its good points. Yes, I have connected with people there I probably wouldn't have otherwise, and yes, it has been a good tool at different times in my life.

But mostly, mostly, I just want fill my days with more of the uplifting zones, the productive zones, the good ones. I want to use my time that way. And honestly, I would be afraid ... if someone made a pie chart of the ways I spend my time ... there have absolutely have been times when I know it would make me cringe to see the truth. Can you imagine, if, at the moment of your death, some sort of accounting ghost met you out there with a graph of how you spent your hours and suddenly you were faced with the truth? You'd be like ... can I go back? Can I do it over?

I'm not sure. I don't know if we get to come back and try again. Management hasn't sent that memo out to us pastors yet. In the meantime, I'm going to hedge my bets on maybe and try to focus on a more graceful, hopefully meaningful use of the hours I have left. 

And I want to mention something really sweet that has happened since I stopped logging on to FB so much: in the past week I had no fewer than four events when I reached out to someone and they replied with, I was thinking of you at the same time! Could be a coincidence, but I like to think that because my attention is more focused on the things of this world and the people I love, the energy we are sending and receiving, directly to and from one another, is stronger, clearer. No data-mining middle men. It's all just ... nicer.

I love you all and am infinitely grateful that you are a reader. 

Amen.