Tuesday I came down with a respiratory virus that has made me sicker than I've been in a long time. Two and a half years, to be exact...the reason that I remember this is that I nearly had to miss my daughter's wedding. I'm hoping that it doesn't move into pneumonia this time as well. I'm sitting here in my bed, knowing that a premature return to normal life could make me worse and that I need to keep resting; and yet my view across the room bombards my brain with all the unwrapped gifts and chores still needing to be accomplished.
Two things have kept me from getting completely unwound about all this. One was this post at Chrysalis Song, a place God often uses to feed my soul. The other was my recollections from the book Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives, by Richard Swenson. This book is one of those old friends that will always stay on my shelves, if for nothing more than the reminder I get from a passing glance at its cover. Its pages held an extremely simple yet profound concept, one that forever changed my life, both the inner and the public sides. The parts of the book that still adhere to my soul keep me from rushing back to all the urgencies of life during this time of illness, and they also give me needed reminders of how I can continue to structure my life in ways that make these unexpected, parenthetical events less devastating to my general direction and my specific goals.
I won't do a book review here; the book is old enough that many of you will have already encountered it or its principles. I was reminded of just how old it is when I ran across this quote:
Overload is not having time to finish the book you're reading on stress. Margin is having time to read it twice. Overload is fatigue. Margin is energy. Overload is red ink. Margin is black ink. Overload is hurry. Margin is calm. Overload is anxiety. Margin is security. Overload is the disease of the 90's. Margin is the cure.
Too bad the cure didn't take hold in the 90's :-) Here in the next millennium we battle overload infection of an even more virulent strain, but the RX of Margin is one that will never expire. If you haven't incorporated it into this busy season, I recommend that you slow down enough to find Swenson's book and read it...twice.