I’ve been reading Winnie-the-Pooh (the original book); partly for mental escape, partly due to the unexpected depth of the little things in the movie, Christopher Robin. It’s been rewarding; partly for the mental escape, mostly for the unexpected depth of the little things. The first paragraph roped me in.
“HERE IS Edward Bear, coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin. It is, as far as he knows, the only way of coming downstairs, but sometimes he feels that there really is another way, if only he could stop bumping for a moment and think of it. And then he feels that perhaps there isn’t. Anyhow, here he is at the bottom, and ready to be introduced to you.”A. A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
Profound. Bumping his head repeatedly down the stairs, there are moments when Pooh (Edward Bear) has an intuitive feeling that there must be another way. But there’s a problem: he never has the time to stop and consider what the other way might be.
Have you been there? I’ll bet you have. I’ve been there. I’ll also wager that most of us continue in our routines, rather stopping to contemplate what a better way might look like. As a leader, I’m often confused by the discrepancy between what people say they want – what they believe, aspire to, hope for – and the reality of the trajectory that their lives are on. Constantly bumping their heads on the same stairs, knowing all the time that there must be a better way.
What kept Pooh in his painful rut was his inability to “stop for a moment and think [a better way].” I have a deep conviction that we’d all be better off if we would simply commit a few minutes each day to get quiet – to think, to meditate on our lives, and to become aware of what’s really going on around us – and inside of us. Those minutes could become the most productive ones of our lives.
For me, it’s prayer – intentional time and space to listen to the voice of the Spirit; to meditate on life, allow myself to feel and evaluate my constant “bumpings” from stair to stair, and ask God to show me the “better way”. My daily prayer is this: “Holy Spirit, do what you need to do to me so that You can do what You want to do through me. “
I believe that that prayer is the most productive and effective work that I do. All good things flow out of it. If you’re not the religious type, I’d still recommend some thoughtfulness and mindfulness about your life. It won’t hurt.
What’s is sad and hard to watch – especially in the days that we’re living in 2020 – is what happens when people don’t stop, think, and pray. Since Pooh doesn’t “have the time” to stop and figure it out, he resigns himself to the easier idea that maybe there really isn’t a better way – maybe this is all there is to his life. He settles into a life of bump, bump, bump, with no end in sight.
Friends, don’t do it. There’s a better way.
Something is calling you, telling you that there is more to your life than much of what you’re settling for. Take that something seriously. Stop for a minutes today. At the very least, think about your life. My suggestion is to pray. Feel, become aware of, and confess the incessant bumpings of your life. Then seek the better way, and commit yourself to doing what needs to be done to follow that Way.