Like water released from a dam, you will move again

Saturday, February 14, 2009

While I stood in the check-out line of a local retail store I ran into a man I hadn't seen for a while. I extended the usual pleasantries.

"How have you been doing?" I asked.

"I'm getting there," the man said.

"Well, as least you're going somewhere," I said. "It sounds like you have a goal."

The man then said, "There was a time, though, I was at a standstill. I wasn't going anywhere."

That phrase sounded so familiar because life comes to a standstill for everybody at one time or another. The positive and important result of those feelings is that you get moving again.

There are numerous reasons why things come to a halt. You can become ill and need to recover before moving on. Depression may cause your lethargy. Family problems, loss of a job or boredom may be the reason for your lack of motivation.

You may feel like water that's contained by a dam. When the locks are reopened, the water flows again. People's lives operate on the same principle. When whatever is holding you back becomes clear, it's possible for you to move forward again. When grief, illness, depression, financial drought or other maladies are dealt with and a cure is found, you can find a new perspective and perhaps recognize the reason you lost your desire in the first place. Rather than continuing to live in the dark, you can gain new energy and, like the sun, you can shine again.

It takes foresight when you're down and feeling like your well has run dry. Like those who have been imprisoned in an enemy war camp for years or those who have been involved in frightening accidents, people survived because they thought things through and applied what they had been taught. Your dry spell will eventually end or you will assume a new attitude if you can think clearly.

Remember St. Paul's words "God is faithful and he will not allow you to be tested beyond your strength but with the testing he will provide a way out so you can endure it." (Corinthians 1 10:13)

February seems to be a month when many experience depression or low spirits. The weather is often cold and dreary, and people are often confined in their homes. Nothing new is happening, and many feel like there's little or nothing to look forward to. The holidays are over, and spring is some time off. However, it isn't always a bad thing to stop the clock of activity for a while and come down from the high of excitement and busyness.

The situation gives you time to stand back and take an overview of your life. Then when whatever spring you need arrives, the old debris has been dealt with and you can open the windows of your mind and heart to a new beginning.

Regardless of how often you stumble, struggle or stop, again remember St. Paul's words of wisdom and personalize them saying, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:13)

Just don't stop too long before you get moving again.

Ellen Shuck holds degrees in psychology, religious education and spiritual direction and provides spiritual direction to people at her office.

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