Monday, October 12, 2009

Get Ready...

"Hold up, bring the beat back." Stop. I aint ready yet" " Wait. Lemme fix my hair....." ~Beyonce, Freakum Dress. Perhaps I could have chose a more appropriate song lyric but I am inclined to believe that we approach life about the same way.

In the sometimes confusing but consistently sobering world of adulthood, I've learned a handful of things. One nugget of wisdom is that there this, in fact, a difference in getting ready and being ready. A distinction between preparation and action (Besides the obvious). Getting ready is the process by which one prepares for something, rehearses, arranges, learns, anticipates... Being ready, however, is being positioned. Being able/having the capacity to receive or to give. Whether it's a task, a relationship a calling. Both states of being are good. Both can be beneficial. Both are necessary. The bad news is that most of us are trapped in the stage of ..."getting ready" and all of its lofty, do-nothing verbage. It rarely ever translates itself into any substantial action, but has a great plan to do so. And I'll say, frankly, that I am no expert on how to get out of it. Heck, it took me a week just to finish this blog entry. I do know that the thing that we must master is how to balance preparation with action. So that our actions are not premature or delayed.

We spend the morning preparing for the afternoon. The afternoon preparing for the evening. The weekday, preparing for the weekend. Our twenties preparing for our 30's and so on. When one considers this pattern, it seems that we are never READY. We're always "getting there." That is particularly troubling because I spend a great deal of time pouring over tasks getting ready for this and that. It's maddening to think that death is the only state of completion that I may ever achieve. This is not an endorsement for the "I have arrived" attitude, it's just my simple realization that who we are NOW, and where we are NOW and what we need NOW never get full consideration except for being the stepping stone to what we need to accomplish later. At some point we need to operate in the NOW. The right now. Instead, we often treat life like a squirrel storing acorns, waiting for something BIG to happen. Meanwhile something IS happening...this thing called life. We were just busy storing money, looking for a spouse and planning for grad school to notice. Too busy "getting there."

There are people who need our help and causes that need our attention and crisis that need our prayers. They can't wait until you write your law school personal statement that isn't due for 5 years. The world doesn't need more people who are so focused on getting ready for tomorrow's goals, promises, problems that they forget about the folks for whom tomorrow is a distant reality. Instead of getting ready for tomorrow, dig into today. I assure you, it's much more exciting and fulfilling than worrying about things that haven't happened yet.

One event that has made this concept crystal clear to me is the recent flooding in Georgia. Hundreds of homes were flooded. People lost nearly all of their material possessions. A few lost their lives. The outpouring of support from communities, community organizations, generous individuals has been AWE-INSPIRING and most importantly, IMMEDIATE. No one sat back and waited from Katrina #2 to unfold, except, maybe the insurance companies and federal emergency agencies (but we know their stories). People's hearts and even their wallets were mobilized to make a difference. To give. Not because they were rich, but because they were ready. They possessed the capacity to serve. I've seen warehouses full of clothes, supplies, food that make me a believer. A believer in the fact that not every heroic deed or act of kindness must be preceded by a 3 prong strategy or a 10-item to do list. Find a need. Fill a need. It's the ever delicate balance between preparation and action, there's no lag time and the action is quick and decisive. Not because its easy, because the time is now. I suppose if those who contributed to flood victims had been so wrapped up their own little worlds, shoving the needs of others behind their agenda's, plenty of people would be in worse shape.

So I'll keep it relatively short and sweet, because I am sure....positive really, that you've got something to get ready for. :-) And life? It's not waiting on you. ;-)

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