‘Groan’ Apart (A 100-second reading on the decision to decrease pressure or to increase strength)

desk

My desk, made by my dad, and the stage for this blog entry.

I disconnected my printer and my earphones from my laptop, closed its lid, and quickly swooped it up to head to a meeting.  I immediately realized that I had failed to disconnect the power cord, however, as a chain reaction evolved in which the stretched cord toppled my penholder, spilling pens, pencils and scissors to the floor, and then scattering papers across my workspace.

Another piece of the reaction was something verbal from me, I’m sure, though I can’t remember exactly what.

In the process, the power cord freed itself, and quickly slithered off the desktop and into the narrow, hard-to-reach, wedge-shaped cavern created by my desk and wee printer-stand, making a plop sound as it hit the floor.

I’m sure there was yet another audible reaction by yours truly at this point.

With a sigh, I leaned on my desk (handmade by my dad in celebration of my acceptance to Harvard), and I did a sort of gymnastic head-stand that allowed me to retrieve the power cord and carefully position it for a speedy reconnection once I returned from my meeting.

As I placed all the pressure of my weight onto the desk, it creaked and groaned.

And I had a moment of new understanding.

I thought to myself, “Hmm!  Everything groans under pressure, not just me.  Not just humans.”

The desk had protested under my girth, the pens had shouted as they were jarred from their storage-home, and even the power cord had announced its floor-landing.

These made space in my thinking for the fact that a reaction to pressure is perfectly natural.  It’s not something we should beat ourselves up about, or be ashamed of.

However, I do believe that such groanings are meant to prompt action.  Too much weight on this lovely desk, and it would have collapsed.  The creaking was a warning.

So I asked myself, “What is making me groan?  What is holding me down, keeping me from maximizing the beauty of this human experience which I have been given?”

And now I ask you?  When do you hear yourself groan?

And why?

Once you have done that, I invite you to ask yourself:

What steps can I take either:

To decrease the pressure? or

To increase my strength?

As you do so, consider the fact that it would have been such a shame to have broken this desk that was crafted by my dad’s skilled hands.  Such a shame.

Still, had I done so, I know that he would have been all-too-willing and all-too-capable of repairing it or recreating it—to restore it—and make it whole again.

So if you find yourself in a place far beyond the groanings—in a place of collapse—I believe, that like my dad, there is always a Spirit who can repair, recreate—and restore.  All we must do is ask—and then act as instructed.

Be well, –Nathaniel

PS: I would love to hear about your strategies for pressure-decrease or strength-increase.  What be they?  = )

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2 Responses to ‘Groan’ Apart (A 100-second reading on the decision to decrease pressure or to increase strength)

  1. lynne
    March 23, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    The centuries old discipline of scripture meditation and memorization has restored my soul in this season of both parents with cancer. My calendar is as stripped as I can make it as I seek to eliminate other pressures, but it is still busier than I would like it. Doing much groaning over here.

  2. suzy from Africa
    March 23, 2013 at 10:03 pm

    Ah yes…the groaning and moaning (for me) under pressure and stress.
    Thank you again for a delightful read packed full of meaning. You are so skillful with words.

    The picture of your desk and study space is beautiful. Thanks for sharing this too. Just beautiful! What a special gift.

    I am learning to take the art of taking 6 deep slow breaths….and let it out ever so slowly. Clears the lungs and mind. Seems as I take in each breath …I in vision the Lord breathing into me and as I let it back out ever so slowly I sense the Holy Spirit is sweeping away stressful thoughts and feelings. Meditation is so soothing and renewing of strength as well–and very scriptural. 🙂

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Nathaniel is CEO of AidChild.org. He holds a Master's Degree in Human Development and Psychology from Harvard University where he was a Reynolds Fellow in Social Entrepreneurship, and winner of the 2010 Harvard HDP Marshal Award. He also holds a PhD in Leadership Studies from the University of San Diego where he was the Dammeyer Fellow in Global Education Leadership, and a Cordes Fellow at Opportunity Collaboration. Nathaniel is author of "We Are Not Mahogany: Three stories about the male African life." Prior to his move to Uganda in 2000, Nathaniel was Deputy Director of the Office of the Governor of Arizona, and Director of Education at Leadership, Inc.

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