Orbits Near and Far

At today’s leadership meeting at Wellsprings, I realized that one of the things I do—and should own—is a general stepping in and out of commitment. I see it as an orbit, an eccentric one at that, that brings me closer and takes me farther from the issues I wrestle with on a daily basis. I rarely become occupied and unable to separate from something.

The truth is, I think this is a mixed bag. While it keeps me from becoming obsessed, it also means that I sometimes step away from issues that I should stay on top of—work and church projects, family issues, friendships. I always figure I can work my way back eventually. That is sometimes a rationalization. I have no intention of re-engaging. Other times, as I draw away I feel the tug of gravity or responsibility and I nudge back into the waxing portion of my orbit.

i think I would be better served to find a more balanced orbit. I am an inveterate searcher for digital tools to help me keep tasks on my radar. What I lack, though, isn’t the right tools: it’s the commitment to log each task as it makes itself known. That is my point of failure and my need for emphasis—to really track the events of my life and the items in need of follow-up.

It also gets at a critique of my approach by a longtime friend, who says I am “sincere in the moment.” By that she means that I will lock on and listen and sympathize, then move on. That there isn’t always follow-up or even interest in the aftermath of an interaction. I plead guilty.

But honestly, there are plenty of situations in which I think my role is not to become a lifelong friend but to be there in the moment: to listen and sympathize and acknowledge another’s story. I don’t claim to solve others’ problems. I also do my best not to ignore what is in front of me. “Sincere in the moment” used to sting me. But to be honest, I wear it with a small measure of pride these days. I am “sincere in the moment.” And I ask, “WHEN else would it benefit me—and others—for me to be sincere?”

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