cul-de-sac of self

I’m back from vacation! It was great! Actually, it was incredible and fantastic and amazing!

Sorry for leaving you in the lurch, perhaps wondering if I’d given up blogging after so short a run! I decided at the last-minute to spend my time with my man instead of pondering my topic all day then hiding away while putting it to post! It was a decision neither of us regretted!

We were down in the Baja peninsula where it was warm and sunny every day but one, during which time it rained a steady heavy rain all day, providing time to rest and read and recover from all the time spent in the sun! We walked steep hills, climbed hundreds of stairs and descended them all for exercise then laid by the pool to recuperate! A perfect combination! It’s always so good to get away from home and all the demands and just rest and pamper ourselves! But, amazingly, it’s always nice to return home even though no one is changing my sheets and towels daily or preparing my food and cleaning up afterward! I’ll miss that – oh, wait, I already do!

I was thinking, as I often do during the first few days of any vacation, wouldn’t it be great to live like this? And then I think, no, it’d get old. I can’t imagine that, but I’m sure it would! Then what would I do to get away from it all?!

Actually, I’ve read that America has one of the highest rates of depression if not the highest of any nation. That shocks me, as we also have more than just about any nation. We have access to medical care, grocery stores, clean water, not to mention all the other amenities and pleasures that we regularly enjoy.

Something else that I think is related will probably seem to you as if it isn’t, but I believe there is a connection. Volunteerism is not what it used to be in America. I don’t have the numbers to prove it, but I’ve talked with people in different venues who depend on volunteers, and there just are never enough. It seems everyone is working. Everyone is busy. No one has time to volunteer, or at least very few do.

The connection is this: When I am wrapped up in myself, I make a very small package indeed. My world is minuscule. (One definition of the word minuscule is something that is so small as to be negligible or insufficient.) I’m not meant to be wrapped up in myself. It’s lonely and depressing. It could smother me. Being all wrapped up in myself prevents me from seeing life from a larger perspective. It keeps me from seeing others who have less than I do, who have needs and sorrows and troubles. When I’m living for myself, I spend all my time and energy and resources on myself, trying to make it, or trying to get ahead. That can be a very lonely and unsatisfying world in which to live. It’s not really living, it’s just existing.

We used to have friends that lived at the end of a cul-de-sac when their kids and my own were small. The kids and I would usually go to their house to play since there was very little traffic and the kids could ride big wheels and scooters and run and play with little interference. That’s about the only positive type of cul-de-sac though.

I looked up the word today (surprise!) and this is what I learned. A cul-de-sac is a street, lane or road that is closed at one end. It’s also any situation in which further progress is impossible. It’s also the hemming in of a military force on all sides except behind. The origin is French (no surprise) that means “bottom of the sack.”

Living for one’s self is like living in a cul-de-sac. It’s a dead-end. Making progress is impossible.  But giving one’s time and energy and resources to others; sharing what we have with people is energizing, invigorating and life-giving! It brings hope to others, and in turn increases our own! Our discouragements dissipate and our depression begins to dissolve. There is nothing so satisfying as sharing!

Jesus knew this principle. In Luke 17:33 he said, “Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will keep it.”  It’s a paradox, but it’s a principle that brings peace.

Volunteering, whether at a school, a church, a hospital or some other place can be just what we need to drag us out of the cul-de-sac of self.

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One Response to “cul-de-sac of self”

  1. marvaholt Says:

    I definitely missed your blog, but I’m so glad that you totally relaxed on your vacation. I’m very happy that you had a good time and could catch a few rays – I noticed some pretty tan faces today!!

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