I picked up a book on time management last week called “Time Shifting; Creating More Time to Enjoy Your Life” by Dr. Stephan Rechtschaffen. As I’ve been reading it I’ve realize that it’s actually less a book about time management strategies and more about spirituality of time. As I was reading I found this analogy in it that resonated with me.
It seems there once was a man who went to spend a few days at his cottage in the woods. It was very cold so he decided to build a fire but some of the wood wasn’t quite dry. Once the fire got going he threw on a wet log. As it hissed and steamed away he noticed hundreds of ants emerge from a cavity deep within and begin running back and forth on the top the log. Some of the ants were able to jump off and escape the fire but most of them were too disoriented and by the time they were able to figure out what was happening the escape route was cut off by the flames. The remaining ants eventually perished as the fire slowly dried and consumed the log.
As I read this analogy I was struck by how much like those ants I can be sometimes. When life gets uncomfortable and I am forced out of my slumber by some force outside of my control my immediate response is to run back and forth along a familiar path, clinging to what I already know, repeating a well worn pattern of behavior while everything around me is destroyed. The time to make a change, to jump off the log, is early in the process, if I wait too long the escape route will be cut off and I’ll be trapped. But I’m often so caught up in the immediate discomfort of the moment that I am unable to see beyond it to figure out what’s really happening. Like the ants all I can comprehend is the discomfort caused by the heat, by the time I see the flames it’s already too late.
As I move into 2014 and the second half of my life it is my hope and prayer that I will become more in-tune with the world around me so that I can live outside of the container I have built and not be so tied to my old patterns that I miss opportunities to get off a burning log and really live.
Peace be with you…