Jeremy Statton

Living Better Stories

To Simply Be

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My wife and I recently afforded the opportunity to take a trip. By ourselves.

Three nights away. Three nights of choosing what we wanted. Three nights of eating out without anybody throwing food or spilling milk. Three days of quiet, except for the sounds of the city.

Just the two of us and the whims of our own will.

As you can imagine, we had a wonderful time. The purpose of the trip was to relax. To recharge. To let go of the tension in our lives. To do what the craziness of our normal day to day lives typically prevents.

To simply be.

Letting Go of the Tension

On the way back, we took the train to the airport. I predicted poorly how long it would take us.

Years ago we missed a flight  because we didn’t check-in early enough. Unknown to me, the airport had a 45 minutes prior to departure minimum check-in time. We attempted to check-in at 44 minutes. It amazed me how unforgiving the system could be over sixty little seconds. I have never forgotten the feeling of missing that flight.

Realizing we would be cutting it close, I felt the same tension building inside of me. As we sat on the train, I stared at my watch, watching each second tick away.

When we arrived at the desk to check-in, it wasn’t too late. But the agent did warn us that she could not guarantee our bags would make it. I could tell by the look on her face that she was accustomed to angry responses to her routine statement.

photo by Beth Jusino

photo by Beth Jusino

Realizing that it didn’t matter and that the problem was out of our hands and that it could definitely be worse, I decided to let go of the tension.

“If they do, they do,” I said, dismantling the tensions between us.

I chose to accept what was. It was time to move on and let go of what i couldn’t control. To stop worrying.

To simply be.

Visual Confirmation

We made our way to the gate and boarded the plane. I sat down next to the window and pulled a book out of my bag, trying to soak the last few minutes of the beautiful peace and quiet before we came back home to the interruption of six kids. I opened my book and settled in.

Suddenly I snapped to attention, as if waking up from a dream. The book sat on my lap, ignored. It was faced down, opened across my leg at the same page I started. And I realized that I was staring out of the window, mesmerized.

I was watching the baggage handlers load the suitcases onto the airplane. Each suitcase was thrown from a trailer onto a conveyor belt, which carried them into the belly of the plane. I was hypnotized by the slow methodical process.

And all of the tension I had felt on the train and had tried to let go of was back. I was watching to see if our suitcases would make it. I was hoping that they would, as if somehow my life would be better with the visual confirmation.

I stopped being and started worrying.

Missing Out on Being

If you had asked me what I wanted most out of that moment in my life, it was too read. To enjoy the last few minutes of the quiet and solitude because I don’t normally get it.

But instead, I chose something different. I chose to stare out of the window, hoping to relieve the tension I felt inside. I chose to be anxious, even though I had already admitted it didn’t matter.

How often do we let this happen in a given day? How often do we know what we need to do, but do something else? And how often do we do this even when we know we can’t change things?

How often do we let that which feels urgent distract us from that which is really important?

How often do we miss out on the chance to simply be?

Have you ever let the urgent distract you from the important?

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About Jeremy Statton

Jeremy is a writer and an orthopedic surgeon. When not ridding the world of pain, he helps you live a better story. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook or Google +.

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10 Replies

  1. A reminder I need all the time, Jeremy. It reminded me of Paul’s internal struggle with sin in the book of Romans… Why do I always do what I know I shouldn’t do?? It’s a battle we face daily. We know the best thing for us to do (the healthy thing) but that stubborn human inside us chooses differently so often.

  2. As always, Jeremy, you’ve hit the nail on the head. Many times, it’s not so much that the urgent distracts us, although we do stop to put out that fire, whatever it may be. However, when it’s time to return to the important, we’re worn out from fighting w/the urgent! And the important gets placed on the back burner once again…

  3. katina vaselopulos

    Another great post, Jeremy! I know where you are coming from, both the “important” that demands our attention, and the absolutely essential of just been.
    Funny story the story of your trip is so similar to ours in so many ways: the lost lockage, the stressing that cannot be avoided no matter how much you try, the fascinating views from the tiny windows, the book that stays either in the pocket of the front seat or in lap with an unturned page….
    I do a great deal for other…family members, neighbors, and friends, and very little for me. 80% of the time, I am there. Just been, even while doing, is my motto and one of the things that saves me and keeps me sane throughout all the tribulations that have him me and my family lately.
    Thanks for validating what I do, for reminding me to strive for 100%.
    Blessings to you and your family!

  4. hasmukh

    yes i do but would love to follow your advice

  5. Rita

    Oh how true this is. Many times i find myself being distracted from the things that should be important, but praise god we have the holy spirit who guides and leads us (he reminds us of the what our purpose are) so that we can get back our focus and move forward with Jesus. Rita

  6. of course we all do. It can help to simply identify those times, not to criticize or judge ourselves, but to realize they happen, and then it can be easier to change something.

  7. You don’t need any validation from me. You lover others and do for them, this is enough.

  8. I don’t have the answer to the being worn out part. I feel it every day. Maybe there are some things we have to let go of.

  9. It is constant, but I wanted to talk about it this one time because it was so obvious and ridiculous. Hopefully talking about it helps us to be cognizant of it which can help to stop being distracted.

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