Learning to Brake
Sarah woke up with a morning ritual. A cup of coffee, an open journal and an open Bible were all on the table in front of her. She took a sip of coffee and closed her eyes. The coffee slid down her throat warmly and she allowed herself to enjoy it. In her mind she saw Michelle as a little girl, maybe two or three years old. They were at the park and Michelle was afraid to go down the slide. Sarah pleaded with her to come on down. From the top of the slide, Michelle was crying and refusing to go. Other children were behind her waiting their turn. It was only a moment before their patience was out and they were yelling at her and calling her names. Sarah saw herself move to the end of the slide and coax Michelle down the slide, “I will catch you honey.” Michelle looked at her mother and pushed herself down the slide. Sarah scooped up Michelle with a big hug at the bottom of the slide. After that it seemed that Michelle was fearless. She would go as fast as possible on the merry go round. She insisted on swinging as high as possible. Then Sarah remembered a time when Michelle must have been about six or seven. They were at the same park having a picnic. Michelle insisted on taking a sandwich and a cookie to the homeless man that seemed to have set up camp near the slide. Sarah was proud of her baby that day.
Sarah opened her eyes and said, “What happened?” Sarah began writing questions and thoughts in her journal and then opened her Bible and started reading. She began with Psalm 23 and then went to the Gospels reading a section. When she was done she started to put away her journal when a folded piece of paper fell out. Sarah opened it slowly and looked at it. It was from a blog that she had read long ago and had printed out. She tried to remember who wrote it but coming up with no answers she simply stopped to read it again.
Today we are going to talk about learning to brake. Stopping once in awhile is a great idea. It will revolutionize your life. To be honest it is not rocket science. Pick a place that does not have distractions, have a notebook and pen handy, and sit. That is it. Think about the day’s or the week’s challenges and think about solutions. I am a solution focused type guy. My take on it is that if you focus on the problems, your problems get bigger. If you focus on the solution, your solutions get bigger. But however you do it, sit and think. Consider your health, your dreams, your family, your faith or whatever else comes to mind. Chase after any positive thought train and take a pass on any negative thoughts. Typically I will also focus on breathing and praying. What a difference it makes to simply stop and breathe and allow my brain to catch up with my body. I find myself to be more effective, optimistic and productive.
Sarah smiled and put away the paper. That is when she realized that is what happened. When Michelle turned eleven, Sarah had gone back to work fulltime. Sarah was going full tilt, always aiming at that next promotion. She never took a day off and was constantly on the phone with “the office”. Sarah never stopped to brake. There was never time for Michelle or for Sarah’s husband. Nothing would stop her from succeeding. Friends had warned her slow down. She needed to spend more time considering how she would stop more often.
Mike walked quietly down the street. He really did love the days that they had the Freedom Clubs. These men and women had become his friends. He still felt the pain of what he knew was a relapse by Bruce. Long ago he had quit blaming himself. There was nothing he could have done to prevent this from happening. It still hurt though. While it was fairly warm out, Mike could see by the movement of the clouds that it was likely going to rain.
Roger sat in a little café not far from the mission. Occasionally he had stopped in here to drink coffee just so that he was not alone. Today, he actually ordered a full meal. Glancing around he noticed that the people eating there were all very different from each other. Some were skinny and some rather plump. It seemed like a good mix of races and cultures were represented. There were a few in nice clothes and others were shabbily dressed. The only thing that seemed the same is that they all appeared to be happy as they ate their burger or their pie. Roger nibbled a bit and just enjoyed the moment of being alone. He could almost sense the strength of being in a community. He wondered why he had never noticed it before.
The sky might have been overcast but not anywhere in Rosie’s world. When she woke up Fredrick was gone. She did wonder where he was. As she cleaned the house she also wondered what to do now. She also puzzled over why he didn’t use his key to come in the night before. While she had planned on changing he locks that simply had not happened yet.
Angie fixed her hair in the broken mirror. “Someday I will need to get that fixed. Maybe I can do that when my life slows down a little.” Looking around the small bathroom in her apartment she wondered when it had gotten so cluttered. “Angie you are living like a pig. Pull yourself together, girl.” Angie put on some lipstick, grabbed her keys and took off out the door. Moments later she was racing down the interstate weaving in and out of traffic. In her mind she was a NASCAR driver outsmarting and outthinking other drivers. A couple of times she cringed a bit as she nearly bumped other cars. Suddenly, the road ahead seemed to clear out. Angie smiled and put her foot down hard on the gas. Her Mustang was her pride and joy. Rarely, did the highway open up like this and Angie was ecstatic as the engine roared. That is until she saw the police car around the bend and knew instantly that the officer had her number. Most of the cars that she had so stealthily passed earlier slowed down as they passed her. Shame overcame her. In the mirror she watched as the officer walked up to the window with a ticket in her hand. Handing it to Angie she heard the officer say, “You really need to slow it down.”
Bruce sat in the library trying to find a safe place to sleep where no one would notice him. He could never understand why the librarians would not simply let him get some sleep.
Michelle fidgeted in her orange jumpsuit. The judge had allowed her to do some community service to work off some of her fines and the supervisor was on his way to get her. Looking in the mirror, Michelle fixed her hair. She was hopeful that she would see her boyfriend. There were only a handful of places where they took the workers. He would be looking for her, of that she was certain.