I'm posting late this week. My "vacation" is about a day from over now. We've turned over the old house for inspection, and I'm about 15-20 piles of leaves from having the new house in order--well, at least on the outside.
Amid all of this juggling of houses, church responsibilities, and trying to at least salvage an extra hour or two of sleep in the mornings for myself, I've honestly never felt more judged.
Now, before you whip out tiny fiddles, please hear me correctly. No whining here. This isn't the judgment that comes with the cliché we toss around about strict, Pharisaical church-folk (not to judge). No, I mean actually being judged.
There's always a choice: make the effort to retrieve the security deposit; or cut your losses and depart effortlessly. If we're cutting losses, who cares? But if we make the valiant (and possibly futile) effort to get back what's rightfully ours, then we subject ourselves to the judgment of those holding the prize. And that's a real thing. Trust me. Every swipe of the cloth, flip of the mop, and lunge of the vacuum is a reminder that someone will see. Someone will judge your work and determine its value.
One week into this venture, I had already gone through the gambit of emotional responses.
"Forget this! It ain't worth it."
"Man, I really hope they approve."
"You know, regardless, this seems like the right thing to do."
It's the last emotion that has stuck; and, at least for me, it's a good lesson about "judgment." The first two responses did little more than stir dread and set anxiety into motion. Frustrated, I could never get moving. The inertia of dread is like a bug in molasses, except bitterness and not sweetness drives the viscosity. Fear of approval just discombobulated me, and that made even the simplest of tasks overwhelming. Somewhere mid-journey it just simply became all about doing the work. The right way was to (a) understand that there's just no substitute for hard work and (b) to actually do what I'm doing and do nothing else.
Sure, there's always a faster, smarter, and more attractive plan to any plan. But no plan is a plan unless I work it with full integrity. Hard work is a choice. Just like we made the choice to earn back our security deposit, we make a choice to give ourselves over to the job at hand.
And that leads to another principle: the point is not how I'm doing something but, rather, that I'm doing it fully (mindfully). In such, the doing takes on a sacredness. Future and past keep nagging, but when we do something fully (mindfully), having made the choice to give ourselves over fully to the particular task at hand, the present moment swells. We exist almost timelessly. It's hard to tell whether we do the work or the work does us.
There can be no judgment in that zone. And if there were, who cares? The work we're doing (or that's doing us) doesn't ask for or need any judgment. It simply begins and ends, as do all things.
Matthew 6.25-34? Maybe. It's not over yet, but there's a sense of an ending. I neither want it nor dread it. What's left? What's undone? I'll just meet it and welcome it...and just do it.