Saturday, January 5, 2013

A Practice of Evolution

I got into an interesting conversation earlier about evolution-- sort of.   Not about the origins of people or anything like that, but more along the lines of the way people adapt to circumstances throughout years and generations.  While the mere mention of the "E" word sends some into a tail spin, aren't we all hoping that we're evolving-- at least on the basest level of the definition?  Aren't we all hoping that we are becoming better and stronger and learning from our past mistakes so that we can do something better in the future?

I'm  in an interesting place right now-- a place where I'm purposefully thinking about and, sometimes, recording my evolution.  Part of it is the age and life stage where I am now-- if I thought I became an adult when I turned 21, I was wrong.  I was old enough to do all the "fun" adult things, but my thought processes are just now really shifting into adult thoughts.  I'm evolving in my identity from the pastor of a 40-member church to the Head-of-staff of a much larger, downtown, "First Presbyterian" kind of church.  And I'm evolving in the ways I'm living in my body-- which is what the Pudgy Parson is all about. I'm grateful for those small evolutions.

But I'm also becoming increasingly aware of the places where I'm not evolving-- places where I'm stuck doing the same things I've always been doing.  Since I was a child, I've always had a hard time drinking enough water.  I've been stupidly dehydrated (to the point of doing stupid and dangerous things) more than a few times in my life.  I know that my body needs a certain amount of liquid to do all the things a body does.  And yet I went to train yesterday, stupidly dehydrated.  I mentally thought back, and realized the only time I've been sucking in any water was while I was at the gym.

Of course, that's only one place where I seem not to be getting the evolution memo.  As I've been sidelined from some general, unnamable malaise and barely-functional exhaustion (that admittedly let me watch Matthew McConaughey, but also kept me from going on a mini-trip that I was looking forward to), I've had the chance to read through some old blogs.  Here's one where I was apparently so tired that I considered it a gift to be sick. Here's one where I was too tired to do Thanksgiving. And Here's one that was written when I was apparently so drained by the world that I wrote a whole thing on the holiness of white sheets.  Yeah.  When I look back at the times those were written, I see a pattern.  That I push myself for weeks on end and then crash and burn.  That I literally go until I can't.  That sometimes I let the world set my priorities for me, and then wonder why I'm floundering.

Some things are so easily changed.  But then there are some things, some lessons, that seem to need to be learned over and over.  I didn't set a new years resolution this year ("lose weight" seemed a little blase after the last few months!)  But now, I'm setting an intention for the year, a word that will hang on to for the next 51 weeks:  Evolve.   I don't care much about theories of evolution, but I care about making a practice of evolution.