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  • Jered Stewart

Progress and Balance

Unemployment is at historic lows, the economy has been growing, stock markets are nearing all-time highs. Progress is being made. Mission Towers renovations are moving ahead, Nichols Village expansion is taking shape, Bethany’s supportive services programs are growing. Progress is being made. The Patriots are Superbowl Champions, the Red Sox are reigning World Series champions, and the Bruins may be peaking at the right time of the year. Progress is being made. (for New England sports teams!) Researchers believe there may be a cure for Alzheimer’s, medicine and technology continue to make advancements, and people are living longer and better lives than ever before. Progress is being made - or so we hope.

Lately I’ve been thinking about living a life of balance in a world that is progressing. Progress can be a good thing. It certainly feels good to complete a project or to advance towards a goal. Progress can also help improve lives. I’d like to think that the progress Bethany has made in the past 54 years has impacted thousands of lives for the better. But progress can also be a dangerous thing, if we allow it to consume us. Progress does not always value the person, and it does not always value rest. There is no time for rest in a world that is “go-go-go.” And as humans, to be most productive we need to take time to rest, reflect, and take care of ourselves. But we humans are an oddity, we don’t always choose to do what we know is best for us. Just ask my children who never want to go to bed at night.

In Wayne Muller’s book, “Sabbath”, he says, “…the time to live and love and give thanks and rest and delight is now, this moment, this day.” Sometimes I think I just need to hear that. I need that reminder. And then I need to just do it. Enjoy the moment. Delight in the day. Remember that it is about the journey and not the destination. We know these things are true, but we struggle to live them. May we consider the negative pressure of progress, and the need to rest. In the long run I think that when we rest well we’re likely more productive, too. If you’re struggling to find a good balance and feel guilty about resting, just remember that the best players in the world sit on the bench sometimes. Everyone plays better when they’ve had a break.

“Our reluctance to rest—our belief that our joy and delight may somehow steal from the poor, or add to the sorrows of those who suffer—is a dangerous and corrosive myth.”

Wayne Muller, “Sabbath”

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