The following is the first two paragraphs of the piece I wrote on Wholeheartedness/Wholeness, over at Redbud this month. It took a lot for me to try and reorganize my ideas around what those words mean: Wholehearted/Wholeness. I went on a kick a couple years back where these were my Words, and I’m in a place in my own life where I’m struggling once again with what those mean. What it means to live toward wholehearted, so I feel like maybe I could have written quite a lot more here…and maybe I will post some of the more uncut version of this piece as time moves on, but in the meantime, I’m still calibrating. If you take time to follow the link and read, lead me a comment over on Redbud, I’d love to see you.
Standing in front of the little, coffee cart, waiting for the first customers of the day, I start the morning recalibrating the professional grinder. When the weather is cold, the beans need a little more motivation to release their oils, and so a smaller grind. When it is warm, the beans expand and let go and the coarser grind works beautifully to produce perfect, creamy, espresso. This calibration is not automatic. It requires a small shift in the gears around the grinder, a tiny movement which requires slow and practiced patience to make sure the gears don’t move too much, or too little. A tightening of the arm muscles to match the resistance of the movement, and then a whisper soft touch as you push the gear one way for fine, one way for coarse, and then a smaller movement as you recalibrate. Perhaps in a temperature-controlled building, this would happen once a day, however, in an outdoor set-up—at the mercy of the elements—this attention to grind, and recalibration is constant.
A life of recalibration
I live a life of constant recalibration. My habits and practices are reflections of the small intentional movements toward what I hope is a life of wholeness. Healthy habits are not always fun, not the things we want to do. Habits are disciplines, and in this Lenten season, these practices (for those of us who acknowledge and attempt a practice within the season) become more of a focus: reorienting of our diet, our exercise routine, our times of prayer, our time with family, our lessening of screen time, our reliance on dessert or alcohol or any other regular go-to. Building habits requires so much practice—anyone who has played a sport that requires any conditioning can tell you how exhausting, and how painful, practice can be. They will also tell you that practice is necessary in order to excel at that sport, or that instrument, or …
While I am attempting to constantly recalibrate my habits in order to live wholeheartedly, wondering whether the habits are reflecting my loves, and whether the puzzles of my daily life add up to wholeheartedness, I sometimes lose the goal. I lose the focus on why wholeheartedness is important to build communities of love. What good does that do in my daily life? In yours? In the life of my family? My church? And if my desires are for the kingdom, why do I really just want a cigarette and a good hot medium roast ethiopian coffee….recalibrate, recalibrate, recalibrate.