The Simply Vital Over Urgent Life

Photo courtesy of Wanted

The news rocked me for several reasons. We can start with it wasn’t expected. It wasn’t. Or the fact hat it was death and death has this permanency about it. And to date only Jesus has been the one to come back from death. I think that’s just a smidge unfair, He was already perfect when He walked the earth.  Then there’s the age thing. He was but a year or two older than me. And then the memories. Oh the good funny like family memories. It hurt. I hurt.

I woke up in the middle of the night in a ball. My knees were in my chest, my head bowed down, my arms drawn in. Stretching out hurt. By the way,  I am the person who sprawls over the bed. Yet I found myself small and closed and replaying the news of his death. I tried to go back to sleep and it didn’t work, so I checked and responded to emails. The rest of the night was a blur and I eventually fell back asleep because I woke up to the sun light and the soft ring of my alarm.

I wasn’t ready to go to work and it took me a little over an hour to get out of bed, dress in the easiest most work appropriate thing I could find and walk what seemed like the longest seven minutes to the office. My goal was to talk as little as possible, mostly because I was already over tears coming down instead of words coming out.

Photo courtesy of Franz Ghz as pinned on 

I went home for lunch as per usual and used the time to catch up with one of my beloved east coasters.I’m just angry. Not really about the death. It happens. I’ve just been thinking a lot lately about really wanting to make sure I’m living the life I was meant to live and this isn’t it. I have a day full of foolishness, meetings to address the same messes that I tried to address before, of things that aren’t important and that makes me angry. Life’s too short.” She understood. Her cousin, only a few years older than me died the week before. I looked at the rest of the day and cancelled anything that wasn’t absolutely necessary.

In his book, The One Life Solution, a book on living an integrated life, Dr. Henry Cloud talks about the urgent versus the vital. The urgent often masks itself as vital and is what leads us to feelings of being overwhelmed. anxious, stressed, unstable, etc. The vital often elicits similar emotions, but the reality of the vital differs from the urgent. The reality of the vital is that if left undone or tended too their are serious ramifications.  He urge us to look at our lives in terms of urgent and vital, and to tend to that which is vital. That which provides sustenance, not that which gives us a false sense of accomplishment and success, i.e. the urgent.

My day was full of the urgent. It was full of placating gatherings to create a sense of faux action towards a myriad of issues. I had the agendas, trust me, it was more about the sense of doing than doing. Furthermore there was nothing that would happen in those meetings with or without me that would adversely impact anything. It wasn’t vital.

Photo courtesy of Hair Love Art as pinned on

What was vital on the other hand was me. My depleted, hurting, hungry but way too nauseous to eat self. my need to process my reaction to the loss, beyond the shock, the sadness, and the lingering anger. My need to stop was vital, I’d been just going and going and going. I was overriding my finiteness and his death was a crystal clear reminder of human finiteness.

If I’m really honest I’ve been thinking a lot about how I’m living for the past month. My faith has played a huge role in it. It’s the Lenten season and I have so enjoyed reading the gospels of the new testament with an online community. The thing is, you, I, can, only read of the horrible ways Jesus was treated in order for me as Christian to live an abundant life before I’m like “Crapiola, I am not living the life this dude was tortured and murdered for.”  I’d read about the crucifixion of Christ twice before I ever got word of the death. The death just was a real time, 2015, version of what I and my online community have been reading. It was just a very real reminder of a life I’d let get full of the urgent and give way to the vital.

Here’s what I’m saying good reader, if you’ve got the slightest inkling that you’r living in the urgent check your vital signs. Stop with the I’m too young or the I’m too old. it’s too expensive or no one will hire me, it’s a hobby no one would actually pay for this, it’s been years, I’ve got kids, we’re trying to have a kid, and all the other excuses that lead to living in the urgent. And usually the urgent is just the beck and call of others. It’s a life that if you really look at it is controlled by everyone but you, others deciding how things ought to be. The vital life incorporates you and others. It’s integrated. It highlights that which you need to live well aside from others, but also makes space for the things in your life that you do with others that feeds your soul to thrive as well.

Photo courtesy of Precious 

I am in a job that has some absolutely amazing components, and I sincerely mean absolutely amazing,  and then there’s some absolutely awful ones. This job has been the highest title, level of responsibility, and salary that I’ve had in my entire career. I was beyond proud to have achieved all of that before turning 30. But when I check my vital signs, the report is a but sketchy. When I monitor my life, and if it is one that reflects what I know I was purposed to do, there’s an IV drip that helps keep me going. When I reach out to friends and they say I don’t sound like me anymore, I know that I can either choose the urgent (needing a job in the first place, maintaining one with quite the level of prestige in my field and decent salary, tell myself it’s just the transition and transitions are always hard, etc.) or pay attention and tend to the vital. When we are void of healthy vitals signs we’re dead. I know that sounds a little grim or maybe cynical but the reality is when there is a medical emergency the first thing medical professionals do is check vital signs. Vital signs are signs of life. If yours or mine are faint, we are faint, we are becoming lifeless and I don’t know about you, but I choose to LIVE. Furthermore, I’m not letting things or people pull the plug on my life, I’ll pull it first and declare a situation or relationship dead, DNR, before I am the one declared dead. 

And the first thing I am going to do to tend to my vital signs, is take a vacation. Keep reading and I promise to keep you posted about it. Tend to your vitals, let go of the urgent, keep LIVE-ing and have a great week! xxoo #vitaloverurgent

Photo courtesy of Lauryn Josephine as pinned on

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