Stanley and the Merry-Go-Round

When I was young the playgrounds in my town all had those small Merry-Go-Rounds. We especially enjoyed it when one of the dads used his muscles to leave us holding on for dear life. Well…except Stanley.

He always insisted on stopping everything so he could get off. Eye rolling friends sighed, slowed everything down and let him off. But most of us absolutely loved the tummy tickle that built as we spun faster and faster.

Do you ever feel like your life is spinning away from you? Like Stanley, does life get to a certain pace and then yell to stop it and get off?

I felt that way recently. Between getting one house ready to sell and looking for another; having Benny’s mom with us for a couple of weeks as we discussed and experienced the real-life changes her moving to Florida with us will require; helping out with grandchildren; carpooling my daughter to college and other activities; working part time for my son; keeping up (or trying to!) with normal responsibilities of caring for my family; juggling various family and church events in our home; and serving alongside Benny in our new church, I’ve heard “Get me off of here!” echoing through my heart.

Yet when I look at my list of responsibilities I don’t see anything that can go!

The fury of activity in my life feels out of control at times. Sometimes I feel people yanking at me in different directions. I don’t always prioritize things well and end up using my time unwisely, which results in tasks piling up. When I have to say no to a request by someone I love I battle guilt and wish for simpler days when I could be more consistently available to help with cleaning, babysitting or meals. My crowded thoughts sometimes tempt me to feel scattered, unable to fully concentrate on the task at hand because the to-do list calling me looms.

I went through a season a couple of years ago when my laundry didn’t pile up and the house stayed tidy because my responsibilities had waned and I was looking for things to do once the day’s tasks were completed. Wow, did that season end! Now my life is full of time consuming though meaningful people and responsibilities. Additionally, the circumstances through which I and those close to me are walking are weightier now that my friends, my kids, my husband and I are older.

What do we do when life is either slower or faster than we would like?

I’m finding fresh comfort and strength in a familiar passage from Psalm 16:

“Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places. Surely I have a delightful inheritance” (vs 5-6).

In Old Testament times a rope or cord was used to mark the parameters of an owners property. David’s faith in God as the one who established his boundaries is beautifully communicated here.

“David was assured of God’s help, counsel, and guidance (vs 7). Because he continually focused on the Lord, he knew he could not be shaken” (Women’s Evangelical Commentary: Old Testament).

Over the past week I have found fresh comfort in the truth that God has marked off my boundaries. Of course, sometimes we decide on the boundaries. Either through selfish protection of “my” time we neglect to help and serve others, making our boundaries close and comfortable. Or perhaps love of prominence or enjoying being needed by others tempts us to stretch out our boundaries further than we have the capacity to wisely manage.

Whether our boundaries are closer in or further out than we would like, when the lines have been established by God we have no room to complain. Like David, we can pray for eyes to see how pleasant they are — even when things aren’t going as we would like.

Poor Stanley. He just couldn’t take it when the merry-go-round spun fast. He was smart to get off rather than humiliate himself by puking all over everyone. But the rest of us liked it. Some people can simply handle life spinning at a faster pace than others.

More on that tomorrow.


3 thoughts on “Stanley and the Merry-Go-Round

  1. Reblogged this on The Romantic Vineyard and commented:
    Today we want to share with you an excellent post from a dear friends about the dangers of judging others self-righteously because they’re different. We can do this in our marriages as well. Read and see if Stanley doesn’t teach us all a valuable lesson.

  2. I’m more like Stanley. In fact, looking at the photo you have shown here actually made me a little dizzy (I’m not kidding). When I was younger it would not have. Thank you for putting it out there that God has a good plan for each of us and it is not the same plan that our neighbor or friend has for them. Comparison can be a downward spiral. My God has established my borders in very good places.

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