Minister’s Musings Among the Mountains Feb. 10 2017

“Give me a break…”

“Give me a break” is a phrase I’ve heard for years. There’s even an old TV show based on the expression. It aired from 1981 to 1987. A song called “Gimme a Break” has been sung by various bands. Its entomology is uncertain but probably has American origins. It generally means an expression of disbelief. If I were to announce at church that I was going to start running marathons people would justifiably say “oh, give me a break…I don’t believe it.”

This Sunday I’m doing what is going to be an unusual Valentine’s Day service. In past years, I’ve talked about Valentine’s Day as history of the expression of love. I’ve also several times invited people from different generational cohorts to speak about ‘their’ favorite love songs. I’d hoped to have people speak about their favorite generational love song this year but no one expressed interest.

I changed the focus of the service to a different approach. Some weeks ago I’d shared the idea that perhaps America was ready for an intervention. “Intervention” here means lovingly confronting someone who is struggling with addiction to a substance or behavior. Part of preparing for an intervention is to plan for it carefully and with the expertise of professionals. Otherwise the addicted person may refuse treatment or even to acknowledge their addiction and how it is causing so much trouble. Intervention is like taking medicine…sometimes bitter but usually necessary to regain one’s health.

Another type of health intervention is to step away from the constant news and drama of the world. “Give me a break” can also mean taking a time out from the flow of information that these days bring to us.

Here is a way to give ourselves a break from the drama of American politics and cultural arguments: take a time out every week from all things IT (Information Technology). Giving ourselves a break is like taking medicine. The song you picked for this coming Sunday is about the medicine of tough love. One of my favorite lines in the song is “There is no medicine on the television/So turn it off and turn yourself around.”

That’s Sabbath time. Take a time out from the endless flow of drama, marketing, and the urgencies of on-line life. I want to take a Sabbath time – a time of rest – from the endless rush of information one day each week. Mine will likely be Monday which is my day off. Can I give myself a break from the stimulation of information downloaded to my iPhone or other computers? I don’t know.

One thing I do know is that preparing for an intervention means to separate ourselves from the stimuli or dramas that have caused such disruptions. People I know who have done interventions say that they had to distance themselves from all the dramas of the addicted person. They needed to take a break so they could think more clearly and less reactively.

The coming weeks, months and probably years will require much work and network building on all our parts. It would be easy to be worn out and overwhelmed at such a time. Take a break. Walk in nature. Play cribbage or poker with friends and agree not to talk about politics. Read a book that’s not on a computer. Help each other take an IT Sabbath day and make it more joyful.

Valentine’s Day is usually about romantic love. How about this year we give ourselves a way to love our heart and mind each week? Turn off the information and turn ourselves around to see, hear, and experience the world.

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