In a moment of overwhelming frustration, my (quite competent) daughter said, “I’m struggling. I have too many tabs open in my brain!” Tabs? She, of course, is a young adult who is wired in her business and her personal life. Her computer has many tabs open at the same time: calendar, email, finances, business orders, kids’ schedules, etc. The tabs are vital, and she switches from one to another seamlessly, but, often, she realizes there is another tab needing attention.
I’ve been thinking about “open tabs.” I cannot go through one day without multiple demands. There are the routine daily chores of meal preparation, grocery shopping, lunch meetings, church schedules, writing assignments plus the relaxing times of napping and watching television sports. However, there are also the tabs of projects—writing, grant development, fundraising, family care for distant relatives, and my own health appointments. Everyone talks about multi-tasking but we can only do things one at a time. It’s the order of the “tabs,” the energy required of the “tabs,” and the “stress tabs” of negativity, mistakes and failures that add up in our lives. I need to close some tabs!
Prairie View, Inc. has many “tabs.” There are the obvious roles of administration, medical staff, professional service. There is also the daily routine of therapy, strategy meetings, conversation, consultations, documentation, repairing and cleaning. There are the demands of fundraising, regulations and public communication. Lots of “tabs” are open all the time—some routine, some in times of crisis.
Serendipity also struck me when I read the Gospel section often called the Beatitudes found in Matthew 5. A lot has already happened to Jesus—his baptism, his wilderness temptations, and then his proclamation as he begins preaching in Galilee. He saw the crowds and he began teaching them: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” That begins a list of nine “blessed” sayings. They are the “tabs” of the Gospel. They probably should be open all the time!
Sometimes when life seems overwhelming, it’s good to close a few “tabs” and reduce the number of demands and focus on the blessings. Certainly, I believe the open “blessed tabs” are part of fruitful and healthy living. But I also believe that when we are unable to sort things into the right tabs, it’s time to ask for help, slow down and focus on the comforting words from Jesus. “Blessed are the meek”; “Blessed are those who hunger for righteousness”, etc. It’s a time to talk to a caring professional and a trusted friend. It’s time to remember that there are places of healing and hope ready to assist in re-ordering life which may mean closing some tabs and opening some new tabs.
Re-read Matthew 5 and find new ways to be grounded in God’s love.
Rev. Dorothy Nickel Friesen is a retired pastor and former Prairie View Board member.