At the risk of mixing far too many metaphors, it seems good to me and the Holy Spirit to share with you a bit of the forest we find ourselves in.
The trees are tall. Day turns to dusk which turns to darkness with lightning quickness. We are not really on a path right now, but we can see more than a few signs in the distance. Some of these routes have bright and busy signs announcing them. A few look tricky. And then there is one that looks as if it is only a tightrope.
Standing in the forest can be confusing, overwhelming, terrifying, and yet there is a sense of being really alive. Your senses are heightened. Your antennae are up. It's those moments when you hear your heartbeat and wonder if it is bothering those around you. It's raw, unrefined, and awesome in a literal sense. Those feelings.
Scientific American describes it this way. "One minute, you're going through your daily routine, only half paying attention. And the next you're sucked into a vivid, intense world, where time seems to move slower, colors are brighter, sounds more perceptible, as though the whole universe has suddenly come into focus... Under acute stress, the body's sympathetic nervous system prepares the body for sustained, vigorous action. The adrenal gland dumps cortisol and adrenaline into the blood stream. Blood pressure surges and the heart races, delivering oxygen and energy to the muscles. It's the biological equivalent of opening the throttle of an engine."
Thus, "How are you doing?" is an unanswerable question. I continue to come back to two words: Perspective and Tension.
In the forest looking for the right path can mess with ones bearings. In navigation, "dead reckoning" is the process of calculating one's current position by using a previously determined position, or fix, and advancing that position based upon known or estimated speeds over elapsed time and course. And guess what? I hate the name. Dead reckoning is a terrible name and it's only accurate in that it might leave you dead. Perspective is of enormous importance to find your spot, where you are going, and the best places for your feet.
Tension is about holding the conflicting items in their proper balance. From fear to joy, chaos to plans, the crowd and the isolation, all need to find their proper tension. Like learning to drive a standard, you have to find the tension and hold it appropriately. And just like learning to drive that clutch, it can be a painful process.
So... today, in this forest. Life is good. We pray for perspective and healthy tension. We know there will be scary moments, but God is so good and this ride is great even if at times terrifying.