Saturday, June 19, 2010

Integrity and My Dis-integrated Life

I've been pondering the meaning of the word "integrity". I thought recently of "disintegrate" and how it should mean the opposite of integrity but I take it to mean to dissolve or to crumble or fall apart which didn't immediately seem to be an antonym. The more I thought about integrity, the more the two words do seem to contrast one another. To me, integrity is all the parts being in accord to define a whole. At this point in my life and in my understanding, integrity means that all aspects of my life work in accord to reflect God; that the many varied selves I am (mother, wife, employee, boss, friend, Friend, citizen, daughter & etc.) are all rooted in the same Source and all reflect God's will for me, more or less in harmony.

I'm a long way off from this. My life does not feel harmonious. My work self has been the defining self, usurping the time and energy from all the other selves I am, disallowing me to nurture and sometimes even be very aware of my other selves. It's not that I don't bring my values to my work--I do--it's that I become so enmeshed in my work that I am not able to step away from it to be fully engaged as most of those other selves. My life is dis-integrated right now.

Which returns me to the question of how I am being called to re-integrate my life so I can live centered on God's will for me. The first step is to define where I am feeling called, followed by the questions and concerns or perceived obstacles.

1. Be car-free
-We live in an area of town with insufficient bus service
-We live too far from most of our daily destinations to be able to walk and/or ride bikes.
-Our schedule is far too tight to be able to allow in the extra 1+ hour each direction that would be required if we were to try to take buses.
+For instance, we live 10 miles from Carmac's school and the drive takes 25 minutes in rush hour traffic. To get him to school by 8:00, we would have to leave at 6:00 am. That, of course, does not include the time it would take to return home/to another location.

2. Less stressful and consuming employment
-Without any formal higher education, it is very difficult to find work that pays well and contributes positively to the world. I work for the most respected university sociology company in the world. I make very good money (unless you figure out what I'm paid hourly for the actual time I work).
+Some of this argument seems to have a lot of ego in it.
-Tuition and potential tuition payments for 3 children.

3. More time for prayer/spiritual practice
4. More time to offer myself in service
-These are both affected by #2 more than anything. If work assumes the proper place in my life, I can have more time and energy for these important facets.


M said...

What an awesome exercise!

Eric H-L said...

I am totally holding your concerns in the light and if its God's plan may way open soon!
Many of us are in similar situations: with the weak job market, un-Godly economic system and transportation system decks stacked against us. You struggle to follow the call in spite of the infrastructural/institutional obstacles. (I know you can't wait until after the revolution!)May your faithful example inspire me to drive less, work less for money, and work more on bringing down the car free kingdom with an economic system that promotes balanced lives. I don't know where to start but I don't want my kids to swim upstream on these issues...

Anonymous said...

This is a "don't push send" retraction. I meant the sentence about the revolution as a funny way to say something serious and I did not realize it was stated ambiguously. I don't know what your politics are and I don't mean to attribute political views to you. What I meant was...
Look at the system: it needs changing! But I wanted to assure you that I support individual solutions because we all don't live long enough to wait until after the system has changed...

Friendly Mama said...

No worries. Since I was a kid, I've thought of myself as being a catalyst for change. I identify what's old, outgrown, uncomfortable, broken and in need of change and then struggle to find a new way on personal, community and societal levels. I could go around railing at everyone else but it has to start with me or it is meaningless to me and to everyone. So, talking about the revolution feels about right. "let peace begin on Earth and let it begin with me".

Anyway, don't worry about offending me, Eric. I know your intentions to be good. If I'm not sure about something you say, I'll ask what you mean. We haven't met but I feel we're friends and I can trust you.
Be well,
Mary Linda

Eric H-L said...

Mary Linda,
Glad that worked out OK even though I inadvertantly sent it with no name!
Signed Eric