Sunday, August 4, 2019

Are You An Over-Analyzing Ponderer?

As you may know by now, I like to collect quotes.  Well, as might be expected, I found a piece of paper the other day with a quote on it from the movie As Good as it Gets.  I have no idea how it ended up on my desk because I don’t remember watching the movie recently, but then again, I don’t really remember yesterday, so no surprise there.

Anyway, it comes from the character Jack.  He says, “I’m drowning and you’re describing the water.”

Isn’t that a great quote? I have no idea of the context of his line in the movie, but whenever lines like that jump out at me, I have to write them down.

Jack’s line makes me think of how unhelpful we can be sometimes to those who are in crisis. If you take his drowning metaphorically, it could mean any number of things.

Maybe the person you work with is drowning emotionally.  Maybe the stranger you meet on the street is struggling just to get by.  Maybe you are feeling overwhelmed, exhausted or desperate. Then there are those that are feeling lonely, isolated and depressed.

There is a lot of pain—a lot of drowning—happening around us, most every day.
Jack’s cry for help, “I’m drowning” is met, as is so often the case, with a description of what is happening to him—a description of the water in which he is drowning.  

Not so helpful.

This strikes a chord with me, because, you see, I’m one of those people who like to figure things out.  I ponder.  I analyze.  I try to figure cause and effect.  But, it’s possible that maybe that’s the equivalent of “describing the water.”

Sometimes I have to stop myself from over-analyzing and just accept.  I wonder if this habit of trying to figure things out comes from wanting to fix things, or at least make them better. Maybe it’s the mother in me. 

That’s what we do, isn’t it?

Or maybe it’s simply human nature.  God put loving, compassion hearts in us and from that comes a very real desire to help others.  But, all the pondering and over-analyzing in the world cannot necessarily change things.

I have found there is a real freedom in letting go of needing to figure things out and breathing in reality.  Maybe, sometimes, there is no reason why things go the way they go and maybe there isn’t really much we can do about it.

I remember a line from another movie or television show—I have no idea which one—that in responding to someone’s guilt, came the reminder, “You’d don’t have that kind of power.” 

Wow.  Great line.

In other words, we seem to think we can always do something about a situation, when in reality, maybe we can’t.  Or we feel guilty like we caused something, and maybe we didn’t.   

Truth is, we just don’t have the power to control what other people do or think.

You’ve heard the line, “He is God and I am not”?  Well, maybe we need to embrace that just a little more.

Submitting ourselves to God is a beautiful thing. 

We work with him, and through the prompting of the Holy Spirit we may be moved to act, but in the end, when we (or those around us) are drowning, our confidence must lie in the one who has given us life-giving water.

Janet Cassidy

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