The Next Thing

Do you ever feel you have lost some important part of your identity?  That you have become defined by a role you play?  Or that other people’s demands, or media distractions, are taking too much control of your life?  As a quiet and introspective person in this busy, noisy world, this is a problem with which I am always struggling.

In The Wisdom of Ambrose, Susan Anderson has hit a wall.  She has been her husband’s “helper” so long that she has lost touch with who she is in herself.  From Ambrose, a humble but clumsy bear who inhabits a mythical world, she learns to “just do the next thing,” and finds that she is led to a solution far more effective than her husband’s.

I find I have hit a wall also.  It seems to be a different sort of wall, but yet I sense that Ambrose is speaking to me, too.  My wall has to do with electronics, particularly social media.  The sites are brightly colored, designed to attract our attention, to look fun.  We are pulled in; and before we know it, we are led down this or that rabbit trail, just as Susan’s husband led her to follow his ideas.

“Just do the next thing,” Ambrose tells me.  The challenge – pay attention to what is truly my next thing.  And then do it.  And then do the next.  It’s hard, but when I do, the importunities of electronic media fade into the ether that they are, and all at once, I am really me.

Thank you, Ambrose!

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7 Responses to The Next Thing

  1. Jim says:

    Good thinking! Thanks, Ambrose, for your wisdom. Thanks, Susan, for helping me with disquietude.

  2. K. Reid says:

    “Rabbit trail” certainly describes time spent on social media, or even just the web general. It really can inhibit living our own lives to their fullest. Too many vicarious experiences!

    Doing the next thing, as opposed to reading the next thing, would be key. Thanks, Ambrose!

  3. frthomas says:

    The organic way. The next thing grows/emerges from the current thing. In discipleship vocabulary, the next obedience grows/emerges out of the current obedience.

    Nothing is self-contained. All way/truth/life is an unbroken “flow.”

    Let it flow…

    Yes??

  4. Yes! And what leads to lies and death is also an unbroken flow, isn’t it? The trick is getting onto the right way, and staying there.

  5. frthomas says:

    Another thought on “next thing.” When I put forward the “organic way” I do not mean it in a linear way. For example, an oak tree does not become more of an oak tree when it is 10 years old vs. 2 years old. The next thing is the actualization of the full identity of the oak tree. So, it is not the setting in place of something that is missing so to speak.

  6. That’s a great image of how life works. Following up on it, maybe that is how it is that God answers prayer so unpredictably – we think and expect a response linearly, and He branches off into into some entirely unexpected direction. His infinite number of options is also what allows Him to bring good from any situation, even the most seemingly impossible. With Him in charge of our lives, we too become beings of infinite possibility.

  7. frthomas says:

    Isn’t it wonderful that God the Father created a universe that has a consistency that allows God the Son, in his ministry, to use “how life works” to point to “how LIFE” works ! ! Pretty cool.

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