Earlier this week, on one of the warmest days we've had here in months, I decided to take a walk on the beach, and I soon discovered that I have not outgrown my desire to collect every pretty rock I come across. But knowing that I don't have anywhere to put a bunch of rocks, or anything to do with them other than look at them, I took a picture of my favorite rocks and left the beach with just one piece of sea glass in my pocket.
Although it seems I've learned some restraint when it comes to picking up actual rocks, the thing that lead me to taking some alone time on the beach that day was my habit of collecting metaphorical rocks.
A program I'm trying to help out with is fading away due to lack of attendance and people start to ask questions, that's a rock in my pocket.
The food bank runs out of community donations again despite my best efforts, and another rock goes in my pocket.
My apartment starts to get messy because I don't have the energy to make myself clean it after working all day, and another huge rock goes in.
I try to make a newsletter that's supposed to include "success stories" and my mind goes blank. If my newsletter was about things I feel like I haven't done well enough, it would be ten pages long.
Whenever this habit comes up in conversation with people who know me and care about me, which it has several times this week, I'm advised to stop taking everything so personally, and stop being so hard on myself.
I would love to take this advice, if only I knew how. I've been called sensitive for as long as I can remember, and maybe my habit of carrying things in my mind is rooted in that sensitivity. But if losing that sensitivity means I stop caring about things that really matter to me, like running the food bank well, and contributing to my job and my church in helpful ways, then maybe I don't want to lose it.
I think I'm always going to be a rock collector, whether it's the occasional pretty stone I find on the beach, or the things I care about that I carry around in my mind. I just need to find a way to have a rock box for my metaphorical rocks, because they are to heavy for me to always hold them in my mind.