Yesterday I listened to Joel Olsteen. I hadn’t caught his program for awhile, and I was taken by his use of an interesting metaphor. He suggested creating a file folder in our minds for “things we don’t understand.” A novel idea. Most of us have folders for the details of our lives: medical insurance, taxes, bills, family stuff. But things I don’t understand? Hmm
I visualize file folders pretty well. I use them daily. I now have two file cabinets in my office; one for personal organization and one for my writing. Both are crammed full and are begging for a third, but I refuse to give in. Instead I’ve bought baskets that are placed around the office with important “stuff” like the novel I’m trying to write, short stories that need to be submitted, and assignments for my current class.
I recently learned about the differences between the brains of men and women.
We women are able to multi-task better it seems. We can rummage around in many files at the same time without losing track of our goals. A last minute item needed at the store, what to thaw for dinner, Mary’s flute lesson, Tom’s football practice, the dry-cleaning, the monthly report due at work on Wed., the recent recall on the Honda. You get my gist.
Men, however, compartmentalize. They have lots of file folders, and they take them out one at a time. Work – open, complete. Anniversary – shop, complete. Call mom. Men don’t open files until they are needed, so mom’s phone call folder won’t come to the forefront until much later in the week, just moments before he needs to make the call. Wife folder will pop open as he drives into the garage; dinner when he is called; sex depending on how bored he is with the football game on TV.
But I digress.
I had never thought of a file for everything I don’t understand. I have taken a liking to the premise of creating one. It would be a very full file, I can tell you that. Why did my mother die when she was 57? Why did my last relationship not work out? Why did my last five submissions get rejected? Oh, it could go on and on, believe me.
I tend to be a dweller, a worrier, a planner and doer, a control freak my kids might say. I think it through a dozen different ways. I constantly say, once I understand it, I can accept it and move on. Letting go can be very hard for me.
According to Olsteen, God doesn’t always tell us the “why”, and not everything makes sense at that moment. Sometimes the answers come later, and sometimes the answer is withheld. Whether you are a Christian, a Buddhist or non-religious, I think we all react in similar ways. Few people can take a negative experience and put it aside quickly. And sometimes our season of mourning turns into a lifetime of mourning before we realize it has happened.
I’m considering this new system. I open my brain, open the file, and pop it in. No sweat. No time at all. I simply place the unexplained situation into the folder and close it. God may open the file later and throw me some hints or maybe even a strong observation. He may, much later, make His will perfectly clear, and I will have one of those ah-ha moments of understanding. Either way, once it is filed, I free up my heart to happiness and my mind to better things.
Though knowing me, God may have to slap my hand when I try to re-open it!