When Judith and I lived on the upper West Side of Manhattan, there was one street guy who would almost always have a picture frame hanging around his neck.  “I’ve been framed!” he would yell to passers-by.  And of course, in many ways he was right: Those of us seeing him on the street did in fact put him in a frame, mostly of our own making.

This same man would often walk Judith home from a shift as an auxillary NYPD officer, so that she would be safe on the way.  Was that what any of us would have pictured in our framing of him?

What’s on my mind at the beginning of this Holy Week, is what we may allow, or prevent, by the ways in which we frame our own lives.

If we frame every day with “the news”, if we begin and end each day with a new influx of information, what happens to how we see the world?  If our chosen frame surrounds us with facts, factoids and pieces of events, how does that affect us?  If we frame our time by attending to what this and that expert, or other person, thinks about this and that, what happens to the quality and content of our own thinking about these things?

If we plug into Facebook first and last thing every day, what happens to our understanding of community?  Do our expectations about relationships change?   Do we still have the deeper, slower conversations with friends?  or the civic interactions about the places where we actually live?

If  I frame my week with a sabbath, or religious practice of whatever kind, how does my week change?  When I frame my year by participation in a calendar of holy days, how is this affecting me?  If I frame my day with prayer or meditation, does my life go differently than if I do not do so?

My mind and heart work well, but are unruly.  My thinking can and does jump all over the place when left to its own devices.  And my feelings, being feelings, are tidal, or like the clouds here in Florida–always in motion. No news in any of that.

I need to provide myself ways to frame my days that keep me connected to the world and people outside myself, but also nurture what it is I have to give and to be.  I need to be sure the frame I provide myself is not hindering my own flourishing, or blocking out others who I want to have in the picture with me.  Because I am framing myself and what I do.

I’m interested to hear what any of you have thought or done about this part of living….

 

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