Tending Your Edges (2 of 2)

A kitchen in Alaska

A kitchen in Alaska

Thinking about edges and how they become dull, not just so we can resolve to keep our axe or knife sharp, but because our souls have an edge as well. What makes it get dull?

A tool designed to cut can also become dull through neglect. Even my Swiss army knife becomes dull if I take too many camping trips without touching up its edge.

Dullness can occur through abuse, like cutting things you aren’t supposed to cut. There isn't anything that will send you back to the tailgate of the truck to sharpen your chain saw like cutting into the dirt.

Trying to cut with the wrong tool will dull it. Chopping wood with a butcher knife will get very little wood cut and leave you a very frustrated butcher as well.

If you think about it, we often attribute cutting metaphors to people. If someone is tired, we say they aren’t as sharp as they need to be. If someone is overwhelmed or burned out, we say they have lost their edge. And this makes my point: All edges, even human ones, need to be cared for.

I won’t belabor my point with examples of how we abuse our soul’s edge with drugs, alcohol abuse, a sedentary lifestyle, etc. I think these applications are obvious.

However, I do want to focus on time as a critical component in maintaining our edges as people. It seems almost by the week that life gets more demanding. Dianne and I have no living children and our lives run at a very quick pace. The folks we know with kids, their lives are blindingly fast. From the outside looking in, the pace some folks keep is insane.

You have no doubt read the studies demonstrating that multi-tasking is not efficient. No matter how much we would like to think otherwise, we humans are not capable of multi-tasking and doing quality work. We can’t listen and read, talk on the phone and pay attention to our kids; we can’t text on our phones and drive our cars, and we can’t stay sharp without taking time away to tend our soul’s edge.

And what happens if we abuse our soul's need for time? By implication, it gets dull. But it's actually worse than that. What happens and what to do about it are in the final segment.