One Mississippi, Two…

I get on the elevator. Those that know me well, know this is not as simple as it should be for a well-adjusted adult. I hit the button, give myself a mental pep talk and hop in. I engage in a silent count – “One Mississippi. Two Mississippi…” – a technique that I learned as a child to manage uncomfortable situations.

When the elevator door opens, I leap out only to realize that the elevator didn’t stop for me. It stopped for other people waiting to load up and ride the remainder of the way to the lobby.

Now I’m faced with a decision. Do I quickly resume my place on the elevator or act cool, walk to the end of the hall, wait a few seconds, and then come back? I resume my count: “One Mississippi. Two…” I wait at the end of the hall. I totally intended to do that.

I return to the elevator to begin the process again. Done. I land safely in the lobby. I say a silent thank you for my protection and carry on with my business.

In life we encounter a lot of uncomfortable things. Some of those are mild, like riding elevators. Others are extremely painful. I count ‘Mississippi’s’ because I know that whatever I am going through or pushing through is temporary. In fact, nearly everything around us is temporary. It will pass. Decisions that are overwhelming now will ultimately be made. Angry people will eventually calm down. Challenging situations will work themselves out.

It’s not always easy, but we often need to try and slow down, take a few deep breaths, and focus on the eternal. This is difficult when what is temporary is relentless in demanding our attention.

The Bible teaches us at the conclusion of Ecclesiastes, “Now all has been heard; Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the duty of every human being.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13) This is the whole duty of man. So, try to keep perspective and know that everything else is really just a matter of counting your “Mississippi’s.”

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