Up and, well, less up

Which do you prefer, the sine wave or the flatline? That is, a life with great highs and lows, or a steady state relatively free of drama?

The question presents itself here in the afterglow of Easter Sunday, already for me the high point of the Christian year but made even more so this year by the big congregations, joyful music and beautiful flowers and decorations that Nativity experienced this Easter.

If we looked like that every Sunday, wouldn’t it be too much to bear? Sometimes a spike in joy is all the more joyful exactly because it doesn’t happen all the time. After all, it’s the solemnity and terror of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday that set the stage for Easter – the lowest lows, the highest highs. Sine wave.

The flip side of the question is this: if you mostly live in the steady state, how do you make that a plateau and not a low road? How do you do what I’ve always thought was the very hardest thing, set a high standard in your professional and personal life and then maintain that day after day, week after week?

I wish I had an answer to that. Because doing what you do at a consistently high level is just part of being someone fully engaged in God’s world and in the living out of God’s dreams for us. It’s good for your health to slack off sometimes – the old saying is, Choose your day of rest or your body will choose it for you – but we’re so easily distracted, diverted from the path we’ve chosen by iPhone pings and that new Netflix series.

 And so we come down from the peak days of our lives and ponder what’s next.

The day after the destination wedding, the spouses set about living as married people.

After the big product launch, the coders wait for the bug reports to start coming.

The paving company lays down a nice new road, and one winter later – potholes.

I guess my point is that life can’t be an entirely peak experience, because then how would we know we’re on the mountaintop? But it’s still good for our essential character to keep trying, to do even enervating jobs well, to do loving things for people we love. The peaks will come. What’s important is how you make your best life in between them.

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