Most everything that has been said about creating and keeping margins in our life and work has been said. Few were listening, so it needs to be said again. “We need to be reminded more than instructed.” ~ Samuel Johnson
Originally published by Chuck Lawless
A friend who knew I was too busy recommended I read Richard Swenson’s book, Margin.* It didn’t take long (like, the first page) before I realized I needed to listen. Maybe you’ll find yourself in these first words of the first chapter:
THE CONDITIONS OF modern-day living devour margin. If you are homeless, we send you to a shelter. If you are penniless, we offer you food stamps. If you are breathless, we connect you to oxygen. But if you are marginless, we give you yet one more thing to do.
Marginless is being thirty minutes late to the doctor’s office because you were twenty minutes late getting out of the bank because you were ten minutes late dropping the kids off at school because the car ran out of gas two blocks from the gas station—and you forgot your wallet.
Margin, on the other hand, is having breath left at the top of the staircase, money left at the end of the month, and sanity left at the end of adolescence.
Marginless is the baby crying and the phone ringing at the same time; margin is Grandma taking the baby for the afternoon. Marginless is being asked to carry a load five pounds heavier than you can lift; margin is a friend to carry half the burden. Marginless is not having time to finish the book you’re reading on stress; margin is having the time to read it twice.
Marginless is fatigue; margin is energy.
Marginless is red ink; margin is black ink.
Marginless is hurry; margin is calm.
Marginless is anxiety; margin is security.
Marginless is culture; margin is counterculture.
Marginless is the disease of the new millennium; margin is its cure.
*Richard A. Swenson, Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives (pp. 13-14). NavPress. Kindle Edition.