Taking Care of Yourself

“So how are you taking care of yourself,” my friend asked me within a couple hours of my arrival.

We’d talked about the season, the kids, the exercise routines, the time that had elapsed since we were last together…18 months?

We’d talked about good books we’d read over the summer and what we were watching on TV.

We’d talked about our jobs.

“So how are you taking care of yourself?” hung in the air.

I paused.

She sat poised on the couch beside me, after having run 10 miles that morning herself, prepping for a half marathon on the west coast two weeks out. A gas fire blazed in her hearth in front of me on this rainy fall day.

I looked out her glass doors toward the ocean waves. Ebbs and flows. Rain pelting glass and abandoned deck chairs.

It was quiet and beautiful and comforting being together in her space.

How was I taking care of myself?

What a wonderful question for every single one of us. No one had ever asked me quite this way in casual conversation.

Isn’t taking care of ourselves what is tantamount in our lives? Isn’t taking care of ourselves what makes our lives?

Without doing so, what do we have to give others? To give to the world?

Entropy is a law in physics that says everything breaks down without proper fuel to replenish and rejuvenate.

People break down.

We go hard, suck it up, clam up, shout angrily and in haste. We hurt each other, we sulk, we hurt ourselves.

But taking care of ourselves, however that looks for us individually, is what builds us up, gives us strength and patience. It makes us kind and loving. It builds up our reserves so that we have more to give others.

How can we love others if we do not first love ourselves?

“How are you taking care of yourself?”

A great question, asked by one of my most treasured lifelong friends heading into a season of giving to others…and it hits the mark.

For each of us.

How are you taking care of yourself, my friend?

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