This morning, an adage came to mind from the days of old when I would have labeled myself a Christian. It’s one I heard/read/saw many times:

Sounds great at first blush, but I began to ponder its meaning, rather than what I did back then: just latch right onto it and start quoting it and trying to live it. I mainly mused on the “yourself last” phrase, especially in light of what Jesus declared as the second greatest commandment after loving God:

You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

from the bible: Book of matthew, chapter 35, verse 39 (new revised standard version)

Or as The Message translation of the Bible says: “Love others as well as you love yourself.” And as my mind kicked around both the adage and the words of Jesus this morning, my thoughts led me to another famous quotation that untold millions have heard in one language or another and in one form or another for many decades:

In the unlikely event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure in the airplane, oxygen masks will drop down from the panel located above you. Please make sure to secure your own mask before helping others.

Pre-flight announcement

Hmmm … seems to fit neatly with what Jesus said about loving others AS I love myself, because how can I show love and care for others if I’m not loving and caring for myself?

And yet during those days of old, it seemed that these words of Jesus got interpreted as: “Love your neighbor before you love yourself, and then if you have any time, energy, resources, etc., left over at the end of your day, go ahead and show yourself some love and care too.” As in: “Don’t you dare be selfish and put on your own oxygen mask immediately! Think of others first so that you can love and take care of them ahead of yourself.”

Mmm, well then … as a general rule for my rhythm of life, maybe neglecting self-love/self-care to put others ahead of myself doesn’t allow me to offer others my deepest, most compassionate love and care. And maybe making a priority of daily self-love/self-care isn’t being selfish in the least.

May we find our rhythm moment by moment and dance accordingly.