The first of May can evoke images of a traditional May Day celebration, with young, costumed European children dancing around a maypole. At the other end of the stress scale, it can also conjure up voices with intense emotion, crying “Mayday! Mayday!”
How can such tranquility and distress reside in the same two syllables?
Well, the more intense expression has nothing to do with the merry month of May and derives from the French "m'aidez", pronounced "mayDAY," and literally means "help me."
E.B. White described the Mayday!/May Day push and pull this way:
Our only grandchild Ethan is not yet walking, but we can appreciate the tension between responding to the Mayday! calls around us vs. watching kids dance around a maypole.
You’d probably think we’d advocate for one over the other, but really both are important.
We shouldn’t be so quick to paint ourselves into a corner of all serve and no play. Kids who grow up without pleasant “May Day” kind of memories can lead to worrisome Mayday! calls later in life.
But some adults prefer to tune out desperate Mayday! cries for help because they’ve entered ‘the post-stress years', seemingly entitled to their lawn chairs and/or an endless stream of May Day parades.
We can also face the other extreme---immersing ourselves so heavily in urgent needs around us that we neglect God’s provision of rest. We can overlook ministry He wants to perform in and through us during more restful, quieter moments.
And what a gift when we discover real joy in serving others in both the urgent and not-so-urgent moments!
Gratefully we have a Living Guide, ready to show us the way: