Response to the New Year

garage_door

I’ve a taken a break from theological stuff and have following a “deep” and “profound” (wink-wink) haiku on my thoughts heading into the New Year. I call it: The Clash of Idealism with Reality.

 

2017…

…rich with promises. But first—

Tidy the garage!

 

I know, I have a weird sense of humor! But our garage, probably like yours, was the repository for all the package remains and present remnants in need of recycling. Now our recycle bin is packed full and we have 10 days to go until pick up!

That’s post-Christmas life in suburban America.

Getting Up Early?!

Saturdays I like to sleep in, wait till the sun comes up blazing through the window and Janey has the coffee going. But not today, nope; I had an early morning meeting at the church. Well, it wasn’t that early, it was at 8 AM, but that’s 8 AM on a Saturday. Did you know that ‘Saturday’ is Latin for ‘sleep in?’ Okay, it’s not, I’m just kidding; but that’s usually what I do on Saturdays, I sleep in.

Now I am aware that both medical and fitness experts encourage keeping the same go-to-bed and get-out-of-bed times throughout the week; whether it’s a weekend or not. I’m sure that’s good advice, even though I don’t follow it. Today I did, and I actually notice a difference.

 

5:30 AM on a Saturday????

I got up at the same time today as I do on Monday. I had my typical morning routine—sunrisequite time, coffee and bathing—completed by 7 and was on my bike by 7:10. Heading out of my driveway and turning west I was met by a low-slung sun, slowly rising over the Cascade Mountains. The air was cool but not cold, and there wasn’t a lot of traffic.

As the day progressed, we had the meeting, I hung out with some friends, I had my workout, lunch and a bit of family time all completed by just shortly after noon. Then…I can’t believe this….Janey talked me into going to—I hate to say it—CostCo (mind you, I’m not a cheap CostCo date)! Afterward (and after a little sticker shock) we went on and bought some grass-fed beef to throw onto the barbee this evening after sitting in my own recipe of fresh oregano, garlic, olive oil and Tabasco marinade. And then I dove into some hammock time with the newest Sunset magazine, reading about Joseph, Oregon (a place I have a hankering to return to).

 

What’s the Big Deal?

Because I usually get up later on Saturday, I feel rushed throughout the day. Gotta rush the workout; gotta rush the chores; gotta rush dinner prep, and then force myself to relax. Nothing’s at a manageable pace and soon I become frustrated because I feel like I’m running out time. But not today. Today I’m actually functioning in a more human pace; I’m even naturally relaxing and not even feeling guilty about it; which, as you may know, is somewhat of a foreign concept to me.

 

To Continue or Not to Continue…

Now I’ve gotten a little peek into why maintaining the same to-bed/get-up routine is beneficial. I’m sure there are some well researched and documented reasons around circadian rhythm and emotional stability; but it’s more than that. It’s a victory; minor perhaps, but still a victory. Stephen Covey once wrote that “if we put mind over mattress and arise early in the morning, we will earn our first victory of the day” (Principle-Centered Leadership, 1991, p. 49). I like the phrase mind over mattress and express that to myself on many a work-week morning; and sometimes it actually works.

Maybe this also an aspect of what Scripture is referring to about redeeming the time:

See that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time.

—Ephesians 5:15-16a

Who knows, maybe I’ll do this again on another Saturday in the future.

Mount Ves-bubblus Erupts!

Bubble Mtn.

No, this is not Mount Vesuvius, it’s…it’s…it’s Mount Vesbubblus. With no warning, it rapidly appeared in my bathtub the other night. It just sort of came out of nowhere and then, bam! there it was; growing so fast I thought the entire bathroom was going to be consumed in its bubbly slickness.

Okay, it didn’t actually come out of nowhere. It actually came out of, well, one of my wife’s, uh, bath bombs (now don’t touch my Man Card, just hear me out!).

It all started when I came home from work on Tuesday.

“It was bit of a hard day today,” I said upon entering our home while flexing my shoulders in an effort to release the tension.

“That’s too bad,” said Janey. “Why don’t you take a bath and unwind a bit. I’ll take care of dinner.”

Sounding reasonable to me, I said, “Okay, that’s a good idea.” And then turning to head upstairs, she called after me:

“You can use one of my bath bombs if you like. They’re relaxing.”

Relaxing. Hmm, okay, relaxation’s not a bad thing, so what the heck. She told me where they were on the tub, even though they weren’t hard to miss sitting in that large glass bowl. In that bowl were three softball-size “bombs.” They were so big I thought maybe they opened up to reveal smaller ones. But no, these were softball-sized bath bombs. The brand appeared to be French because I couldn’t figure out how to pronounce it; but since the Tour de France is going on, how can it hurt.

Dutifully, and with great difficulty, I finally extricated the bomb from its hermetically sealed plastic tomb, tossing it into the bath as it was filling. Soon, a soothing fragrance of lavender infused the air and I began to feel my shoulders loosen up to finally stop touching my ear lobes. I ever-so-slowly settled into the hot, fragrant water and turned on the jets.

logo_mrbubbleIt was like a Mr. Bubble box exploded, bubbles started erupting out of the water. Bubble boulders were mounting up on top of each, higher and higher, sliding down to the water, heading right for me. Then Mount Vesbubblus started spilling over the side, soaking the bathmat. It was a bubbly mayhem threatening to clean everything in its path, leaving behind a swath of soapy scum as far as the eye could see (at least the eye that had bunch soap in it).

Then Caleb, our 10 year old son popped in. Ah, yes, he’s here to save me, I thought. How wrong I was. Instead, that’s when the laughter started. Then he got his mom; she also laughed as Mount Vesbubblus was now sitting taller than me, looming over me like a frothy blob seeking to inhale my head.

In between laughing gasps, she asked me how this happened. I said the jets did it, honest! She didn’t believe me, she thought it was more than that, like maybe the beans from last night’s dinner. But no, I hadn’t had such a bio-experience in the tub…at least not up to that point.

With the bubbly blob lurching toward me I finally gathered enough sense to turn the jets off. Ha, that did it! Mount V stopped growing. And once the laughter stopped, I could hear millions of little popping noises, sounding like little tiny fireworks or ant-sized popcorn popping. Mt. V was dying, never to come back again.

Needless to say, I am swearing off of bath bombs altogether, I;ll just let Janey enjoy her bombs by herself!

Yes, I know, while this is a true story, it is a light-hearted story. Sometimes we just need to laugh a little even as so many things that concern us are going on all over the world.

A merry heart does good, like medicine.

–Proverbs 17:22