Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Days Are Packed ...

I am so overwhelmed with options. I just cannot decide what to do. I've been between "pastor gigs" for nearly 3 months now. No really, that's a good thing. I'm just now feeling human again. 3 months of no stress, no meetings, no ... well ... nevermind. I am having fun being a person again just like most everybody else. I only have one remaining hold over from the stress induced Adrenaline Exhaustion that sometimes bops me upside the head. About mid-afternoon my left eye begins to get blurry. I can still cope. It is not a problem driving or anything. Except for when the sun is up or at night time. (Relax. That was a joke.) But the problamatic symptoms were legion 3 months ago and now I've reduced them to 1. I am a happy man. I am looking at some ministry opportunities. Actually, they think they are looking at me. I know better. They are spread far and wide over several states. That's kind of exciting. As long as my daughter knows that if we are told by God to relocate out of the St. Louis area our grand daughter WILL be coming with us. (Hi Kelli!)

So as I was saying, the days are just full. Like just this morning. I sat in front of the fridge trying to decide between orange juice and pineapple juice. The orange juice won. It was an arbitrary decision. Then I had to decide whether to clean the bathroom before I showered or shower before I cleaned the bathroom. (I cleaned bathrooms today trying to win brownie points with the little woman. Didn't work.) The shower took a back seat to the cleaning. It made sense. I checked my email and didn't have any. That too is a new thing for me. An empty email box is a clean email box. I got dressed and chose jeans over dockers. The dockers needed ironing and the jeans ... who cares? Easy call. Then I drove to Maryville to make my appointment with the Christian Counselor at our church. Jack's a great guy. He tells me his problems and I tell him mine. He thinks mine are worse. He has trouble keeping his eyes the same size when I tell him the kind of stuff that's rolling around in my head. I find that hilarious. I give him my reality in small doses so as not to overwhelm him. I'd hate to scare him out of the ministry business. So far he has given me really great advice. He says things like, "Write a book! Nobody will believe it!" I figure if they don't believe it they won't buy it. So why bother? I'll stick with blogging. Well, actually I am writing a book that nobody will buy. It's about how to survive 32 years in youth ministry without going postal.

Ok, then it was time to eat. I met my wife and two friends at a local eatery. Here is the tough question. Baby back ribs vs. riblets? Riblets won by a nose. I mean by a bone.

Next my daughter called me. She lives 50 miles away but I would run there on broken legs if she needed me. I had given her an old laptop a few months ago. It was a hold over from 1970 or something. But she was only checking email on it so it was alright. And then today she began getting "The Blue Screen Of Death." That is the same screen that drove me to the joy of "Mac Land." Anyway, after supper Debbie and I drove to her home. I "accidently" woke little baby Elle and so I had to hold her. Tough assignment. Then I messed with the laptop. Is the hard drive supposed to click and whir? I thought not. So I fired it up for about the 10th time, held it about 3 feet above the floor ... and dropped it. You know what happened? No, I still got "The Blue Screen Of Death." The next time I go to her house she and I are going to beat it to death with hammers. Don't worry. We'll wear goggles.

And now it's late at night and I need to go to sleep. Another decision. Do I sing myself to sleep with my ipod? Do I start sleeping on my right side or my left side? Here it is nearly midnight and STILL I'm having to make judgement calls.

The days are packed ...

Monday, February 19, 2007

A Lesson That Sucks ... I Mean, Seriously

Last night Debbie and I drove to the home of our daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter. We spent the night so that we could baby sit early in the morning and throughout the day. So we visited, we slept and we got up to be with baby Elle.

This is a child of 9 months old who loves people! I mean, she finds her toys (which she has in abundance) to be cool but she would obviously rather play with people. Just my kind of girl!

So play we did! We flew around the room. We crawled. Well, I crawled. She "army crawled." But somehow she still managed to beat me to the toy or the keys I had thrown across the room. That little sucker is f-a-s-t! The she took her nap. I was tempted to do the same but refrained. And after she got up ...


You see, baby Elle likes to be upside down. She is happiest when she is totally inverted. I picked her up by the feet and let her giggle at her grandma sitting near her. Then I took her for upside down tours of the house. She giggled and cackled like a 9 month old. Which is exactly what she is. Then we played "Grandfather Clock!" That's where I hold her upside down by her feet and swing her back and forth like a pendelum while saying "tick, tock, tick, tock." Yes, I have video if you care to observe. She loved it.

Then it was time for the finishing touch of our fun soaked day. Elle was sitting on the couch by her mother who had just returned home from work. She had her pacifier (aka: pacy) in her mouth. I really don't know why I did what I did. It just happened. I reached out and quickly pulled it out of her mouth and put it in my own. You have NEVER seen a little child look as stunned as she looked. I thought she was going to cry but she did not. She did not pout. She simply took stock of the situation and then reached out and snatched her "pacy" back! She put it straight into her mouth and began sucking and chewing on it while her mom and her grandmother grossed out.

And then ... then the most unusual, unexpected thing happened. Baby Elle looked at me. She took her pacy out of her mouth and held it out toward me. I opened my mouth and she put it in. I didn't know what to do. So ... I sucked on it! It's been a few years since I last had a pacifier of my own. (Honest!) And then she took it back and chewed it herself. For the next 5 minutes my lovely granddaughter and I shared her precious "pacy." She and I both delighted in the sharing. Pacy spit is no big deal between a grandfather and a granddaughter.

I learned from Baby Elle today. I remembered how wonderful it is to give. I recalled what it feels like to forget about yourself in favor of someone that you love. Maybe this is way too deep a conclusion for such a silly game. But it was more than a game. Elle shared with me her most prized possession... the coveted pacifier that she uses to comfort herself when she is going to sleep or is simply restless. Why can't I remember the lesson of a 9 month old? Do I have to wake up in the morning and be the same old jaded adult that I too often find myself being? You know, I am tempted to go out and buy my own pacifier so that I won't forget the lesson of Elle ... and so that the next time I hang out with her ... we can swap pacy's. After all, that is what really good friends do.

I love you, Elle. Thanks for reminding me.