Here’s something new. My bloggish buddy, The Excitement Plan, posted this poem with her own interpretation, which I thought was so very great that I asked if I could share her thoughts on my “Not My Poetry” place.
The past decade or so I’ve read a few books that have touched on the idea of following your heart, professional choices, changing careers, all that, (although, not the ones alluded to in the title, but their titles are rather clever.) Since I work in a middle school, I also see similar encouragements for the kids. I love that, because I think it’s just so very important for that age group to start evaluating and exploring and looking at life and the future in those terms, and how their choices now effect their horizons later.
From where I stand, 58 years down my own path, I guess I should know…
I don’t recall ever having those kinds of tests or questions or books to read back in the 70’s. The reason I chose nursing was (at least in part) because it looked exciting on TV and I thought Star Trek’s Dr. McCoy was pretty cool. So there it is. Such a well informed decision of a 17-year-old would surely have nothing but successful results.
Needless to say, the Continue reading “What color is your cheese? (and I can’t even find my parachute…)”
Moses, what a guy. Talk about job stress—the perks were pretty great but so were the occupational hazards. (And I think I have tough days!) At least there was clear communication with the Boss; no lost email trails or intra-office misinterpretation of body language, all that. God’s instructions were always unmistakably clear, right down to what colors of decorative embroidery thread to use for the big church tent!
One year into their miraculous escape/rescue from centuries of Egyptian slavery, God now has them positioned to pull up the stakes and start their journey in earnest to the Promised Land. He has also promised to be their Guide, a cloud by day and something that looks like a pillar of fire by night. Again, fairly distinctive, even for someone directionally challenged, like me. When Continue reading “Decisions, decisions!”
A lot of folks in my small town can relate to this sign. Never mind that the print is too small to read from the street. You have to pretty much get your face right up to it to get the full impact of the words. Of course the tip-off is the searing red color, which brings to mind things like a blaring fire engine, a tornado warning on the weather map, the burning flames of,…well, you get the idea.
It’s not a friendly sign. But not uncivil, no, nor disrespectful. Just matter-of-fact and to the point. No beating around the brush (pardon the pun.) It is from the local town government stating that your grass (to use the term lightly) is higher than the allowed limit for in-town residents. The take home message is simply this: Cut it, or else.
Or else what?
Ah, therein lies the treasure! Seems like the only motivator for some of us is the “or else” factor, a.k.a., consequences. If…then. And this is not necessarily a bad thing. It is, many times, an uncomfortable one, which is in itself a good motivator. I need to feel the pain if I lean up against a hot stove, or if I get irritable at my friend because I’m having a bad day. I need to see the numbers on the scale go up if I eat donuts and ice cream every day, or the numbers in the grade book go down if I don’t study for my coursework. Consequences teach us very important things, as well as keep us safe.
Removing reasonable (i.e. safe) consequences does the opposite. Learning from our mistakes is harder, partly
because we don’t feel any different after making the mistake. Or we don’t even know we made one, since somebody derails or blunts the consequence before it gets to us. In a morally maturing sense, that’s “pass interference”, except that the one who pays the penalty is the person who was deprived of learning a needed lesson.
This sets everyone else up for a Domino Effect down the road. Someone who is not well acquainted with the consequences of their own decisions and behavior will eventually have the rest of us reaping the benefit of their vested ignorance.
….it’s almost like they expect the city to make their signs a friendly pink and yellow.
If my body had its way, I would still be in bed right now. The alarm, however, announced my previous decision, which was to get up at 4:45AM. Regardless of how much I wanted to stay under the flannel sheets next to my warm husband, embraced by quiet and darkness, and regardless of the fact that I didn’t need to be at work until 7:30AM, (which means leaving my home at 7:25AM—gotta love small towns…), yes, regardless of what most of my fellow humans would consider common sense, I am up at 4:45 in the morning and sitting on my patio in 40 degree weather. And, oh! It is so beautiful!
My old wool sweater and my brother-in-law’s army jacket keep me toasty warm. The heated “corn pad” sits in my lap, and my steaming hot tea sits in my belly. The Mighty Wonder Buck, our recently rescued 100% mutt, is happily content out here; with his thick black coat, this is his kind of weather. Of course, the birds are singing, and somewhere off in the distance I hear the truckers moving their wares down the highway.
It’s a free country, as they say, and I could have changed my mind even after the alarm went off. There are plenty of good reasons to stay in bed, even beyond the ones mentioned earlier. Some of them are even arguably valid ones! I need my sleep, especially at my age. (That phrase, “at my age”, is becoming a great rationalization, by the way.) It’s only Tuesday, and a long way until the weekend. The Buck needs me to be more energetic when I get home from work. Blah, blah, blah.
My brain wins the battle over my body as I stick to my original plan, pulling myself out of bed, rousing the dog, but usually not my husband, in the process. I fire up the teapot and nuke the corn pad. Within a few minutes, I’m wrapped up snugly in my patio chair.
There’s definitely something to be said for making a plan prior to the obstacles showing themselves. It can be more than a little difficult to make qualitative decisions (especially moral ones) in the face of tempting circumstances, even when some of those circumstances are accurately anticipated. The word is “commitment”, and it seems to have fallen out of favor these past several decades.
That’s just another reason why I love a good, old-fashioned church wedding ceremony. I don’t just come for the cake with butter cream frosting, Aunt Sally’s butchering rendition of Paul Stookey’s Wedding Song (again), and the little ring bearer announcing loudly to his mom’s chagrin that he has to “go pee” just as the bride is ready to march down the aisle. No, amid all the tumult and relative comedy that takes place in even the most formal nuptials, there are transactions far deeper, far more mystical, that take place. One of those is commitment. That is, prior commitment: making the decision to love and nurture prior to the financial fiascos, prior to the devastating accident or illness, prior to the disagreements over where to spend holidays. Granted, some relationships are dangerous, and therefore not workable–most of us get that. But in general, if commitment is just so dang hard, why even bother?
I suppose that’s one of the reasons why God chose weddings, and marriage, and family to represent so much of what He wants with us. He tells us that, before God even created us, He knew that His Son, Jesus, would have to come and rescue us out of this messy, sinful separation from Him. He knew we were going to tank the whole project even before the second generation came on the scene, and they didn’t exactly hit it off too well themselves either. But, regardless of all that—all of that destruction, all of that disappointment, all of that pain—God stuck to His original plan. He went ahead and made man in His own image, “in the image of God, He made him.” The rest that followed is, well, history.
Right now, the owl is crooning, there is a faint lingering fragrance of someone’s wood smoke, and I can hear Buckley chewing on his bone—at least I think that’s what he’s chewing on… All things considered, I guess it’s okay, at least sometimes, to be counted with those whom others would question their common sense by sticking to a crazy plan. I’m sure glad God stuck with His.