Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Like Sands Through the Hourglass

I've made up my mind. I'm tired of thinking of life as stationary. I quit. I'm going to appreciate my life to its fullest. I talked to Jamison a little bit about this on our smoke night.

Back in college, life was one adventure after another. I burned the midnight cafe oil and we all burned remade candles at every possible point. Life was fast and different then.

When Rachel and I were dating and first married, we could go pretty much where ever, whenever. We had all kinds of fun all the time!

Now, we're settled. We moved close to our family. We bought the house we'll likely die of old ag in. We have settled into what is called a "routine".

But, does that mean life has to be routine? Have I forgotten to appreciate God's blessings in my life? Have I forgotten that every sparkling moment I breathe, I'm supported by God, family, and friends?

I almost had.

After life goes on the same way for a little while, you can predict the everyday. Things go a certain way and don't stop. So, what do you do to step in a new place?

I'm beginning to realize that even though life might follow a sometimes predictable course, it's always different. I just have to open my eyes and appreciate the lightning bugs in the evening and the look on Luke's face when he mistakes them for little fireworks. I need to recognize that the smile on Rachel's face when I come home is because she feels safe and happy when I'm there. And I need to give that same smile back to her.

Now I can stay right here in the ever-flowing spiritual, emotional, and mental stream of life and love, recognizing that I am a part of God's plan and adventure which will never end. And when I see Him, I'll know everything I need to know and still appreciate the knowledge that I lived my life in contentment.


Brewster said...

Whenever I hear you say that you are in the house you will probably die in, it kind of freaks me out. Fact is I’ve never lived in one house more than three years. Fact is over the last 10 years or so I have lived in 9 cities 5 states and 2 countries. I’m constantly on the go. It often seems like every time I start to get settled, I go some place else. I’m not complaining, I’ve enjoyed the ride.

As I get older the idea of settling down somewhere really appeals to me, and rather scares me. I long to be in a community where I know many people – from the baker who sells me fresh break every Tuesday to old neighbor who tells stories from the war in Korea. The idea of making a place my own thrills me anymore.

Yet when I think of the places I’ve been and the places I’d like to go, my feet get all itchy once again.

It is easy to get into a rut. More and more I’m actually trying to organize my time. Which may sound the opposite of what you’re talking about, Sip, but when I just go home after work I wind up watching TV, playing video games, and surfing the web all night. With some organization I’m managing to go to the gym, get a lot more writing done, organize my house, and finish reading some books.

bigsip said...

I didn't really run in the rut until we had Luke.

Something about having kids makes everything so much more routine.

It's probably the fact that I'm looking for Luke's routines all the time. He eats at a certain time, sleeps at a certain time, and yes, poops at a certain time.

I've just been missing the joy of life. But, I'm getting it back again. It's mine for the taking!

Jamison said...

I think the scariest thing I could ever hear myself say is "I am done moving, this is where I will die/retire." For some (Sip possibly being one of them) this statement may bring comfort and that's fine, for me personally to say it would sound like a jail cell clanging shut.

Im only 30 (tomorrow), got about 60 more Lord-willing years left. Montgomery is a small town trying to be a big town in Alabama. Alabama is a small state in a big country, on a larger earth. I am not done moving. Traveling is one thing. I dont want to visit, i want to live.

Mulls, still insterested in Dubai for a year?

bigsip said...

Yes, it comforts me to no end.

Neither Rachel nor I like to move. We both love life, though.

I would love to travel the world a bit, but if I never get to, it'll be fine.

Once I see Jesus, I'll see not just the world, but the universe and every crevice of it.

But, I can understand the pull to want to go somewhere.

If you and Larissa move away, you'll be sorely missed, but I'll be happy for you both, or all as the case may be at the time.

I just don't want to miss the beauty of every day of my life due to discontent or lack of calm. So, I'm going to cool my jets and be a more relaxed Sipper from now on.

Jamison said...

Lack of calm is in the mind. We receive feelings or anxiety in our head and we respond to it.

The key (Something I am trying to do) is to not let thought or mind-created emotions control you.

You have very wealthy people who are happy and you have wealthy people who are sad. You have two people in teh same home who have lived together for decades and one can be happy and the other can be sad.

Tis all how you react to life...

my take anyway.

bigsip said...

Absolutely, my friend.

I stay pretty content and calm, most of the time.

I just like to remind myself to keep the peace and serenity present.

Brewster said...

That’s a good reminder of the magic of Robert Hunter’s lyrics. He wrote the bulk of the words to the Grateful Dead’s songs. To me, he is the premier lyricist in rock, surpassing even Dylan. Dylan has always been a poet who happened to write music to me. Hunter wrote words for the music. A minor difference, maybe, but an important one to me.

He wrote great story songs; songs about real people that sound as if they were written 200 years ago. Many of his lyrics are like little jewels of wisdom. They fit great on t-shirts, bumper stickers and e-mail signatures. I’ve sang “ripple” to my wife to calm her down and I’m sure I’ll do the same to my children. “New Speedway Boogie” has been used as a rail against politicians for 30 years. Fans have debated the meaning behind “Jack Straw’s” shooting his brother down since it first hit the page.

Truly a great lyricist for a great band.

mullinz8 said...

Ya gotta stop thinking about it let it wash over you.

Also, what do you mean?

Having my kids is a wonderful blessing and something I thank God for everyday. We have chosen to let them alter out travel and our budget is pushed a bit harder but they are there for me to follow as much as they are to follow me.

Why do you think a house should tie you down? People move across the globe everyday. A house is a big purchase because A. is costs a lot of money and B. people are wrapped up in the idea that it is used to identify them as something special, something American. You think you own that house? When Uncle Sam is ready to put up a strip mall you’ll be on the street. Don’t get too tangled up in the idealism of that crap. Brew will be happy to connect you with a 30% interest rate so you continue to live the American dream having a credit card. Sorry I’m a bit cynical about things like this.

Why do you want to sit around waiting on the “ever-flowing spiritual, emotional, and mental stream of life and love of God's plan”? Don’t you think you can recognize that love, carry it with you and experienc new things too?

We have our routine just like everyone else and there is nothing wrong with that. How you choose to fill that routine is key. The routine is only as ordinary as you want it to be.

We have guidelines for our kids too. We try to get them to bed around 9pm. Sometimes it doesn’t work, who cares! Sometimes they eat terriable food. last weekend for lunch they had corn dogs and Icee’s for lunch, they’re kids, who cares. We’re teaching Caleb to potty on the back porch not the toilet, say it with me, who cares! Parent from the gut and nothing else.

I need to know more about this “awakening” you’ve had most recently please continue…

Rachel said...

I am more interested than anybody. My husband is a creature of routine, and comfortable that way, as far as I know. I would love to see a happier, more carefree Josh!

Jamison said...

Well, I dont think there is anything wrong with the Sip we know... as in, what makes him happy. What makes him happy is not wrong, and it is not hurtful to anyone. He is just different.

I, on the otherhand, hope I am surprised to know what house I die in. But you guys have to understand, Sip grew up in teh same house his folks live in now. That is what he is used to. You can't deprogram that. My family moved about 8 times in my life... in the same city, and I hated it. So I think I am somewhere in the middle.

Yudelka said...

I sometimes wish my hubby would have stayed in the military just so we could move around every few years or so. I liked change.

The only reason I like stability now is because of the kids. Somehow, as parents, we feel the need to provide security for the little ones. While this is absolutely an act of unselfishness, it does place unwanted restraints.

Consequently, our desires change. I want to go to Disney World as opposed to Hawaii, I want to go to Mickey D's instead Red Lobster, I want to go bowling instead of going for a nice walk at the beach.

Kids are life changing. They don't, however, have to make life boring.

Even my walk with God has changed because of my kids. I'm not as active in church as I used to be, but that is okay by me.

To quote someone from the fellowship whose name I have failed to inquire, it's my "season to be a mother." And THAT I enjoy!

Jamison said...

Good points... but at the same time, I wonder how much more well rounded I would have turned out if my parents had bit the bullet and traveled to places a family doesnt typically go. Sure, we went to DW, the beach, and Biloxi (where some family was) but suppose we took trips to alaska? or the grand canyon? or mexico? and i was exposed to things other than people dressed in costumes or the trashy strip of Pannama City Beach?
I dunno...

bigsip said...

You guys are all great!

I especially appreciate what Jamison said.

I am somewhat programmed to be in one place. I grew up in a very stable, secure place. I've always heard that home should be a haven and it always was.

If I had a bad day I could go home and be at peace. There was no other place on Earth I'd rather be and that includes Disney World.

Now I remember whay we moved back close to family in the first place! It was to make that haven here. And we have. Luke even asks to go to "Luke's house" if we've been away for a few hours. He knows it as a special place of peace and rest.

Home (not a house necessarily) is where you have your peace because of the love there. But, with all our family and all of the calm and peace we have, home is a dream that has become a reality.

I've heard home described as a "little piece of Heaven on Earth". I still feel that when we visit my parents. We go there, eat Mom's cooking, stretch out on the couch, relax, hang out with Dad in the shop, and are at peace.

It's a wonderful feeling and one that Luke is already attaching himself to.

Fortunately, we live in the historic district, so strip malls are extremely unlikely to crop up here, especially considering the fact that Montgomery is sinking milions of dollars into a neighborhood restoration project here. So, we can live here into old age and pass away with many fond memories of home base.

As far as being held down, I know it would be a nightmare or at least difficult to accept for most people. But, it actually set me free! When I was talking before about being held down a bit, I only meant that in the sense of not being able to go to the store any time or a movie or whatever. But, knowing where we're supposed to be makes me feel light.

And now I feel even lighter.

I know this is a lot of info, but I'm enjoying the conversation.

One more thing to consider and I'll stop.

Look back to even 50 years ago. Most families grew old in their houses and actually paid off their mortgages. People couldn't afford to move and didn't want to.

What changed? Have people become more unsettled? Has there been some sort of shift in the way people look at life? I'm probably considered terribly old fashioned, but maybe not. It seems I'm almost revolutionary as the oddball. How utterly weird!

bigsip said...

To Rachel I must say that I have finally realized that I can't do everything.

There are some things that I have to just realize that it's ok if it isn't perfect.

I am not in control completely. I can only do what I can do and leave the rest to God.

He finishes everything for us whether we realize it or not.

I love you honey. You make me want to be better and trust God more.

Jamison said...

I can see Sips perspective. I say I want to move and see this great big land, but no matter where I go, after about 4 days I am ready to go home.

And when we moved into this house, it was a nightmare and I couldn't wait to get "settled in"... so I dunno... maybe I am all talk...

Rachel said...

Maybe actually having to do everything around here lately has helped to realize that everything doesn't have to be done. For those who may not know, I have had to "keep my feet up" lately to avoid preterm labor- I was having practice-contractions every 10 minutes round the clock for a while. So Josh has been Daddy and Mommy lately- cooking, cleaning, taking care of Luke... everything.

Jamison said...

FYI... i bought a book ... 365 ways to live a simpler, more spiritual life... the 2nd suggestion is to leave things undone.

Before tacking a chore or an email at work, thinnk before you go.. "can this be eliminated?" If it cant, then think "How will this affect my happiness, livlihood, and will it matter in a year?"

Youll find somethings can be left till later, or left undone completely.

I found this to be pretty hard, I used to ALWAYS worry about work. But now, a new mindset, makes it more peaceful. And I probably wont get fired.

bigsip said...

I'm used to pulling my weight around the house, but yes, I have recently learned to let some things go.

The extra contractions have been a blessing in disguise, I think!

bigsip said...

Jamison, I love you!

That's good advice, my friend.

I'm proud of you for your soul-searching attitude. It's inspired me to do the same.

You know, Jamison is the last of us to turn 30. It's almost like we're all turning 30 together all over again.

I think I like it better this time around.

Jamison said...

Things are as the are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars Nor between well and badly arranged constelations.

bigsip said...

Well, said, my friend.

Did you come up with that?

Very DEEP...

mullinz8 said...

Jamison that IS really nice. Honestly, thank you for sharing.

If leaving things undone is a key to happiness then I think our house is perfect. We typically have a pile of clothes and shoes on the stairs and something always transitioning between the sink and dishwasher.

I think it’s important to remember that fighting a wave is pointless. They will never stop. With that knowledge we have a choice do we let it wash us out to sea or ride it back to the shore.

Jamison said...

FYI i didnt write that quote, i shant take credit

bigsip said...

Ah, alright then.

Who did write that quote?

As far as leaving things undone goes...

Y'all have all been to our house. It stays pretty staright most of the time and still does. I used to vacuum the carpet once a week at least, now I do it once every 2 or 3. That's the kind of letting things go I've done.

I'm not a believer in Feng Shui, per se. But, I do believe that your environment has bearing on your mind, emotions, etc.

People have told me many times how relaxed they feel at our abode and I, too, feel relaxed and happy there because we keep it in order.

But, that's what I'm comfortable with. Not the same for everyone.

Still, I'm far less of a freak about it and I feel better as a result...