First of all, I’d like to address the engineers who design car seats. I don’t mean the ones that babies use – that’s up to them – I mean the front seats that human adults sit in. I’m sure they are designed by committee. In the dark. Blindfolded. Let me tell you the story.
About every two or three months, I will climb into the car (by the way, why do we always say you have to “climb” in, as though you were scaling Mont Blanc or something? The biggest part of climbing is just swinging your hip and dropping down on to the seat…), which happens to be a Mazda CX-5, so bucket seats of course. As I go to sit down – occasionally, for some reason, my keys will slip out of my front pocket. No reason for it to happen – it’s not like I have them hanging out, waiting to fall – but for some reason, at the angle of getting into the car, and the angle of my left pocket, the keys just kind of go ker-plunk and fall out onto the floor of the car. Well, at least that’s what I would hope. Actually, they fall out into the tiny crevice (what you might call a “cranny”) between the actual seat and the body of the car. Frankly, I don’t know how I could be that good of an aim, to always get them right in that little crack, instead of just lying on top where you could easily pick them up. But our dear car seat designers have made that whole side of the seat and car like a penny arcade game. You have buttons to adjust the seat, and railings for the seat to move back and forth, and all sorts of grease and springs. It’s a laugh riot. So, I can almost imagine them getting together and saying, “So, if the person’s keys were to simply fall out of their pocket, how difficult could we make this whole area as they try to retrieve them?” And they do.
This morning, I sat down in the car, and heard the metallic sound of keys jumping out of my pocket. I looked down and saw them in the crevice, and foolishly thought I could just grab them and go on from there. Oh no. You see, part of the engineering is that once you touch the keys, they plunge even deeper into the side of the door and seat, eventually falling to the floor under the seat itself. Lovely. Except, as you try to reach under the seat to get the keys, you realize you are going to need 6 foot long arms, since the keys decided to slide to the lowest part of the floor, half way between the back seat and the front mats.
I am not a morning person. I like things to move slowly into a new day, and playing around with lost keys really fries my potatoes. Fortunately, my car starts with the key fob being somewhere within 10 feet inside the car, so I left the stinking keys to wallow in their pit while I pushed the button, and then took Cheri to work. I’m in charge, I said.
When I got back home, I parked the car, and then had to “climb” out of the vehicle and get on my knees on the driveway, where a perfectly placed little rock came between my knee and the ground. Since I couldn’t see the keys, I had to reach around under the seat, around the grease, below the springy cushions, until I felt something that shouldn’t be there – they were hiding. Fortunately, my arm between my elbow and my wrist is long enough, so I was able to snag them with one fingertip, and drag them sight unseen toward the front of the seat, which by the way has a dam or levee of some sort, most likely to keep other stuff that fall under the seat from rolling forward and going under the brake, which in turn would cause a cataclysmic crash. Engineers.
Oh, did I mention it all happened, just as the sun “climbed” over the house, so that the morning sun’s beam cause me to go temporarily blind as I was on my knees in the driveway. I know I probably should have taken the opportunity to offer a prayer, but frankly, my heart just wasn’t in it at that moment.
The bright sun, coming finally after a good week of gray, dark, rainy, gray (did I mention that?) skies, meant I needed to get to our living room rather quickly. We have a wonderful bank of windows that look out to our backyard, but they face east, and when that sun shines, it beams like a laser into the room. Nothing wrong with that, and in fact, our Siamese, Thor, loves to bake in the sun. However, over the years, we have collected some pretty old antique furniture – an 1810 Sheraton secretary made out of walnut, a painted red corner cupboard from a Norwegian cabin on the Sheyenne River, an oak book trunk from early 19th century England, and a small gaming table, with inlay from about the 1770s. It’s amazing how all those pieces can sit in the direct path of the hot, bright, kill-all-wood-finishes sunshine. I know it’s just stuff, but it’s our stuff, and I like to take care of it.
So, at about 7:30am, the light filtering shades get pulled down, protecting our stuff, until about 9:30. At that point, I raise up one of the shades, and halfway of the second one, to allow Thor to lie in the sunshine on the carpet, safely away from the antiques. Again at 10:30, and finally at noon, we can open the shades completely, and lighten the room. I guess that’s why I am retired – so I can put shades up and down, and find lost keys. What a life’s mission.
Still, each day we are invited to live accidentally, or intentionally. Now, accidents like dropping keys happen, and that requires an intentional solution. And being aware of the world – and the sun – around you invites you to take charge in making sure the things in your life are well-cared for. That’s all. The mantra we should follow is: think ahead, be aware, and act with conviction to do the right thing. Then you can sit back and have another cup of coffee, with the keys on the desk, and not on the floor.
Word for the day: iridescent. Pronounced ear-ih-DESS-unt. It’s a familiar word, used often, but the root is interesting. It actually was formed from the Latin word, iris, which means, “rainbow.” God of course, just for fun, gave each of us different “irises” of color in our eyes, so we would be interesting. The Greek origin is the goddess Iris, who was the goddess of the rainbow. Her job was to take messages back and forth from Mt. Olympus to earth using her rainbow as a staircase.
Today, the word simply implies the ability to produce displays of rainbow-like colors, which always capture our attention, as they glow.
After 43 years of ministry, Randy Cross lived his "fourth life" and shared about retirement, living boldly and intentionally in our world. To be sure, there was some North Dakota thrown in.