Since awaking this morning with an absolutely empty schedule – really – and even with some things I COULD do and some I probably SHOULD do, what I am actually GOING to do is a much shorter list. I started out with a great cup of coffee and a bowl of raisin bran. That in itself is pretty unusual, since I rarely have cereal – most breakfasts consist of maybe a piece of toast, or an English muffin, but rarely/never with a bowl of cereal. What I didn’t know if that our three cats must have some kind of begging contract with Kellogg’s, since their begging and meowing at MY bowl of cereal was near legendary. You would think they hadn’t been fed in weeks, and the only thing that could satisfy their hunger was in my bowl of breakfast! By the way, using my powers of observation prior to fixing my bowl, I took notice that all three of the little pigs had just moments before stood chomping away at their cat food, which we buy so that they won’t come begging for our food. Let me also say that Cheri is weak when it comes to their begging and will toss little bits of cheese, or other tasty morsels to them. This, then, teaches them to beg like the orphans in Oliver Twist, with big sad eyes, agonizing because what I have measured out and am putting my own mouth, they believe belongs to them, and if they just cry loudly enough, my cold, stone heart will melt and I’ll share my food with them. Not gonna happen.
Cheri has headed back up to Grafton with her sister to see their mom again. It’s in part to take care of her needs, but it’s also a fun day outing for them, as they meet up with their older sister and bring a pretty good level of chaos to that house. This of course means that the day’s schedule is all my choice. This means it will be a delightful day, and in a real sense, I head back in time to when I was about 10 years old, and truly felt I was the boss of the world, and could do whatever I wanted to. So, that’s what I will do. I just don’t quite know what that will be, of course.
One activity could be to continue assembling my Space Shuttle out of thousands of Lego parts. I’m about 2/3 through the instructions, and set it aside a week ago to take care of some other tasks just prior to the 4th. Actually, another big reason was that it was about 4pm, and the next step was to take the thin, super sticky mylar decals and attach them to the inside of the shuttle bay doors. They are large, silver decals, and you have one shot – one – to have the 24 different silver blocks lined up perfectly on the inside curved wall. It reminds me of clipping the one right wire attached to the bomb to diffuse it. You THINK it is the red wire, but so many different movies have shown you that it indeed could be the black wire, or even the green one that the bombmaker tried to fool you with, so, as the routine goes, you clip the green one, which makes the timer run faster, and then you clip both the black one and the red one, which stops with detonator with .00001 second left. This happens in every suspense movie, by the way. I’d just like once to see the hero having to stick 24 different decals on the inside shuttle bay, without screwing it up. Then you will see pressure…
But it’s early in the day, and I have finished my coffee consumption for the morning, which should give me fairly steady hands. I just don’t want to screw it up is all… Actually, the construction, with over 300 pages of instructions and over 2700 pieces to put in the right places, has worked out pretty well. The one thing that is a bit disconcerting is that, as I have gone through the building stages, being very careful not to miss anything, when I have come to the end of the stage, I find I end up with a few – 5-10 – little pieces left over. I actually have a nice little bag of all sorts of unused gears and blocks and such. Now, it could be that they just send some extras pieces along because they are sloppy in counting, or perhaps they just want to make sure that you have more than you need.
Here’s the thing, though – you don’t really know, do you? Maybe there are just extra pieces, just thrown in for good measure, or maybe, just maybe, they are critical pieces that you somehow happened to miss, or forget to put into the construction, which you may not know about until you just happen to get to the last stage, and then sure enough, all those little extra pieces turn into little zombie pieces and harass you for not putting them in at the right time.
As imagination goes, I then have to wonder, as they were putting the actual space shuttle together, if somehow when all was said and done, they ended up with some extra pieces themselves. “Hmm – that’s odd! I wonder why we have a bucket full of all these gears and that tire and those other things that sure do look like they belong on the spacecraft?” I can’t imagine them saying, “Oh well, it sure LOOKS like it’s all together properly – we’ll just have to see once it’s launched and gets up into space if we made any boo-boos.” “At least we were able to get those silver things stuck onto the shuttle bay without too much mess…”
In our own lives, even when we are working intentionally to be extra careful in putting our lives together, sometimes even we end up with pieces left over. Somehow we skip a step or we don’t read the instructions quite correctly – or we think we can “do it” by ourselves with no instructions needed, and then the pieces show up. They look pretty innocent, but without knowing, they could be critical to the success of whatever we are trying to build – a career, a relationship, a happy home, a healthy life.
The old saying in carpentry is “measure twice, cut once.” To take just a little extra time and care to make sure things are where and how they need to be can make a difference between a beautiful success, or having to do it all over again, or worse yet, not being able to do it again, and seeing things just a big part of failure. In our lives, taking time to plan before just going off half-cocked, as Dad would say, or even acting with care, instead of careless-ly can help us at least to have a fighting chance to have things turn out right, and hopefully, if there are pieces left over, we can be assured that we didn’t really need them in the first place.
Enjoy whatever you are building in your life right now – and don’t hurry – better to walk the path, follow the instructions, or even give some important thought about what’s next, than spend your life hurrying to a mistake. That’s just an accidental life waiting to happen.
Word for the day: gourmandize. Pronounced GORE-mun-dyes. It’s not a very nice word, because it means “to eat like a glutton, or a pig; greedily eat.” It is an offshoot of the French gourmand, or the Old French, gourmand, which indeed means “glutton.” By the way, “glutton” is from the Latin glutto, or gluttire, which means “to swallow,” from gula, “throat.” A glutton just shoves food down his throat, and is habitually greedy. A number of words are offshoots today of our word. Actually, today, a “gourmand” refers to someone who enjoys good rich food, and so is not as negative. The best word of course is “gourmet,” which refers to someone who is an expert in fine dining, and the high quality of food. However you slice it, to gourmandize is really just to make a pig of yourself…
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.