Have you ever had one of those days when your mind is kind of a blank? I mean, that day when you try to imagine something fun or interesting to do, and all that shows up in the middle of your brain is one of those test patterns that television stations ran in the hours they were off the air, before we had 24-hour programming.
That’s today, for some reason. I mean, I slept about nine hours last night, so it wasn’t that I was under-rested. The coffee was tasty and my wife’s morning smile is always a sight to start the day. Of course, she got up about four hours before I did, so she had taken all the time she needed to wake up and she was already in the midst of “getting things done today” mode, even before I had stopped yawning. So, I tried to think of something that might be fun and interesting today… and again, there came the ol’ test pattern.
It’s not that I have no imagination. I know there are loads of things just waiting to be done. However, for some reason on this Saturday, I really didn’t want to include all the jobs, tasks, to-do lists, chores or all the things that come under that category. Now wait – I’m not being lazy, or shiftless, but I can do all that stuff during the week, and it will all keep until Monday.
Cheri finally talked me into going grocery shopping within an hour of waking up, so we made up the menu for the week, drove over to the store, and walked up and down aisle finding the items that I guess we needed, although we could have selected meals from the vast amount of food we have stored in the freezer and in the pantry. Still, we bought the food, hauled it home, and put it away, and then…
Still nothing came to mind. No exciting excursions, no road trips, no special store that needed us to visit, now that we are done with those dumb masks, at least for now. Test pattern.
I had a forgettable lunch, and then decided to take a nap. I woke to the sound of Cheri’s puttering around the kitchen, washing things up, and fulfilling enough chores for the both of us, so I of course let her do so.
I think I know what’s going on… during these lazy, hazy, crazy days, in normal years, this would be about the time of the summer when I would take a little vacation from my work, and we would plan some kind of trip, just to see and do something different. Of course, this year, I have no work to vacate from, unless you call living retired to be a chore. And while the CoVid garbage has left this area of the country pretty much alone for the past few months, we are in the daily time of attending to Cheri’s mom as she lives through the terminal cancer. For some reason, it just doesn’t feel right to go trotting off on a fun vacation holiday when just two hours away, we know we have a limited amount of time to be with her. Not that we are going up there every day, although we are every week, but a trip to Yellowstone, or Jamaica, or Cabo San Lucas, or even one to somewhere up here in the northland seems to be a plan we can, and will put off, at least for this year.
So the days have been pretty much the same. We are sitting in the low to mid 90s, with no end in sight for that heat. Plus, we can’t buy a nice thunderstorm, or even a rainy day – the drought is hanging on, and when the weatherman on tv can’t figure out when our next bit of precip will be, well that’s a long time.
So, I guess today will be one of the days we will just dribble through. I guess my prayer for today would be “Help me, O God, to not waste what You have given me. Give me the chance to serve You, and to enjoy this world You have placed me in. Give me an idea. Amen.”
Give me an idea – help me to become more ambitious than I feel like right now. Send me something to capture my attention. Open the door to a new experience, a new opportunity – a new perspective on who I can be before you.
It’s all fine – it’s just a little bit too much of the middle of summer – not that I am looking forward to the winter to come, mind you! I just need to find a “new thing” to take on, that will awaken my brain cells, and return to regular programming…
I need to not be accidental, but intentional on how I will live tomorrow, even if today is pretty much a washout. Some days are like that – but not tomorrow. Not tomorrow.
Word for the day: boketto. Pronounced bow-KETT-oh. Actually is it a pretty Japanese word. It means the act of gazing vacantly into the distance without any thought. It means to do nothing. It’s not daydreaming, because you aren’t dreaming. Have you ever found yourself just staring out the window at pretty much nothing, not thinking of anything in particular, or sorting out a problem or imagining something? It’s like that old saying, “Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes… I just sits.” It’s actually a very healthy and important practice, because it stills everything, and creates a time of mental rest. It allows the subconscious to kick in, and begin anew. It’s not a weakness of character or anything like that – after all, if the Japanese can have an entire word that describes it, it must be pretty significant. Take time to engage in boketto – especially when it’s one of those days in which nothing is going to happen…
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.