I’ve mentioned before that a few weeks ago, my Fitbit wrist monitor decided to no longer keep a charge. In my frustration, I took the plunge and bought a new Apple Watch, which supposedly would do everything but scramble an egg for me in the morning.
Well, let me say, after a number of weeks (but who’s counting during this unending pandemic?), it’s a nice kind of watch, although as far as watches go, I probably own five or six in various states of functioning. That seems to be the case in our “first world” – we are over-stuffed, as it is, with more things in little drawers and boxes in the basement, and hidden under clothes that we don’t wear, but still manage to keep in our dressers. Lots of things that we usually forget we even have, until something requires us to enter into the spaces in our lives that usually just lie there, and we rediscover all sorts of things to fill our lives… until we put them right back where we found them.
Anyway – back to the watch. I thought it would do the kind of things that my ol’ Fitbit did, like tracking my sleep patterns, or informing me of how many steps I have taken in the course of a day. I expect it can do that, but I just haven’t found the tiny program somewhere in the watch to keep me aware of my life. It’s a nice watch face, and it will ding if I have a text message on my phone, which then I need the phone to be able to read the message, along with my glasses, so that little feature isn’t really worth a lot.
So far, I have discovered four things the watch does beautifully. One, it likes to be charged up at least once a day, which makes a round the clock watch a bit of a fail. Secondly, it is constantly telling me that there is another new software update ready to be installed, which requires me to take the watch off my wrist, attach it to the charger, set my cell phone right next to it, and wait a half hour, so it can then tell me everything is up to date, as it does the very same thing it did before the update.
I must say these two things are not much help in my daily life, unless I’m looking for a hobby that involves taking my watch on and off throughout the day. No, I wouldn’t call that exciting…
The other two things the watch does is that one, it constantly tells me to stand up. It doesn’t encourage me to walk or run or bike or do pushups – just stand up. For a whole minute, and then it congratulates me for standing up – a whole minute. Makes me wonder if by accident, I didn’t get the “lazy bump on a log” model. Really – to stand up for a minute does not require a great deal of exertion. Try it – see how exhausted you are after 60 seconds. Really – it’s not much!
The fourth thing the watch does – is that it tells me to breathe. It reminds me of a Looney Tunes cartoon we used to watch when I was little, where two mice are always trying to get cheese or something – one mouse is conniving and thinking of a plan, but the other, rather large and pretty dumb mouse every now and then will be found with his face all turned blue, and the first mouse has to grab him by the collar, slap his cheeks a few times, and say, “Breathe, Stupid – breathe! You forgot to breathe!” Always good for a laugh.
And now – my watch seems to be placing me in that same category… it will ding its little bell, and that’s the cue for me to stop anything I am doing, and look at the face of the watch, push a little button, and look as a flower appears. I’m then directed to inhale as the flower gets bigger, and exhale when it shrinks to about a pin hole. In doing so, I am breathing. I get to do this for – guess how long? Yep – an entire minute! After which time, I am applauded for breathing, and it tells me my heart rate, which is virtually unchanged every time I take breathing lessons.
So, those are my exciting adventures, even as we move into the 8th month of the year. I guess the one thing I can take away from all my activities – is remembering to breathe. No, I’m not getting oxygen deprived, or turning blue, but you and I both know that sometimes, when things get complicated in life, or a solution to an issue seems to be pretty far off, our minds and hearts get so focused on trying to solve things, that even our breathing – that basic part of our existence – can become shallow, and we become either lightheaded, or so full of anxiety that it just isn’t very healthy. Plus, we really don’t solve anything that way.
So perhaps the watch offers a good idea. Now and then, even out of the blue – breathe. Take a deep breath and infuse life-giving, brain-healing oxygen into your life. Slow things down for a minute – at least – and focus on the basics of life. Breath, joy, hope, and faith. When things get hard, or the path becomes thorny and rocky, breathing – simple breathing – can at least give us some strength to follow that path for another mile up the road. At least, it can help us stand.
Be intentional and focused on your life, your body and the world around you as you live out today. I expect you don’t even need a watch to do that, and to do that well. Blessings.
Word for the day: irrefragable. There’s a mouthful. Pronounced ir-rah-FRAG-a-bull. It’s a Latin word, of course, but it breaks down into all sorts of prefixes before you get to the root word. In/Ir “not, or opposite of” – so right away, the word will turn us from the root to the opposite of that root. Re “back” – or doing it over again, as in re-try, or re-assemble. The root is frangere, which means simply, “to break or shatter.” Therefore, when we pile the word together, it comes to mean the sense that something cannot be broken – or disputed or contested, when we are talking about things of a legal or relational sense. A Supreme Court ruling is often seen as irrefragable, although the word is only occasionally used in that sense. It’s very honorable to hold an irrefragable stance on an issue…
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.