Two things are absolute truths in our home lately. One is that, outside of Cheri having to go to work four days a week, everyone in the family total has about four appointments, or must dos each week. It’s just not very busy, given the way things are right now. Two – none of us will tolerate being late for something. In fact, it seems like the opposite is true. If we have an appointment at 1:00, and it takes 20 minutes to get to it, we will probably leave about a half hour early, and end up sitting for ten minutes. This of course varies greatly from other members in our extended family on both sides, who keep the philosophy that they are never truly late – they just might not quite be on time, and never early, and usually 10-15 minutes late. By the way it’s also true that the more important the event, the greater the chance they will be later and later in coming.
But enough about them, and back to today’s near-tragedy. Even before CoVid, for my entire life, my hair has grown very fast and very thick. Now, when I was a groovy teenager in the 70s, long thick hair was the thing, and my high school graduation photo shows me having probably 10 pounds of hair on my head. It was beautiful. Of course, as the decades changed, and I changed too, my hair was still thick, but I made the incremental decision to cut it more frequently. I didn’t quite have my dad’s military haircut, but I sure didn’t wear the rock star tresses of old. That is, until March 10, when for us, everything shut down. I probably needed to get my hair cut on March 11, but it was probably June sometime before things opened up enough for me to get the bush on top of my head trimmed up. My then, I was heading to retirement, and most all of my meetings, even those over the internet, and so I got, let us say, a bit lax in making sure things were trimmed up, close to that time as well, I found myself going even a week without shaving – since who cares? – and finally, I let the facial hair go, and ended up growing a rather fashionable beard.
Well, really, I looked more like a mountain man wanna be, just a shaggy old guy. But again, who cares? Cheri didn’t complain, and she is the only one in the world who has sway over my grooming. So, instead of haircuts every 3-4 weeks, I slid into haircuts every 8 or 9 weeks. However, coming into December with Christmas less than a week away, I decided to make a 6 week trip to my haircutter, just to look nice for Santa. I made the appointment online and with various reminders, I knew I was going to get my haircut on Saturday. I wrote it on my computer calendar, and saved the emails, reminded me to git ‘er done.
Cheri asked me almost every day this week when I was getting it cut – I think it was beginning to wear on her sensibilities – and I told her clearly and surely that my appointment was set for 12:30 that Saturday afternoon. In the meantime, she suddenly had two other appointments that cropped up for her – what a busy family we have become, with THREE things to do in a day! So, in order to coordinate, and since I was going to drive her to get her CoVid shot, I once again told her I was set for 12;30pm.
It was all fine and good this morning, as we did some things in the kitchen and then spent some time working on yet another jigsaw puzzle. Cheri said her eyes were bothering her, so she was going to instead take a shower, and I decided, since I had about an hour before my appointment, that I would check my email and the internet.
Now, I get a lot of spam and unwanted ads to buy something new from every website I have purchased anything from lately, from cat food to college sweatshirts to who knows, so I am continually deleting emails as they come in. After deleting one email, my appointment reminder was the next in line, and so it popped up. Yep – that’s right – 12:30 pm. No WAIT! The reminder said my appointment was at 11:30am, and the current time was 11:22AM! I quickly changed clothes and yelled to Cheri that I had the wrong time, jumped in the car for the 15 minute drive that I needed to somehow make in 8 minutes… now is the time for an airplane car…
Well, I zoomed out of our development – almost, as I had to wait for about 30 cars in the busiest traffic on the street for a month. I turned up 25th, and the traffic light that only turns red when a car wants to enter the street (something we don’t have at our entrance!) indeed turned red. After turning green, I zoomed up to the next corner, which has just turned yellow. As a rare act, I shot through on yellow, right behind a large family van. For some reason, they must have decided to save gas by going 20 mph in the 30mph zone. (Grrrr) They finally turned at the light, which had also turned red. After it went green, I zoomed three blocks. To the next red light. I then zoomed another four blocks… to the next red light. By that time, it was 12:31. I turned right on red, and zipped along on the 40mph street, up to the place where I needed to turn to get to the parking lot – and it was red. Finally, it turned green, and I made it to my appointment – 10 minutes late.
Now, that might not be a big deal to you, but I was mortified. The gal who cuts my hair just laughed, and said, “I wondered what happened – you all are always early…”
I brought along a load of peanut brittle for her family for Christmas, so there was no problem, but it spoke to me again of living intentionally versus living accidentally. It was no biggie, but I had just assumed that I had the time right in my head, and never was intentional about double checking. Actually, it was by accident that I made it there just that late! Now, I’m not trying to build the case for obsessive compulsive behavior, but there is virtue in being sure, and being focused on the details surrounding our lives. It may be that I’ve just gotten out of the habit of having to keep a calendar, but I think it also speaks to the fact that any of us – even those of us who hate to be late! – can accidentally, mistakenly, do the boo-boo.
So, even before New Year’s, I once again make the resolution to at least double check and be sure about the responsibilities I have before me in my life. If nothing else, it save embarrassment and not a little frustration over red lights…
Word for the Day: galilee. Pronounced GAL-li-lee. No, this is not the geographical region in northern Israel where Jesus and the disciples spent most of their time. New to me, but the galilee was/is an actual part of a church, especially in medieval times. It was the porch on the west front of a church (and also called a “paradise”). It was actually where the non-baptized, penitents would stand and wait to admitted to the church – often, there was a baptismal font to baptize them prior to entry. It was also the place, in monasteries, where clergy (always male) would receive women who had business with the monastery.
As larger churches were built, the use of “galilee” faded, and instead was replaced by “narthex,” where actually there were two porches, or entryways – an “esonarthex” inside the building itself, and an “exonarthex” which did exist as the front porch.
When you see your pastor next time, exclaim how you always have enjoyed walking through the galilee to get to church. They will of course scratch their heads….
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.