When I was growing up, our car was a 1964 dark-as-midnight navy blue Chevy Impala station wagon. Dad actually ordered it to have it ready when we came back from Australia, and we all rode the bus up to Portland to pick it up and begin our trip across country to South Carolina. We actually kept the car for 10 years, and it was our main transportation for camping, church, scouts, trips to the dentist and everything else you could do in the 60s. Living on the air base in South Carolina, we didn’t have a garage or even a car port. The Impala was always parked on the concrete driveway slab, in sun, rain, or even the rare snow. One of the tasks of the children in the house was to periodically wash and clean the car. There were different levels of work. Level one would be the simple wash and chamois dry the outside of the car – that usually happened weekly. Level two added the work of hauling the cannister vacuum outside and cleaning the inside of the car. I believe to this day that the work of vacuuming inside of a dark colored station wagon on a hot South Carolina summer’s day is probably what activated my sweat glands that have stayed with me, and continue to over function to this day. The only advantage to the vacuum level was that it meant we could pull the seats up and check for any change that fell out pockets since the last time. We could usually score a good 35 to 50 cents. Level three, of course, was the seasonal exercise of waxing the car, with a paste wax and a million rags. There were usually three recruits for the car cleanup, and we approached it with air force precision.
Fast forward ahead 55 years, and things have indeed changed. My car – one of four currently owned by members of the family, with a three-car garage – still manages to be that “outside car,” no matter the weather. I long ago gave up the manual labor of washing the car myself, as I want to promote local businesses – especially automated car washes. The trouble with that, of course, is that it only compares to level one in the old days, or perhaps a level one/three combo, when I decide to have the spray wax added to the selection. What’s missing is level two – cleaning the inside. I have faithfully managed to avoid that work for a number of seasons. Sure, I’ll wipe off the dash board, and I don’t spill stuff in my car, so nothing is stained, but as I was looking at it this past week, as I live in coronavirus land with frankly plenty of time on my retired’s hands, I felt the strange sensation – not of guilt for what I hadn’t done – but that creeping sense of obligation, that I probably ought to spend a little time before the winter sets in, and at least vacuum out the grass left by the golf bag in the back and maybe even clean the inside windows.
I’m still learning after all these years, but I made what I consider to be a huge mistake earlier this week, and mentioned to Cheri that I might clean out the inside of my car. I haven’t heard that much enthusiasm in my wife’s voice for many months. “What a great idea!” she exclaimed, and then began to list the number of particular parts of cleaning I should undertake, from scrubbing the part of the inside roof that got rubbed by furniture as I moved it from Texas last summer, to the leather armrest that should be creamy white, but now looked more ashy-gray. Since the day I mentioned that I MIGHT, every evening when I pick her up from work, she gets in the car, looks around and gently and sweetly says, “Didn’t happen today?” “Not today?” “Did you get too busy today?” It’s actually like being trapped in a car, driving down the highway, while a bee buzzes past your eyes and ears, looking for the opportunity to punish you for existing.
So, it’s not raining today. It’s nice and sunny, but the temperature is only supposed to get up to 69 degrees. I have a couple of things to do, like grocery shopping and my 1:30 nap, but this of any day is probably best suited for inside car cleaning. Of course, I remember the old riddle: Five crows were sitting on a fence together, and three of them decided it would be the best thing if they flew off. How many are left? The answer of course is five – just because they thought it was the best thing to do doesn’t mean they actually did it. Will I actually do it? Maybe. Probably. Could happen. Stay tuned.
The process each of us goes through to make decisions, and then to actually follow through on them is probably unique to each of us. Some folks indeed do “marry in haste, repent at leisure,” as they make a quick decision, and act on it, and never think about a better way, or a different path to take. Others consider decision-making to be a marathon race. Decisions can only be made and followed through on at the 26-mile mark. Still others never really make decisions – they are just directed to act by more forceful or influential persons in their lives, who always make decisions for them. None of those ways are particularly intentional, are they? That is, they all seem to carry with them the element of either rash behavior, or inaction, or ceding the important decisions of one’s life to someone else. Certainly when there is an issue of urgency, it doesn’t make sense to sit of a stump and muse for hours on end. Neither does it make sense, when there is a decision that has a huge impact to either give it away, or refuse to take into account the possible consequences that could arise.
What I guess I am trying to say is that we need at every turn to make decisions in our lives that are both thoughtful, and timely, and ones that we can own, and be proud of after the results are in. Now, cleaning out the inside of a car is not what I would call either urgent or important, but it is something I can do, and will do. Deciding where I will live, who I will live with, how I will spend the bulk of my time, where I will invest myself and my resources, and what is to be the important things that I will decide to do is pretty significant. To make those choices with an accidental heart is to truly waste life, and the significant, important events that create a life worth living. Choose wisely. Choose, and then act wisely. Choose, act, but also pray for the guidance to do it all the best way possible. It’s worth the time.
Word for the day: sciolism. Pronounced SIGH-o-lism, we again turn to our Latin roots. The Latin scire, means “to know,” scirus “knowledge. Words that we use today coming from this root would be “science,” or conscience,” or omniscient (all-knowing). That’s an important root. However, sciolus, takes scirus, and makes it into a diminutive form of knowledge. That is, sciolus really means “smatterer,” or someone who speaks without knowing what he/she is talking about – they have a little bit of knowledge about something, but certainly not enough to give them license to go on the lecture circuit. As they say, “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.” Sciolism is that little knowledge, which we could also assume means that the person has a much larger percentage of ignorance, which in this instance, is indeed NOT bliss.
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.