“Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; He has risen!”
Today as I listened to those around me there seemed to be a developing theme for the day. The morning started with reading my email as I usually do before work while drinking my morning coffee. One email I receive every day is Turning Point by Dr. David Jeremiah. It is a daily on-line devotional. The theme of this morning’s devotional was Crazy Busy.
In his book, CrazyBusy: Overstretched, Overbooked and About to Snap, Edward M. Hallowell wrote about the moment he knew he had crossed the dark side from busy to crazy busy. It was when he lost his temper at a rotary dial phone while on vacation. His cell phone wouldn’t work, and he just about went nuts waiting for the dial to return to start with every number. Then, calming down, he timed the process. The entire dialing process took all of eleven seconds. “What a fool I had become,” he wrote. “I had become a man in a hurry even when I had no need to hurry.”
After finishing up with a few things at home I headed into work and there was a salesperson waiting to see me when I arrived. She comes to our business once every month or two for a visit. We talked about my vacation a bit and then she related a story about their family trip to the Wisconsin Dells with her husband and two kids. They planned carefully for their trip time wise and financially before they left. She said everything went fine for the first two days because they were in one place but then she said that’s when the fun ended and it went from vacation to crazy busy even on vacation.
They spent the third day of their vacation hitting every tourist trap up and down the streets in the Wisconsin Dell area. They denied themselves nothing. They spent more than they had planned on stuff they hadn’t planned than on what they had planned. She said it was like the whole family was in a frenzy going from one thing to the next. It was not what they had planned for their vacation. They came home frazzled, broke and exhausted.
When I started on the work I had planned for the day I managed to get a few things done on my list but spent most of the day “putting out fires” as my husband refers to taking care of the urgent but not necessarily the important.
Some days we are too busy “putting out fires” in our crazy busy world that we neglect what’s most important-time for ourselves and our family. It’s important to build some solitude in your daily routine and rest. On the days when my husband and I get home late from work it is hard to give up the time for the things I enjoy and opt for the rest I need.
When my boys were young one of their favorite things to do was to hop up into Grandpa’s chair if he had vacated it long enough for the boys to notice. They loved to lean back and stretch out pretending to be just like Grandpa in his chair. Our grandson has started to play the same game. I hope that the next generation will learn how to slow down and enjoy the moment better than this generation does, at least that is my hope.
I love early mornings. A quiet mind within a quiet house not yet awake. It’s a great time to read, think, and write. I enjoy sitting in the quiet and thinking about the day that is just beginning and its possibilities with a cup of hot coffee in hand.
Some mornings like the past week have been dreary and rainy making it hard to get moving. This time of the year it is difficult to force myself out of bed in the dark. It takes so long to see the early morning sun which is another motivator for me.
I love to listen as one by one the others in my home wake up and join the day. Each in their own way. My oldest son jumps to meet the day and hops instantly into the shower to get ready. Not late, it’s just how he starts his day. My youngest daughter greets the day slowly and slumbers later into her morning. She takes it slowly never in too much of a hurry. It’s always been that way since they were born.
My youngest son used to greet the day screaming as a baby. He was hungry. Now! Feed him and everything was right with his world. He’s mellowed a bit in that department. My older daughter always greeted her new day with delight and still does.
Throughout the day at work so much of the day is spent in the reactionary mode or as my husband likes to put it “Putting out fires”. When you deal with customer service you drop what you are doing or planning to do to meet the needs of the customer your day becomes fragmented. It ends without a feeling of accomplishment because not one thing was finished to completion on your list. Many things may have moved forward with some progress but not entirely finished.
Even on the most stressful days at work if there was time in the morning for quiet before the chaos the day seems to go better. If there was none because I started the day racing through it and there was no time to relax in the morning, things just don’t go as smoothly. Unassaulted time has its benefits even in the dark.
It takes a truck,
When we arrived, Dad had his trailer ready to go in the driveway and all the tools he knew we would need gathered. He commented “I think this is the first year I actually have all my stuff together early.” We walked down to the dock to make sure everything was in order there and that the outboard motor would start since we wouldn’t be putting up the sails to go to the boat landing.
I told Dad that I’ve helped take the boat in and out the past few years but I can’t remember the last time I’ve actually been on the boat in the water other than at the boat ramp. When did that happen? Too busy to sail? He said “You want to ride with over to the landing?” I said “Sure.”
We sent Mom off with their van and Dean off with the truck over to the boat landing and I let Dad and I free of the dock and moved the front end of the boat around the dock. He said “Don’t forget to jump on.” I replied “I won’t you’ve got my coffee on board.” Then I climbed on board as the boat was making its way past the end of the dock.
It’s a short trip over to the landing but the amount of talking we got in seemed like it went on forever. I kept glancing at Dad and thinking I should take a picture of him, captain of his boat, but I couldn’t do it. Somehow, I felt if I took the picture, it would be the last one I would have of him on his boat and it shouldn’t be of him motoring across the lake but with the sails up and the winds blowing in his face. No need to worry, but I don’t ever remember thinking how quickly yet slowly time has gone with Dad.
Dad’s in great shape. He turned 74 this past February. He and my Mom have spent the entire summer campaigning because Dad decided to run for Congress as an Independent in Minnesota. I told them they should have both been wearing pedometers this summer to record the many miles they have walked delivering literature in the district which covers about one-third of the western part of Minnesota from Canada to Iowa. It’s not his first venture into politics. He was in the Minnesota House of Representatives for 4 years and the Minnesota Senate for 14 years.
I remember Dad’s first sailboat. Mom gave him a kit for Christmas one year in either 1964 or 65. I remember that he built it in the dining room all winter because he couldn’t wait until spring to start it. That way he’d get in more sailing in the summer. I was only 4 or almost 5 at the time. Playing under the upside down boat in the diningroom was my personal fort all winter long. I hated when he had to turn it over and eventually take it outside in the spring.
Next came the bigger wooden boat that he bought and rebuilt in the backyard of our next home, sometime in the mid 70’s. When he brought it home from the guy he bought it from he actually put his hand through the front of the boat because portions of the wood were rotten. We made many trips over to Johnson Marina on White Bear Lake for parts to repair the boat before it was ready to sail.
I still remember the Memorial Day when my two sisters and I were sitting on the edge of the boat ready to set sail. Dad handed my brother the main sail rope and the rudder and told him to hold it steady while he adjusted the jib. He did just as Dad said only a strong gust came up and pulled the rope from his hand and the boom knocked the three of us backwards into the cold waters of White Bear Lake. I don’t remember ever being so cold and taking so long to warm up.
The adventurous nature of my Dad took us to many places. One winter we pulled the sailboat behind our van all the way to the South Padre Islands or was it Corpus Christi, Texas so he could try sailing it there. He put it in and sailed in the waters off the Texas coast. He is always happiest when he’s on his boat. He was in the Army before he went to college but I think he should have joined the Navy instead because of his love of the water.
After the larger wooden boat came the catamaran sailboat. That was definitely a wilder ride that any other sailboat to that point. I even went out in the sling out over the water on the catamaran and had quite the ride when we turtled it on the Fourth of July. Mom was not a fan of that boat. No way to stay dry and drink wine when Dad was sailing that boat.
Dad eventually sold the catamaran and purchased the boat he has now the Therapy II. It’s a fun boat to take out. Dad loved to take his mom out for rides on it when she would come for a visit. She was in her nineties when had her last ride in it. Like my Dad, she was always up for an adventure.
Taking the boat out this year seemed pretty uneventful. We loaded the boat onto the trailer on the first attempt. We remembered the order of things and everything went smoothly. If we had been keeping track of our official times to complete the task, I’m sure this year’s time would have been our best.
I wish that Dad would have had time to take it for a sail before we put it away. He said that he only sailed it twice all summer and one of those times was alone Mom was out of town. I wish that he would have called to see if I wanted to go out. I’m sure I would have made time to sail or would I have let my busy world take such a pleasure from me? I’ll never know about this year, but there is always next summer.
This is a picture that I took on a recent trip to the Snowy Mountains near Laramie, Wyoming. It was a snowy morning as we set off on our rented snowmobiles and gear. My husband was anxious to show me all the scenery where he had gone snowmobiling with friends for several years. We drove our snowmobiles on trails for over a hundred miles around Albany Lodge. The first trail we went on the groomer hadn’t been through yet so we were the first to ride through 2 feet of fresh powder for 25 miles. It was tree-lined for miles on end. At we reached close to the end of the trail at higher altitudes we came out of the protection of the trees into white out conditions. We drove for a little longer and decided it wasn’t wise to continue past a point where we could no longer see our trail ahead and there was about a 200 foot drop on our left. We turned around and headed back down our trail, still the only ones to have traveled our trail.
After lunch at Albany Lodge we headed out once again only on trails that kept in the protection of trees. We followed a trail that took us along Fox Creek most of the afternoon. As we were riding along the creek I was trying to imagine how that scene would be in the spring with the snow melting and the creek opening up and flowing. There is something magical about water running through snow-covered hills and signs of spring poking through. As we passed small cabins in the woods I imagined myself sitting inside next to a warm fire in the fireplace and a good book in hand and how relaxing it would be in the quiet of the woods.
When you get away from the business of life you begin to appreciate how quiet life was in past times. There wasn’t the constant sound of keyboards clicking, TV’s blaring 24/7, the ringtones of cell phones and ping sounds of text messages. In cars, people used to talk as they traveled because there wasn’t always good radio reception where they traveled. There certainly weren’t 8 track tapes, cassette tapes, CDs, MP3s and IPODs. It seems that people are afraid of quiet and where their thoughts and conversations may lead them if they take the time to be quiet.
My husband and I were talking about the sounds in the home that we remember growing up that our kids haven’t heard. My Dad used to stand in the bathroom every morning with his shaving gear, a cup with a special soap in the bottom and a brush that he would swirl and click against the side to make lather, and razor (not electric) and shave. I can remember my brothers standing on the toilet and Dad would put the lather on their chins so they could pretend they were shaving as well. The clicking of the wooden handle of the brush against the porcelain cup remains. The sound of the Minnesota Twins on the radio as my uncles sat and visited in the backyard at my Grandma and Grandpa’s backyard on a sunny afternoon. The sounds of the horseshoe game in the background. The sound of the grandfather clock chiming or the sound of potatoes being mashed in the kitchen for Sunday dinner. What will be the sounds remembered of this time and place? Many, I am sure.