Addition

I was good at arithmetic when I was a kid, I was the champ of my fourth grade math class, even beat the boys, and that was tricky back in my elementary school days because there was a lot of favoritism and sexism and the boys ruled. But before I boast one more second and live on in the glory of my 10-year-old math brain I’ll let go of that tangent and instead share what I’ve been thinking about, a different kind of addition. It’s easy to hear people these days talk about “giving up” something, sacrificing or fasting, sort of subtracting something from the norm. I’ve decided I’m adding this season not subtracting. I’ve been thinking about my life and I think it needs to expand and if I believe the whole point of any season, especially the Lenten season is to grow closer to God I think I need to work on becoming more and I’ve decided this season I’m not going to do that thru less.

In certain phases and stages of my life I’ve felt “practicing” my faith an obligation, sort of like when you’re a child and your Mother makes you take something to the house of the old person down the street. Your first reaction is to say no, then whine about how their house smells funny and they talk too much. She insists you do it and when you go in the house and the woman greets you at the door sitting in her wheel chair you are creeped out, scared because you are alone with her. She’s so grateful that you have brought her the newspaper and her mail you think she’s faking her excitement because how could it be that big of a deal. Not until you are a grown woman dealing with your own physical challenges do you realize how complicated it can be some days to get your mail in or what a comfort it is to have someone bring you something that you can’t easily manage for yourself.
Your Mother made you visit that woman and run errands for her and it took a long time before it didn’t feel like an obligation, until you didn’t mind going, until you actually sat down in the lady’s home and ate a piece of candy that she offered every time you went. It took a long time to not notice the funny smells and to talk to her. Eventually it was easier and your relationship changed. You grew and it was no longer a burden, she had become your neighbor and by the time you were a teenager you never thought twice about stopping at her house to check on her. Your Mother knew what she was doing all along and it seems to me it’s sort of like that with faith. If you hang in there and do the routine, unpleasant, tedious stuff, the boring stuff, the creepy stuff you eventually get to know God and yourself a lot better than you did when it was only drudgery. God feels like your friend because you invested in the relationship. So it seems to me I’m going to add things this Lent, not deduct. My heart needs to grow wider, my attention needs to focus on more than me, my mind needs to expand. So everyday I’m going to research something I know nothing about and learn more about something new every day. I’m going to double up on some of my “practices” that bring me joy. I’m going to add more to my life, grow my mind and heart and hopefully deepen my faith. I’m spilling all of this to you because accountability is a big part of any new endeavor. You are going to keep me honest.

I’ll let you know in 40 days how I did. Happy Lent!

Sunday Traction

A bit out of my routine this week, although I can always benefit from more traction time. Honestly, I could sit here everyday if I could tolerate it but I think I’ve found a good balance, mostly one where I can live with the schedule, commit to doing it, yet still benefit enough to function. Sundays for me have always been a day to do the special things, out of the routine, which everyone needs. So fitting traction in today isn’t cool but for the best. I’m going to a baby shower later today in honor of one of my favorite folks on the planet. How exciting, expecting twins, two babies God willing will soon be coming into our family. Can’t wait to meet them and have that feeling once again of where have you been all my life! Truly, doesn’t get any better than new babies in your life, so fun, so exciting, so worth doing extra traction for!
See you next week.

The squeaky wheel

I had that shopping cart today, the one that sounds like fingers on a chalk board, the one that all four wheels seem to be going in different directions and the noise is so high-pitched you start to look for a camera thinking you’ve been punked. But nope, your cart is not part of an elaborate prank, it’s just a mess and you are the lucky girl today that grabbed it and now you are half way around the store with this screeching thing and you can’t seem to push it fast enough to get this experience over with, oh yeah, and the faster you push the worse the sound. You start to feel self-conscious because it feels like your car alarm is going off inside the grocery store and all the stares and expressions of, “what the heck lady, turn that thing off!” are starting to get to you. You talk yourself off the ledge of just ditching the cart because you really need the stupid thing to hold onto even though you came in the store for only three items you are too unsteady on your feet today to be walking around the store without it. So you cut down another aisle just as the looks become embarrassing and force yourself onto some poor unsuspecting shoppers soon to have goose bumps from the unpleasant sound headed their way. You literally have the cart with the squeaky wheel and it truly is earning attention. You remember a child in Haiti that would cry out for any attention as soon as he’d see someone pass down the hallway, he’d scream as if he was dying and the stranger would immediately head in his direction. The little attention there was to be had he consumed it. You rarely picked him up because you saw this happen often enough that you knew he would survive, you focused your attention on the silent children with out the will or strength to scream. Why is it that the squeaky wheel gets attention? It really does work, you’ve seen it first hand in humans and with grocery carts. Why don’t things work as they should? Why do noisy things get more attention than quiet ones?
Why is human nature that when you push a crazy loud cart you feel like crawling under the shelves after a while because you just want to be the anonymous shopper, not the squeaky wheel…….geez, too much thinking in the aisles makes me grateful for the peace and quite of traction. This thing looks like it should make noise but other than the water sloshing around in the bag and the sound of the pulley running over head it’s all quiet here now and it’s quite nice.

Pinched without pain

I pinched my index finger today and didn’t know it, may have been pinched for five minutes or more. When I finally noticed I quickly freed it but once again I was reminded it’s not normal to not feel your finger being pinched. Eventually I had some feeling like you should expect to have if you’ve deprived your finger of some blood flow but overall it wasn’t what you should feel to warn yourself that something is up. Pain can be a good thing I was reminded today, a warning to help yourself, to stop further injury, a red flag, but for me I live with chronic pain and then the pain you need to help I can’t feel! So I thought I’d throw in an extra traction today and hopefully between the traction and the typing I’ll get a little more feeling back in the fingers. So weird.