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5/04/2006

THE UPSIDE OF DOWN TIME

The upside of down time, the silver lining on a week of rusted vocal chords, is the sigh of gratitude when it's all over. Now that I can breathe and sing and taste lunch and hear and, well, breathe, every morsel is a little more savory and every sound a little more sonorous. Even waking up this morning before seven with a grumpy three year old was enjoyable. How'd that happen? It's on the other side of congestion I guess that easy breathing is most appreciated.

What I'm trying to say way too verbosely is that I'm grateful. Life is good. I missed being able to live it fully the last week.

Sometimes it may seem like I have a life of nothing but thought. All theory. All analyzation and theology and wrestling and questions. Not even close. This blog is about that side of my life certainly. But this blog is not my life. It can't be. It won't ever be. You wouldn't show up to read my life.

The part of life that makes me feel most alive, truly the bulk of life for me is the little stuff no one else would care to know about: the taste of my waffle in a new kind of syrup this morning, talking to neighbors about their jobs I didn't even know existed, flirting with my wife, cutting cheese sandwiches into shapes for my kids' lunch boxes, soy milk on sale at Kroger, a new face Penelope learned to make that resembles Elvis, the sound of a fart in the bathtub (bork!), assaulting a five year-old neighbor with a water gun from a hidden position in the trees, eating popsicles in a hammock, fixing a closet door, trying to remember with my wife what Erasure sang. This is real life. And today I'm thankful for it - for the little stuff that makes my life mine and worth waking up to.

So, these words from Garrison Keillor on how we need to stop whining and be honest about how good life can be for many of us in the West seem appropriate:

"Young people are pessimistic enough these days without their elders complaining about things. Shut up. Life is pretty good when you grow up. You own your own car, you go where you like, and you sing along with the radio or talk to yourself or chat on your cell phone. You pull into the drive-up window and order the Oreo Blizzard. What's not to like?

One day you get lucky and find someone who's willing to pay you to do something you do well or can fake, and on this you can build a life. You marry someone loving and sensible who makes you laugh, and you beget children, and go through the poop and puke and snot years, and somewhere around the age of 5 or 6, your kids start to fascinate you. There is nobody like them, except perhaps you. You would run into a burning building for them, and at the same time they're the cause of exquisite worry and consternation. At the age of 12, they look at you as if to say (START ITALICS) Your replacement has arrived. (END ITALICS)

Meanwhile, you march forward and sample the pleasures of life. You read history and learn to grill fish in beer batter and find comfortable shoes. You go to Rome. You go to Montana. You come to love baseball and old jazz and the art of conversation. You admit to yourself that you don't care for Walt Whitman or Proust or Henry James, and you forgive yourself for that and pick up Elmore Leonard and J.F. Powers. You discover the pleasure of discarding stuff. You find a hairstyle that suits you. You go back to Montana.

Eventually you cross the line into your forties, the mortgage years. And the fifties, when you stand weeping at graduations and weddings, and then, in the blink of an eye, come your sixties, and now you're on Easy Street. People who used to ignore you now treat you with reverence. There is great silence when you natter and pontificate, and people ask the secret of your success. You have become eminent. Inside you feel mischievous and jokey, but other people see you as a laureate, so you learn to harrumph."

Read the article in it's entirety here

Now, step away from the computer and do something no one else would care to read about: live.

(HT: AH).

17 Comments:

Blogger Kathryn said...

what a positive post! life is wonderful for all those kinds of reasons and millions more. I am getting up from the computer now to make supper for me *my family has gone on a musical road trip and I'm enjoying the solitude* Tonight i go dancing!

5/04/2006  
Blogger Chaotic Hammer said...

Amen.

The part about the different years of life reminded me of "100 Years" by Five for Fighting. It's one of those songs that always makes me think about the "big picture" of our earthly life, and to appreciate more fully the present moment, and the riches of each different stage of life.

The Lord is very, very good, and even on our worst days, we are living very blessed lives.

5/04/2006  
Blogger GrovesFan said...

Keep talking about the up side of down time. I'm having shoulder surgery next week and will subsequently have LOTS of down time. I hope I can still type! And work the buttons on the remotes, and turn pages, drive my girls to taekwondo, even though I can't participate for awhile. I hope to use my down time effectively; working on my Bible study, and hanging with my kids. Keeping my husband sane though the next two months' worth of non-stop inspections, and not forgetting to count past 10 with all the repetitious exercises.

Beth

5/04/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

I'll be praying for you, Beth. Let us know how things go.

5/04/2006  
Blogger Mustard Packet Pelter said...

With a shlog like that I'm stayin' right here!! Wanna know how my life has been going this week?...Finals...Studying...Finals...Studying...
Finals...Studying...did I mention Finals and Studying? Oh wait and I payed for my Summer tuition today. Exciting times let me tell ya!
Can I say I envy you?

5/05/2006  
Blogger introriff said...

So, I'm looking for a topic that may have been discussed here at Shlog, and KABLAM!, no search option available. What's up with that? Help me out with the scroll wheel finger numbing, speed reading the headers kinda eyeballs getting dry and it's getting really late and I need some sleep thing.

Thanks! :)

5/05/2006  
Anonymous Mark said...

I'm pretty sure you can go to blogger.com and use their search feature. I'm not familiar with exactly how you do it but I'm sure there is a way to tell it to limit it to this blog (since that's how its powered).

5/05/2006  
Blogger introriff said...

There is some code snippet that enables it. Shaun doesn't have the "blogger" bar at the top, which is cool, but it eliminates that feature by opting to do so.

5/05/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

What was the topic? I can find it.

Or technorati.com can help you find it.

5/05/2006  
Blogger introriff said...

Sabbath was my search, and I wanted your perspective if you have touched on it here.

-ike

5/05/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

I don't think I have.

5/05/2006  
Blogger introriff said...

The wife brought a book home and I started kicking this topic around in the noggin again.

I'm surprised that you haven't.

-ike

5/05/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Turns out I typed the word "Sabbath" here.

What book?

PS. Women don't like to be called "the wife." Correction:: MY wife wouldn't want to be called "the wife."

5/05/2006  
Anonymous Mark said...

blogger advanced search has the easiest means to search in a specific blog and for word(s) you specify.

5/05/2006  
Blogger introriff said...

The Ten Commandments Second Removed, by Danny Shelton and Shelly Quinn. Someone gave her a copy at a consignment shop yesterday.

It was a short read, less than two hours with interruptions cover to cover. Stirred up some previous thoughts and feelings on the subject of the Sabbath and Sundays.

I feel like I am off topic and hi-jacking the thread with this, but it was on my mind and came here to seek your thoughts on the subject.

In certain forums it is acceptable, but I certainly do not introduce her as "the wife". I would then probably get "the look".

5/05/2006  
Blogger introriff said...

Thanks Mark.

5/05/2006  
Anonymous Stephen said...

FYI: Danny Shelton, one of the authors of The Ten Commandments Second Removed is founder of 3ABN (Three Angels Broadcasting Network, which is affiliated with the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

It's good to know where people are coming from and what they are influenced by.

5/05/2006  

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