Being Sunday, the pace of life slowed to a crawl today. Sometimes I have a hard time forcing myself to be okay with that slow pace. Like many people Sunday tends to become the day that you race around trying to get done what you couldn't get done on Saturday. As a person of faith, I am also convicted by the fact that it is a commandment to keep it holy. It's my guess that this would include not working yourself to death. Sabbath comes from Shabbat which is Hebrew and means to cease. I need to be reminded that ceasing is okay.
Anyhow, as I was slowed down today, I had a lot of time to reflect. Often times, I try and see what the future holds for me and my family. This introspection, or future gazing if you will, only leads to frustration. No one knows what their health, job or family situation is going to be like tomorrow, let alone beyond that into the future, so why bother.
Frustration from that today caused me to shift gears and think about the purpose of life TODAY. From there it spun me to the past week I had, which at the time seemed ordinary and mundane, but after looking harder, it was really a phenomenal week. A phenomenal week that is really just a small part of a bigger, really, really good life.
Thinking about the week made me realize there are two central tenets that make up much of what we call happiness. They are Community and Family. I saw examples of each of these this past week.
- The Guest House: We served 85+ men dinner again this past week. My family and a couple of other families grilled and served a BBQ feast for homeless men at the Guest House shelter in Milwaukee. These men have their own supportive community and by serving them, we were helping our community be a better place. Furthermore, my serving them gives me a sense of purpose. It's a win win.
- Coffee Group: I meet with a few guys every Thursday to talk through a book that we are all reading. These books are spiritual in nature and some of the conversations we have are quite heady and thought provoking. I don't know how I landed in this group, but I am glad I did. Again, being part of this tiny community gives me a depth of purpose that I otherwise wouldn't have.
- Our Bay View Friends: These are a group of friends that have grown from two to about eight or ten people. We get together periodically and while our focus is more fun and laughter, we happen upon some tough subjects too. They call us their displaced neighbors and they help make our suburban community a little more urban. They care about us and vice verse.
- My AllWriters' Group: Writing friends and colleagues that are out to help me succeed. We critique each others' work in the interest of helping to make our writing sell, succeed and sing. We are tied together by the love of words and again, I'm fortunate to be a part of it.
- Church: At church today I was reminded of the importance of corporate worship and the sense of community that a church imparts. We have been going to the same church for 21 years, and while pastors and much of the congregation has come and gone, there are a number of friends and stalwarts who have stuck with it and see the value of the community beyond the politics of the pulpit. We're blessed and, with a bit of luck, are a blessing as well.
- My Distant Extended Family: My sister in-law and her two kids came down from the Twin Cities to visit us and her sister this weekend. Her son stayed at our house for a couple of nights and we were amazed at his politeness. He's grown into a good kid with great manners. It was a joy to see him hanging out with Ben and it made me thankful that we have the close family that we have.
- My Local Extended Family: I was fortunate to see my brother in law in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying last night and it was amazing. He and the rest of the cast nailed it. It was a fun and at times rollicking musical that was pure entertainment. Afterwards we got talking with him and his partner until the wee hours of the morning. They are our only Milwaukee family and it is great to get together with them.
- My Immediate Family: Our daughter was gone overnight at the Packer Scrimmage yesterday and it was a weird deal. It was not right not having her around. She had a great experience, but it was too quiet without her and it gave me pause to think what it's going to be like when both her and Ben are gone. We're blessed with good kids and wonder what we did to deserve them.
In closing, it was a bit of a philosophical day today. Lots to be thankful for, and the realization that trying to map out the future will only serve to cause me to miss what's happening in the immediate. And from what I just laid out, the immediate is pretty dang good.