Okay. I admit it. I was on edge and antsy as I sat down for some quiet time this morning. Seems antithetical to the whole idea of ‘quiet’ time, right?
Now wait. Before you lecture me, let me ‘splain. The little Dan in my head started stomping around, kicking over mental trash cans and slamming doors: “0430, Bozo. Get ’em up!”
Some of you know my personality doesn’t like the Rick Rude deal first thing in the AM, so I was actually laying there at 0425, easing myself into the actual getting up beFORE the dingus TI in my mind got a full head of bad breath.
Being awake at 0425 and being a man who actually loves mornings, you know the dominant three of me were already sitting down over coffee before the dingus did his thing, getting a head start on what I need to work on today. You like that, right? ‘A head start’? Don’t hate me. It’s a gift.
In other words, I had already begun the process of loading my schedule, considering this or that, deciding what could be done now and what could possibly wait until later in the day.
Five minutes of that, friend, would make even you on edge and antsy. Though usually taciturn and even-tempered, I caught myself quoting back to me something I’d read last week:
“Inspirational quotes? Yeah, this isn’t one of ’em. It’s too early for that junk! Siddown, put a sock in it and drink your coffee.”
Only this time I wasn’t amused at myself. More like irritated. Oh, come on–you know there’s no one who can get your goat quicker than YOU can.
This was my frame of mind as I sat with this morning’s first cup of hot, fresh joe reading through Psalms as a means of contemplation and pleasant solitude leading up to Easter Sunday and everything it means.
No. Nunh-uh. Ever noticed that God does not wear running shoes? The Sovereign Creator of All That Exists does a lot of things for me. What He consistently refuses to do is lace ’em up, grab his squeeze bottle of Heavenly water and jog along beside me until I slow down enough to actually listen to what He has to say.
No shock, then, that I was finding plenty of super snippets of David’s truth, but wasn’t having any “a-HA” moments.
Not until I began reading 23. You got this, right? I’m in 5th gear, cruising on Spiritual/Mental 1. You know what it’s like to try to read roadside signs and markers at highway speeds.
e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-E-E-E-E-YUROW-w-w-w-w-w-w . . .
“Aw, c’mon, Boss–lemme just paste ‘im one time, eh?”
And God? Rocking placidly, slight smile on His face, waiting.
” ‘Ay, Boss, You want I should go rough ‘im up, some? That ain’t, like, respectful of Your Godness or nuttin’.”
“Relax, Pete. Take a load off. Just watch; he’ll be—there he comes now.”
And there I came, though not quite as fast as I passed Him before. You want sheepish, try coming back into God’s quiet, orderly presence with his hair blown sideways and road grit all over His polo from your first pass. Peter, spitting out some blown paper, was a bit less magnanimous . . .
“Aw, c’mon, Boss–lemme just paste ‘im one time, eh?”
Re-reading . . .
GOD, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing. You have bedded me down in lush meadows, you find me quiet pools to drink from. True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction.
Even when the way goes through Death Valley, I’m not afraid when you walk at my side. Your trusty shepherd’s crook makes me feel secure.
You serve me a six-course dinner right in front of my enemies. You revive my drooping head, my cups brims with blessing.
Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life. I’m back home in the house of GOD for the rest of my life.
It, ah, was quiet, then. The gentle breezes of Heaven brought faint echoes of the syncopated, swaying rhythms of soul and jazz floating over from Anthem Arena. And the aroma of pizza.
“That’s–that’s HERESY! It’s ridiculous!”
No. It’s rest. The Psalm speaks to what is restful for troubled sheep. It’s deeper truth speaks to what is restful for me. And for me? There are few things more restful in this life than some soft, well-played jazz and a fresh-baked pizza.
“Troubled? You?” At times everyone gets troubled, tripped up by feelings. I’m no exception. Because my mother was 42 when I was born, I grew up
- alone, though I knew I had 4 siblings, the nearest 9 years older.
- with parents the age of all my friends’ grandparents.
- wrestling with who I was and where I fit . All through school, K – 12. Mostly I didn’t feel like I fit anywhere. I had the same desires, dreams and loves of anyone else my age; I just didn’t know how to articulate them. I wasn’t well socialized and suffered because of it.
- always getting along well with older adults because that was my environment. Problem: I went to school with kids my age. I got along well with teachers because they were older; I was used to that. Fitting in, so vital to teen psyche, was always elusive. I rarely did, so I spent much of my ‘free’ time alone.
- with a lot of my natural and God-gifted talent and ability laying hidden and dormant during that time. I knew what I could do, was good at, but felt awkward trying. The combination of my perfectionism and a perceived lack of encouragement from significant others in my life was lethal to my being as involved in music, the arts, speaking and writing as I could have been. I used singing as my therapy, losing myself and my woes whenever able to sing either alone or with an ensemble.
- frustrated. As I began adult life, I got busy enough that I didn’t give all this much thought. It never completely left me, though. Age-appropriate? In Earth years I’m 62; miraculously healed, wonderfully blessed to be alive, and brimming with desire to become the finest writer/speaker I can. THAT is ageless. I know I’ve much to offer and have lots of ability. Right when I want to be at my best, it often seems like the old high-school bugbear is hawking my steps and everyone around me is chosen while I’m pitied. So, yes–even now, I occasionally wrestle with thoughts of inadequacy and feelings of not being wanted, of feeling unused. Every time I walk into a new group, I sense that old feeling: “You gotta prove yourself here, Bub. We don’t let just anybody in.” Any group. Any setting. It’s hard to break in, and often some of the most talented, able people get tired of trying and waiting and they quietly leave. I’ve felt it, and I’ve done it. I’m sensitive to it. I don’t like that about myself, but eventually I get tired of the ‘on-the-shelf’ feeling.
“Why do you open up such private places? I can tell they still bother you.”
I write to real people living real lives. I hear back from 2nd Cuppers with enough frequency to remind me why I do this. As a recovering perfectionist I dislike revealing my imperfections. I’m transparent and authentic with you on purpose here, though, with hopes that maybe something I write silently cracks open a door you’ve kept shut in your own heart. By my willingness to bleed and cry a little, some of your own hurts and tears can be honored and sanctified by the incredible rest and healing provided by God – when you’re willing to slow down as I did and pull over long enough to receive it.
For those of you who tend to enjoy my being creative with what Heaven’s like? I just know somebody was wanting to know what logo God had on His polo.
Adidas. Just sayin’.
I love you and I believe in you.
© D. Dean Boone, February 2015