Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Rest from Work

I am preparing to leave my work for a brief sabbatical. The word sabbatical is simply defined as a rest from work - a hiatus. In it's strictest sense it may last from several months to a year - mine is certainly not that long. I am very fortunate and blessed to have the time for rest and reflection.

The problem is that I love to work. Maybe I am even addicted to work. I had my first part-time job for pay when I was 10 years old. I have been working ever since. I have never been unemployed (I know that is a remarkable blessing.). I have always found work meaningful and rewarding. For one thing, I like to eat and my Dad said, (quoting Paul, the apostle) "If you don't work, you don't eat." I have enjoyed some work situations more than others but have always found work invigorating and a source of great satisfaction.

So now I will take my leave and rest. This is easier said than done. I may need a support group to help me pull this off. My dear wife has volunteered to help. Making a list for every day and attacking it with great determination will need to be set aside for a while and that will be a challenge. The first few days may be like being in the detox unit.

Jesus told his harassed and busy Disciples to "Come away and rest for awhile." I guess if Jesus needed some "sabbath" time, surely I do. In one of the translations of that text, it reads "Come apart..." - Jesus is telling his friends to come apart before they come apart. Time for rest and reflection helps us to restore a healthy perspective about our life and work.

I have a stack of books to read. I plan to take long walks with my dear spouse. If I can get my mind to stop thinking about work, I plan to think about other things - like life, love, and good Mexican food.

I also plan to spend plenty of time in prayer. It will be nice to not feel like I have to rush through my times of prayer.

I will tell you how it went in a few weeks. In the meantime, I have some work to get done before I leave. (Now I can check "Blog entry" off my list for today- I feel better already.)

Just thinking, Steve

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Some Like It Hot

It's August in Texas which means it is very hot. This morning the low was 83 with oppressive humidity that made breathing quite a challenge. I did my morning Bike Ride with a good buddy who is kind enough to not ride off and leave me somewhere out on a country road in East County. I was in a full sweat before I got on the bike. Just topping my tires with air, putting on my bike shoes and helmet had me sweating big time. I drank an entire bottle of sport drink on the ride and sucked down some Hammer Gel to keep from passing out. Isn't it great to live where the heat index is nearly 100 by mid morning?

I remember my High School football twice daily practices in the Texas heat. Our coaches believed that drinking water just slowed you down - so we would practice for hours with maybe one water break. The fact that we did not die in that heat is nothing short of a miracle. I would begin the season at 175 and lose 10 to 15 pounds in the first week.

My Grandfather loved the hot weather - he never complained about the heat. He said that hot weather separates the men from the boys. In his prime he could work all day out in the heat and never slow down. At lunch, he would find a spot in the shade eat his lunch quickly - drink some hot coffee - black, of course - and then sleep till the lunch break was over. When he woke up he was ready to go till the old sun was sinking in the western sky.

In a day of instant Weather Channel, my favorite AP on my Blackberry, I monitor the heat index from my cool, comfortable office and talk about how hot it is! I really think the "heat index" readings have made most of us feel much more miserable during the dog days of summer. When I was a kid I had no idea it was so hot - 110 heat index? - all I knew was that when you jumped in the river on a hot day it sure felt good!

Soon we will be talking about the biting cold - looking for our gloves and wishing for summer again! I am reminding myself today that some like it hot - Papa did. But then he never complained about the cold either - he never complained about anything. He lived with a grateful heart.

Thinking about such a dear old grateful man makes me feel better already! The old dude was a cool character!

Just thinking, Steve

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Good Gifts

What a beautiful world I have the privilege to live in! Despite all the problems, the ugliness, the pain and the challenges our world faces, there is such beauty if we look carefully. There is beauty in nature - blue skies, delicate clouds, spectacular sunsets - an array of amazing creatures that lift my spirits! When I mowed my yard this week, I saw a snake, a squirrel, numerous beautiful birds, insects of all varieties, including a katydid. All around me there is such beauty - gifts for the delight of my soul and spirit!

There is amazing beauty in people. Every shape and size and color - they are so remarkable. They go about their lives with such unique ways of doing things - even when they look odd they are interesting to me. Children laugh - they cry - they squeal with delight and it is all so beautiful in its time and place. An older couple walking together hand in hand - a picture of time tested love - this makes my heart rise!

There is such beauty in the arts - music, writing, films, plays, paintings and so much more! People using these amazing gifts from God to make the world a more delightful and thought provoking place to live - good gifts from our God.

There is great beauty in the service offered to those in need by willing servants. Feeding those less fortunate, helping someone find a job, taking someone to the Doctor, checking on an elderly neighbor, being a friend to someone who is hurting -- beautiful gifts given to others.

As I think about this I realize that there are really two ways to live: one to bring ugliness and pain into this world or to bring beauty - to be a blessing. I want to always to do the latter.

"Everything is beautiful in its time" says the wisdom writer of Ecclesiastes.

What will you offer to our world? Something beautiful, I hope. Begin today.

Just thinking, Steve