My oldest daughter and I go out for breakfast the first Tuesday of every month – it’s affectionately known as take-out-Tuesday. This practice began when she started kindergarten, it’s one of the few traditions we intentionally planned. We decided to make it a “tradition” before it even started. We were supposed to go on Tuesday of this week, but my wife woke up super early and headed to the 24 hour Walmart to buy supplies for a school project and I needed to stay home. Needless to say, we couldn’t do take-out Tuesday.
What a Tuesday it turned out to be! My schedule changed about five different times, based on an unforeseen circumstance. A couple of meetings got scheduled, then cancelled, then rescheduled. I got home 20 minutes late, with just enough time to quickly eat supper before driving my daughter to dance. From there I hurried back to the church for an evening meeting. My phone went off during the meeting, indicating that my daughter had forgotten her water bottle and needed something printed off for a school project. When the meeting finished up, I grabbed a water bottle from my office and drove the water over to her dance studio. She still had an hour to go, so I decided to go home. At home, we finished up some daily chores, talked a little and before I knew it, 45 minutes went by and it was time to go back to pick my daughter up from dance. We arrived back home around 9:00, just in time to go to bed.
The next morning, a beautiful Wednesday, we decided we would go for breakfast. I heard my daughter’s alarm go off about 6:15 and we were out the door by 6:40. The place we wanted to try didn’t open until 9. The next place we tried wasn’t open either, so we settled for Arby’s. It turned out to be an awesome morning – as usual, we try to create a memory and ask (and answer) questions.
From there we did our typical Wednesday routine, which ends after choir, youth group, worship team practice at church.
Today, in this quiet early morning review of the last two days, it dawned on me that what I just described could be called “the rat race”- a full day of commitments, connections, catching up, keeping up, calming down, and communicating.
I wonder if we think of it as the rat race because that’s what we call it? What if the rat race is really just our life full of blessings? What if we could find joy in the opportunities to work, live, be a family and make a difference in small ways?
TRIP TO WALMART FOR FABRIC
My wife’s early morning trip to pick up some fabric for the project turned out to be very fruitful and the project was a success! My daughter created a small quilt and two pillows. She spent the day with her grandma, learned the skill of “quilting”, experienced what a day of perseverance can do and had fun. It’s beautiful. It’s a blessing.
My lunch appointment was planned and hinged on a couple different people connecting. One person had to decline, which meant the other person may or may not still go. In the confusion of not knowing if it was still on, I declined another invitation to lunch at the office with a visitor who stopped in, and by the time the other thing fell through, that opportunity was now gone. So, I texted my wife and we went to have lunch at a Mexican place we have never been to. We used a gift certificate so, lunch only cost us a dollar. Although we were squeezing the lunch in, it was still memorable, fun, and we had a great conversation. Not to mention, a lunch date is pretty rare for us!
LONG TERM CONNECTION
That night during the meeting, I had a chance to connect with someone I have know for many years, but never had the opportunity to visit too much. It was a great 45 minutes!
WATER BOTTLE AT DANCE
When I took the water bottle to my sixth grade daughter, she smiled and gave me a big thumbs up. All the other girls have water bottles, and it’s not very often that we forget hers (my wife is gifted with a calm penchant for meticulous details and organization). But for this cold winter evening, when the heat was blasting away in the dance studio, I stood there with my coat on, after zooming in from a full day of chaos and I received a precious smile from a little girl who was glad I came. I even got to stay for a few minutes to watch.
We live near a place to go shopping as needed and quickly. We also live near grandparents. My daughters are both part of a great dance studio where the environment is pleasant, with a Christian world view, from the attitude of the teacher, to the decoration on the wall. We’re blessed with the schedule and opportunity to home educate our two daughters. I have opportunity for employment and work each day – most of the time I have more work than I have hours to give, but I’m blessed with employment. We’re blessed with a home – even if we have to fill the water softener salt, do the dishes, empty the recycling, fold clothes and keep repeating each day! We’re blessed with a family – two young daughters who are connected and involved and learning to live out faithful, Christ centered lives.
As I mentioned, during our breakfasts, we usually try to ask and answer questions. Yesterday I asked my daughter if she thought she would marry a guy who was poor or rich. She said she really didn’t care.
It’s another reminder that most of life is about “who”, not “what”. We find joy when we are serving others, helping others, and keeping our eyes on Jesus, not stuff. The rat race is a product of putting your emphasis on “what”. A life full of blessings is a product of putting your emphasis on a “who”.
We can choose joy, even in the midst of craziness. It’s busy for sure. It’s not always easy to juggle. But, it’s a blessing.
Next time I’m tempted to call life a rat race, I will back up and think to myself a better word might be “blessed”
I write with church leaders in mind and I would be honored to have you join me by subscribing to the blog. You can take a look at the top posts here. The posts are categorized: pastors, worship leaders, student ministry and kids ministry. In case we’re just meeting, here’s little about my life.