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Blog Change Featured

How To Be An Idiot In 2019

(Subtitle: I Wish This Were Fiction)

Harder Every Day

It used to be easy to be an idiot. Just follow your feelings, don’t read books and stay away from positive role models. You watch a little TV, play a few video games and boom, you’re an idiot. 

Today’s problem is that so much of our fun is connected to the internet, and that’s how they get you. You can be surfing along watching YouTube videos about other idiots when, before you know it, you’ve clicked on something.

I know, It’s hard to talk about. But we’ve all been there.

Free This!

They promise you some cool thing for free, the comfort zone for idiots, and then it appears on screen – the dreaded email box. Some deep instinct gives you a feeling of foreboding. Your ear twitches. You snort and paw the ground a few times.

But then you click it. Because that’s never stopped you before.

The next thing you know, you’re subscribed. People are grateful. You’re important to them. They can’t wait to give you more valuable information. You’ve found your place in life. 

So, you click a few more buttons.

Congratulations!

You’re on an email list. You have a channel. There’s a profile to complete. You need a headshot. You have a survey to fill out. So much responsibility!

But still, it was free stuff. So, they’re your friend, right?

The problem with your new friend is that he has friends. And suddenly there’s a house party in your inbox.

Some stranger is offering more free stuff. There’s music playing. Someone’s dancing on the coffee table. Your neighbors are threatening to call the cops.

Seems safe enough.

So, you join LinkedIn to make your mom proud. Now, you have a business profile. And you start a free blog. And podcasting looks cool. And there’s that YouTube channel that’s just sitting there.

So, you take a course . . . 

And that’s how they do it.

But don’t worry. It’s not too late. There’s nothing here that can’t be undone. You can still get back to those carefree days of being a clueless idiot. 

For a free step-by-step guide, just join my email list at: youcanbeanidiot.com

Trust me. I’m an expert. 

Categories
Featured

The State of the Sight

Some of you have been asking. I’ve been quiet because I was banned from Facebook . . . by my wife! Pain medication and social media do not mix. You can thank her later.

For those who don’t know, I’ve had back-to-back retina surgeries on my right eye. Here’s how I’m doing.

This surgery hurt and kept hurting. Reading, and writing, my two favorite things, made it worse. I had to stay away from TV, too. So, I’ve spent much of my time napping or listening to endless podcasts.

The pain is much better now. I’m using only over-the-counter drugs now. My mind is clear and buzzing with ideas from podcast direct infusions. I have plans!

But the other side-effect of two surgeries in a row is that I have the stamina of a gnat. This will get better. I was able to teach my audio class three days last week and collapsed in between.

I can keep my right eye open, now. It will be a blurry mess for weeks but it looks straighter than before. The last surgery left me with a twisted picture I dubbed Picasso Vision. It was comically disturbing.

I can see large, fuzzy shapes and navigate the familiar space of the house with my right eye but I can’t read and my eyes still don’t match. Time will improve all these things.

I will need at least one more eye operation and new glasses before we find out how good it will get. Until then I’m having to depend on corrective attitude, rather than corrective lenses.

The mental game, however, is awesome. People have told me I seem to have a good attitude but that’s an understatement. Having a forced time off and a new set of problems has made me focus in a way that’s invigorating. I just can’t share it yet.

Writing has been slow and probably will be for a few more weeks. I’m having fun playing around with voice to text apps. I’ve even considered starting a podcast. Hmm.

Of all the lessons I’ve relearned and reinforced, the most useful has been the airline safety speech rule: put on your own oxygen mask first before you help anyone else.

I have no choice but to take care of myself. (Sigh)

Energy is the prime issue. Healing takes energy. Thinking takes energy. That means I’ve learned some great things about focus, time management, energy creation, creativity, and communicating ideas. It’s going to change things for me.

Prayer is the peace. Mission is the drive. Time is the spur. Vision is the direction. God is the source. Under these circumstances, change is as unavoidable as it is desirable. Awesomeness ahead.

Stay tuned. This should be good.

Until then, thank you for your prayers. What power. I’m seriously grateful.

Blessings to you,
Dennis Ritchie

•••

Photo by Philip Brown on Unsplash

Categories
Brain Fun Featured Perspective Uncategorized

7 Reasons Your Year Was 10X Better Than You Thought

It’s Confession Time

Let me be up front; I didn’t reach my goals for this year. Yes, I had some big goals. Yes, I had some big setbacks that would make excellent excuses. But, here’s the thing: I don’t need excuses.

I have something better: perspective. And a little bit of science. 

Maybe you are like me and your year doesn’t look so good in retrospect. Maybe you have a friend like mine who, over the past year, started a second business, wrote a book and climbed Mt Everest with Facebook pictures to prove it.

Seriously! Kind of takes the shine off my third place bowling trophy.

I’m kidding. I didn’t even do that. My signal achievement of the year seems to be that I didn’t lose any more hair. Because I didn’t have any. Apparently, my sense of humor didn’t improve either. 

Before this devolves any further, let’s get to this list. Because, I obviously need it.

7 Reasons Your Year Was 10X Better Than You Thought:

1. Your brain is 10X more focused on the negative than the positive

Recent brain science suggests our mind is wired for survival. That means it is far more sensitive to negative things it perceives as dangerous. Ten times more sensitive!

Which is good. Safety first.

But when that negative searchlight gets turned back on ourselves then all perspective is lost. Around this time of year, your brain starts beating you up for things you imagined you might do. The positive wishful thinking you did last year gets converted into a weaponized list of extreme failures!

Not so good!

But, knowing this, you can refocus on the good bits. It might take a minute to adjust because your brain has been set to kill all year long. That means you’ve probably forgotten your good days. And the bad days probably weren’t so bad.

Negative phaser beam power – Off. Now that we can see the good stuff . . .

2. If you can read this, you made it!

Seriously, there were no guarantees. Science also reveals that people who think about the possibility of death are happier with life. Funny, huh?

Historically, most people are dead. You’re not. Congratulations! Which brings us to our next point.

3. It could have been worse

Don’t believe Facebook, even if my friend Mark the Mountain Man actually exists. Somebody had a worse year than you did. Maybe they were on Twitter. 

While you’re at it, don’t compare your life to TV. Or movies. Or video games. Or YouTube. Or pop stars. It’s all made up and the points don’t matter. Plus makeup, lighting, and editing.

They all really look like me. I tell myself.

It’s not about wishing something bad on someone else. You can’t actually do that. It’s about keeping perspective, being grateful for what you have and realizing that perfection isn’t possible. And understanding that . . .

4. Life is in the little things

These giant goals we set for ourselves obscure what life is really about. People won’t remember you for your awards. They will remember the things you said. The things you did. The loads you helped carry.

Life happens in the small moments. That’s the place to make life count. Don’t dismiss them as insignificant.

5. Your big dreams led to progress

Instead of focusing on the superhero goals you missed, think of the things you never would have accomplished without those crazy goals.

Attempting big goals forces you out of your comfort zone into the unknown. You created habits and discipline to deal with your fears. You were an explorer on a great adventure.

Striving for goals is better than reaching them.

6. You learned a lot

Okay, it was mostly from making embarrassing mistakes but still, lessons learned. In the coming year, you won’t make those same mistakes.

You’ll make different mistakes.

Again, with the humor. I’m trying, okay? One of these days I’ll make it to funny. Until then, here’s number . . .

7. There Was A Lot Of Love

Possibly more than your negative brain imagined. Spend some time counting up the people you love. And those who love you.

Whether you deserved it or not.

This is the big one for me. It matters so much more than goals and plans. Efficiency doesn’t come into play here, or talent, or intelligence. The people who love you aren’t keeping score. Love pretty much evens the playing field.

Maybe you helped someone in their moment of need. Maybe someone helped you. That happened a lot to me this year.

If you were loved this year then it was a good year. And you are blessed.

If you don’t feel loved, then take a good, deep breath. Contemplate the process that began 93,000,000 miles away as sunlight and ended in just the right amount of oxygen for you to take that breath.

Someone loved you.

I could preach a sermon here. Christmas songs still ring in our ears. Forgiveness covers resolutions, too. Hope inspires tomorrow.

May your coming year be spent in the peace that comes from God’s love, filled with His Spirit of unending life.

There you have it! 7 reasons your year was 10X better than it appears in the rearview mirror. But the first reason added 10X to the other 6, so we can’t stop there . . .

# 8 – A Bonus! This means the year ahead will be 10X better than you imagine it can be.

So, stop beating yourself up about what you didn’t do and what you have to do. Celebrate a year of life! Dedicate yourself to making the most of the coming one. Then you have a shot at actually having a . . . 

Happy New Year!

P.S. – Feel free to share your major accomplishments, goals, lessons or year-end reflections below. If we have done anything helpful in your life this year, we would cherish the encouragement if you’d like to share. Blessings!

Categories
Trending Topics

Eye update: Surgery #3

Hello, fellow artists (As in the ART of standing).

I thought I would give you an update on my latest adventures. Friday morning I was putting on my shoes to go and celebrate Suzie’s day off with errands and Mexican food. Yum. But when I sat back up, I noticed a blurry circle in the upper left corner of my right eye, the one that had the surgery. 

Well aware of the meaning of this, I called my retina doctor and headed to Nashville for him to take a look. By the time I got there, I was basically blind in my right eye. Colors and blur, but nothing recognizable.

In short, a small amount of scar tissue had formed which pulled the rest of my retina off thanks to a genetic predisposition for this sort of thing.

It wasn’t much of a stretch to guess this meant more surgery. Because the damage was “through the center” (doctor’s term meaning my retina had detached everywhere except where the last laser surgery had been) it was deemed not an emergency. (Hmm?)

My surgery is scheduled for Tuesday the 18th. This time, according to the doctor, they’re going to “throw the kitchen sink at it.” The plan, at the moment, is to do the same laser treatment for the rest of my eye and fill it with an oil bubble, which may or may not be permanent, to keep things in place.

On the positive side, I like my doctors, the timing couldn’t be better and it’s extremely motivating. It is possible the entire thing will be finished during Christmas break and I can get back to work teaching audio engineering.

I’ve spent the day reviewing all of the ways Suzie and I used to stay encouraged during her cancer calamity. I’m feeling positive even though it’s no fun being unable to see out of one eye.

But one thing is certain – I do NOT have this covered.

It’s important for me to admit that some parts of life are totally out of my control. It will take a team of doctors, a lot of prayers and the healing power of God to solve this. Even a brilliant eye surgeon wouldn’t operate on himself.

What I do control is my response.

I can pray. I can keep my perspective. I can make good choices. I can choose good thoughts. I can call my friends. I can ask for prayer. I can be grateful for the sight I’ve had and what sight I still have.

One good eye is awesome!

And I can have a cup of hot chocolate like I’m sipping right now. Mmm. That’s enough for the moment. Stay tuned for some crazy thoughts and some big changes, God willing.

And thank you for your prayers.

P.S. For those of you who didn’t see it, I posted a chapter of the book late last night . . . very late. Here’s a link: The Gift

•••

Photo by Alina Kovalchuk on Unsplash

Categories
Worship

Looking For Christmas

Lately, I can relate to the three wise men. Not the wise part. The looking part.

All of Israel was supposedly looking forward to the Messiah of prophecy but these total strangers from an unknown land noticed a star and went searching. With a few exceptions, almost everyone else missed Jesus.

It would be easy to judge them but the same thing is happening again right now. Jesus is missing from Christmas. I’m not trying to be clever or provocative. I’m just stating the obvious.

The more I realize that Jesus is the defining moment of human history, when God Himself stepped into creation to save us, the more I want to know Jesus. The more I’m grateful to Him. The more I want to learn about Him and be like Him.

It’s like looking for my wife in a crowded room. Or looking for my child in a class picture. Or watching my grandchildren on a playground. The ones I love are my focus.

I can’t help it.

So, when it comes to the time of year that is supposed to be Jesus’ birthday, I look for Him. And more and more I’m not finding Him. And I miss Him.

Without even being aware of what was happening, I began a subconscious search for Christmas. The real Christmas. 

For example, I just watched the new Kurt Russell movie that is getting rave reviews. It was entertaining and heartwarming. But Jesus wasn’t in it anywhere. There was one scene on the steps of a church but the heavenly sounding song emanating from behind the closed doors was not a hymn. It was a pop song about a Christmas tree.

And Christmas trees are not Jesus.

Yes, I have one glowing in my living room, all red, green, white, and silver. But, truthfully, it has nothing to do with the birth of Jesus. I’m not trying to spoil the fun. I’m just looking for the missing person.

There’s a present under the tree with my name on it. I’m aware of it and the love involved in picking it out and wrapping it. As a kid, that’s the only present that would have mattered.

But Jesus made no demands for us to merch up His birthday. Yes, the wise men brought gifts but they gave them to Jesus, not their own friends and family. Amazon Prime is not mentioned in the Bible, or Walmart, or even Chick-fil-A.

I’m not being a Scrooge, I’m just looking for the real Christmas.

And, no, Charles Dicken’s character isn’t part of it. A Christmas Carol contains ghosts and greed and fear and drama. It’s a ripping good tale and Scrooge learns a lesson but Jesus doesn’t appear in it.

Maybe it’s being picky but “God bless us every one,” doesn’t mention Jesus. But then, I’m like the unreasonable parent wondering why my child didn’t get the best line in the play.

Because, that’s who I really came to see. 

Santa Claus is easy to find but he’s not actually Christmas.

We all know he wasn’t standing by the manger but today it has to be said. In fact, St. Nick has almost replaced Jesus. Because who can be against a portly, magical grandfather that passes out gifts?

But, he’s not the one I’m looking for. 

Christmas songs are everywhere. Surely, that’s my answer. I do love them. My mom sang them from Thanksgiving to New Years Day.

But, to be perfectly truthful, the angelic host proclaimed. They didn’t sing. Neither did Bing Crosby or Elvis or Amy Grant. The first Christmas was not white. There were no Chestnuts. It did not rock or swing. There was no drummer boy.

It’s a natural response for us to sing in celebration but popular music avoids the real Christmas like the plague. Imagine having a birthday party where everyone sings about other people but no one sings happy birthday to you.

No, I must keep looking.

In my neighborhood, by all appearances, Christmas is about bright lights, projected colors and inflatable, fictional characters. Santa rides through one yard with his favorite dog in an actual antique pickup truck filled with Christmas trees. It makes me smile. But guess who isn’t in the truck?

Yes, I laugh when social media celebrates the season with t-shirts of Bruce Willis saving Nakatomi Plaza. I get wistful over Charlie Brown’s sad tree. I do my best to accommodate the cookie bakers and divinity makers. My ears perk up at the mention of Christmas bonuses.

I watch dutifully as Jimmy Stewart transforms into a wide-eyed lunatic and back again and Clarence the oddball angel finally earns his wings. I snort appropriately when my local coffee shop puts a Santa hat on their logo of a Tennessee fainting goat.

There’s nothing that we can’t Christmas-ize.

But, along the way, I have seen signs that other people are seeking Christmas.

Last night I saw the most amazing laser-cut card depicting a manger scene which included Jesus. It was strikingly beautiful. When I reached for one by instinct, I realized that it was the only card in the display that was sold out. There were plenty of other Christmas-ish cards available.

You are out there. I can feel it. The seekers.

But I know where to find you. There’s only one place left to go.

There are no carved wooden pews or stained glass windows. We sit together on wide padded chairs and listen to the subwoofers thump while children’s voices sing self-consciously.

My emotions swell as memories of children’s choirs past jolt my heart like a cattle prod. We wait patiently until the production is over and the adult choir sings its last resounding chorus.

He climbs the stairs in silence, opens the book and begins to read. And together we all breathe a sigh of relief as the angelic host proclaim what we have so desperately needed to hear.

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.

Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

“Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

.

.

P.S. If you are one of the seekers of Christmas, I would love to hear from you in the comments below. We all need to know you’re out there. And if this helps, please, share.

And to all, a very merry Christmas. 

-Dennis

Categories
Courage Fear Featured

The 7 Best Things About Fear

We are fascinated by fear. We mix heavy doses into our entertainment, our conversation, our plans, and even our dreams. Usually, we make fear out to be the villain in our story but that’s not totally fair.

There is another side to fear, a better, more noble side. In celebration of that, here are the 7 best things I can think of about fear:

#1 – Fear has your best interests at heart

Fear is trying to keep you safe. And let’s face it, you need to survive. Given some of the crazy things you attempt, fear has its job cut out for it.

Fear is making you think and prepare. It wants you to look before you leap. Because there might be some stairs or a bridge nearby and then you would look silly.

#2 – Fear is good at its job

Fear doesn’t claim to be the end all, be all. Courage is not its job. It just does one thing. Fear makes no apologies for this. Someone has to look out for you. So, watch out for that coffee table!

#3 – Fear is only half the story

That means the best part of your story is beyond fear. Fear just wants to make sure you get there in one piece. So, don’t look to fear as a counselor. Don’t dwell on fear. Don’t let fear stop you. Fear is the legal disclaimer at the front of your story that keeps you from getting sued.

#4 – Fear means you’re doing something right

Fear of the unknown means you’ve reached the edge of your comfort zone. It means you’re learning something, testing your limits, growing. You are being proactive instead of waiting passively. It means you’re risking failure in order to attempt something better. And that is the path to success.

#5 – Fear is temporary

Fear goes away once you start doing something. Because your brain can’t do something and focus on fear at the same time. When you look away, it goes away.

#6 – Fear is just a feeling

Fear is not a fact or an obstacle or a limitation. Fear is just a warning alarm going off in your subconscious based on your experiences in the past. But you are creating new experiences that will change how you think. Fear is a caution sign, not a stop sign or a direction sign.

#7 – Fear leads you to faith

God fears nothing. When Jesus calmed the storm, he did not say to his disciples, “Oh ye of little courage.” He said, “Do you have no faith?” When scary things happen, they make us realize our limitations and cause us to seek a higher power.

Fear gives us the motivation to reach back to our most comforting, courage-inspiring relationship – God. The more we hang around the One With No Fear, the less fear we have.

What do you think?

These are my 7 favorite things about fear. If you have some more, please share them in the comments below. We’d all love to hear them.

Now, let’s go out there and face the day with courage. Woo hoo!


The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
Proverbs 9:10

Categories
Blog Courage Featured

42 Times You Are NOT Waiting On God

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. ~ Isaiah 40:31

This scripture is often quoted to teach us patience and to show the dangers of “getting ahead of God.” But, as it turns out, the King James translation is misleading. The Hebrew word is actually better translated as Hope or Trust.

This changes everything. I wish I’d realized it sooner. After more than sixty years of life, I often find that while I thought I was waiting on God, He was actually waiting on me.

The word “wait” is used in the Old Testament 94 times but Jesus said it only once when he told the disciples in Acts to wait for the Holy Spirit, who is now with us.

The word “immediately” is used only 8 times in the entire Old Testament but it is used 34 times in the Gospels alone and 11 times in the book of Acts.

If you look at the complete thought of the passage in Isaiah, the whole thing turns around. Listen in the NIV version.

Why do you complain, Jacob?
Why do you say, Israel,
“My way is hidden from the Lord;
my cause is disregarded by my God”?
Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who HOPE in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

This doesn’t sound like waiting at all. It sounds like standing back up after you get knocked down. It sounds like, “Never quit!”

Considering how hard it is to motivate yourself to do anything, considering how many distractions are placed directly in our path, considering how many people are energetically trying to interrupt us to buy their thing or promote their ideas, here are:

42 Times You Are NOT Waiting On God

  1. When you have clear instructions and a mission.
  2. When you wait for someone else to do it.
  3. When you wait to be perfect.
  4. When you wait until you know enough.
  5. When you wait for someone more talented.
  6. When you wait for an expert.
  7. When you wait out of ignorance.
  8. When you wait out of cowardice.
  9. When you wait out of political correctness.
  10. When you wait until you feel like it.
  11. When you wait for the perfect time.
  12. When you wait until you have more money.
  13. When you wait without praying.
  14. When you wait without preparing.
  15. When you wait because you allow yourself to be distracted.
  16. When you wait because you’ve never done it before.
  17. When you wait because that’s not the way it’s done.
  18. When you wait until the problem is gone.
  19. When you wait outside the school until the gunfire stops.
  20. When you wait to speak against evil.
  21. When you wait to speak the truth.
  22. When you wait to share salvation.
  23. When you wait because you are too young.
  24. When you wait because you are too old.
  25. When you wait because it’s someone else’s job.
  26. When you wait because you don’t want to get involved.
  27. When you wait until help arrives.
  28. When you wait until tomorrow to do the good you could do today.
  29. When you wait to encourage.
  30. When you wait to love.
  31. When you wait to apologize.
  32. When you wait for someone’s permission.
  33. When you wait to do what you know you should do.
  34. When you wait to live up to your potential.
  35. When you wait to try.
  36. When you wait until it gets easier.
  37. When you wait until conditions are right.
  38. When you wait until someone else tries it first.
  39. When you wait out of habit.
  40. When you wait because there’s plenty of time.
  41. When you wait because it’s all you’ve ever known.
  42. When you wait until it is too late.

So . . . What am I waiting for? I’m running out of reasons.

Categories
Blog

Sight For Sore Eyes: Vision Update

Quick vision update

  • Eye: Better
  • Cool Jello effect: Gone
  • Focus: Getting there
  • Depth perception: Comical
  • Writing: Eyestrain
  • Attitude: Gratitude

Doc said I could do anything I want and then left before I could hit him with an obvious Dad joke. Smart man.

Writing on the computer is still difficult but improving. Now that I can see, my brain is straining to focus both eyes with the new, improved retina. The solutions are resting, writing with one eye closed or using my iPhone up close.

This means no chapter this week but I’m working on it. Describing that Christmas properly hits the edge of my abilities in more ways than just seeing. But if I can write the last chapter, I can write this one.

Thanks for your patience and may God let your eyes see the depth and breadth and height of His love for you.

Dennis

 

 

Photo by Frida Bredesen on Unsplash
Categories
Blog

Golden Electric Jello

When Life Gives You Lemonade

One of the interesting things about living at my house is the invisible, unspoken No Whining Rule. I’m not saying it’s impossible for me to whine. (Ask anyone.) It just achieves no satisfaction. Maybe an arched eyebrow.

When your wife survives multiple primary cancers like some kind of superwoman, it kind of takes the whine out of your sails. So, when I managed to sneeze the retina off the back of my eye this week, I was forced to try and man up.

It was a mighty effort. I’m just sayin’.

Thanks to the skill and patience of some wonderful doctors, I’m going to be fine. But my right eye has a gas bubble in it for the next couple of weeks. And it looks like it’s filled with golden electric jello. Or maybe iced lemonade. Or Tropical Pineapple Jello. That’s a thing, right?

A Google search for Yellow Jello Images

All in all, it’s a happy color. And thankfully temporary. So, I’m just going to enjoy it. After all, I could have been looking at the world through a blue jello filter for two weeks. Or teal.

Or taupe. Whatever that is.

Since it’s hard to focus, I’m laying off the book for a bit. And TV. My current solution is catching up on podcasts. Ahh. That works.

The worst part is having to lie on my right side. On the couch. Instead of working. Ouch.

I’ll be back to work and writing as soon as possible. In the meantime, thank you all so much for your prayers. I’m very grateful. May your day be blessed and your vision clear.

 

 

 

Photo by Mark Kamalov on Unsplash

Categories
Blog Featured

Love Is a Can of Paint

True Love Is A Verb

Love is something you do. We all know this. But it’s easier to make it about feelings. Because feelings don’t require me to paint the kitchen.

This weekend, because of a strange mix of schedules and latex allergies, I ended up taping and stripping and sanding and patching and climbing ladders and painting. I know experts say there are better ways of managing these things. But none of these experts was willing to come by my house this weekend and help me paint.

It was within my skill set. The opportunity was at hand to fix a problem. So, I did it.

DO Unto Others

The Golden Rule doesn’t say “Feel unto others as you would have them feel unto you.” It doesn’t mention “likes” or emojis. Gift cards apparently don’t play into it either.  Words are no substitute. Flowers don’t say it best. Songs and poems don’t count.

Nope. I have to do something.

But, being a veteran rule-inspector, I noticed that there’s nothing in the Golden Rule that says I can’t make it as enjoyable as possible. Right?

Elmer Bernstein

This is where things take a bit of a strange turn. I’ve recently discovered that writing with movie soundtracks stirs up my creative energy. Lyrics take me off course. After going through John Williams and Hans Zimmer, I discovered the man who inspired these contemporary masters – Elmer Bernstein.

Also known as John Wayne’s favorite composer.

Now you get the picture. Imagine me heroically wielding my paint roller to the sound of sweeping western soundtracks at theater volume. (Yes, I had the house to myself. No complaints from the neighbors – yet.)

Yes, it was still exhausting. Yes, things still went wrong. But it’s done. And I slept really well last night. Thanks, maestro.

Priorities

The problem with doing things instead of feeling them or thinking them is that I can only do one thing at a time. That means I had to spend my writing day with a paintbrush in my hand.

This is not an excuse. This was a decision.

Life, in the final result, will not be about what we thought or felt. It will be measured by what we did.

We can talk about love and write about love and use heart emojis and explain our intentions. But these things are easy to fake. Jesus taught that we know trees by the fruit they produce. In the same way, we know people by the things they do.

Actions don’t lie.

Paint On The Wall

The good thing about actually doing something is that the results are real. This morning I woke up with paint on the wall. It will be there tomorrow and the day after.

So many things in life are up for debate long after the fact. Did I write a good sentence? Is this song finished? Did I make the right decision? Could I have been more kind? Should I have kept my mouth shut? (Well, okay. Some things are obvious.)

But a good deed done remains done. Today’s paint was yesterday’s decision.

Now, what will I do with today?

 

 

Photo by Yoann Siloine on Unsplash