Sep 18, 2010


Think about how your morning usually begins. If you are like most people, it starts with a audible assault. That is how my day begins. I am jolted out of a sweet tapestry of dreams about puppies, saving the world, and being yelled at by this annoying screeching noise machine. I'm not talking about Gabe. It's the stinking alarm clock. MEEHH! MEEHH!! MEEEHHH!! MEEEHHHH! I am not one of those people who needs to go through that twice. When I was in college I wanted to make sure I didn't sleep through classes. So I intentionally put my alarm clock on the other side of my cubicle/dorm/"room." I had to jump out of bed to turn it off. "Well, I'm up. I guess I'll get ready." I also solved this problem by taking no classes that started before noon.

My wife is different - she likes to sleep and savor it. So for her to get up, the alarm gets to go off on three separate occasions. At 6:15am. MEEHH! MEEHH!! MEEEHHH!! MEEEHHHH! I roll over and turn it off. Fifteen minutes later: MEEHH! MEEHH!! MEEEHHH!! MEEEHHHH! This time I turn it off and have to change the time of the first alarm to 6:45am. MEEHH! MEEHH!! MEEEHHH!! MEEEHHHH! It is just unpleasant. Usually after all of this racket, Gabe has woken up. And he is about as persistent as an alarm clock. "Daddy. Get up. Daddy get up. Daddy get up. Get the kids?"

So we traipse out into the living room and if it isn't time to "get the kids" up, we turn on Nick Jr. Our first waking moments are greeted by a jumping singing weird yellow monkey looking thing with a long bendy tail named Wubbzy. Well, that or a dumb blueberry with tendrils octopus voiced by Wonder Years boy named Oswald. "GOOD MORNING!!! WOW WOW WUBBZY, WUBBZY WUBBZY WUUUUBBZEEEE!"

Once it is time to get the older kids up, the house morphs into a carnival atmosphere.  There's spinning plates, running animals, flipping acrobats, and the ringmaster trying to keep it all under control.  "Sit down and eat your breakfast.  Stop throwing your cereal on the table.  Sit down!  Eat please.  Now go get dressed.  What are you doing?  Stop playing and get dressed.  Are you dressed?  Go change those shorts, they don't match.  STOP JUMPING!  Brush your teeth.  Hurry up in there, your brother needs to brush his teeth.  Get your shoes on.  STOP! THE! JUMPING!  Get your backpacks.  Let's go.  We're going to be late.  COME ON!"

From that point on, life is a mix of noises and activities.  Anyone with kids will tell you that it is a circus.  Even when Gabe is the only one there, it still is a wild place - because he's a wild guy.  There's videos and imaginative games and running around and fighting and pulling the cushions off the couch and crying and begging for juice or cheese sticks or fruit snacks.  It's funny, in a way.  I hate the circus in real life.  My kids ask all the time when we are going to go to the circus.  FSU has a circus.  (No rude comments.)  But my kids know I hate the circus.  Largely, it is due to my irrational loathing of clowns.  I'm not scared of them, I just don't like them.  So I have never been a circus fan.  But, I like our circus just fine.

This morning, I am speaking at a high school retreat for ICS - the school I worked at in Orlando before we moved.  It has been challenging and fun.  I've never been THE speaker for a retreat before.  There have been plenty of speaking opportunities and Defender Ministries events.  But this was a little different.  I have powerful memories of camp - and of the role that the camp pastor played.  So I didn't take this lightly.  I am worn out.  We still have one session left today.  And I hope that it ends up being a useful thing for everyone involved.

When I woke up this morning, my phone was dead.  That meant my alarm never went off.  I panicked - waiting for my phone to charge enough to put up the clock.  "WHAT TIME IS IT?!?!"  Finally I remembered I had a watch.  I actually had woken up early.  So I got ready and dressed and was ready thirty minutes early.  I went and sat out on the screen porch and just looked out at the lake.  What is this? Silence?  I don't know what that is like.  Even when I travel for Defender, I usually sleep with ESPN on.  So I usually awake to some sports highlight and "BOOYAH!"  I didn't know what to do with myself.

The sun is peaking through the trees and cabins.  The mist is still sitting on the lake, which I can see in the distance.  It is so quiet I can actually hear animals running around, racing up trees.  Birds are chirping in the distance.  "What is that a ninja?  It can't be a ninja - you never hear them coming."  I have my Travis Cottrell "Jesus Saves Live" album playing, because I never get to listen to my music at home.  It is just a bizarre feeling - and a calming one.  My nerves, the agitation, the weariness, the concern over getting back home.  All of that melted away.  It was good to just sit here in solitary confinement for a few minutes.

I have to run and eat breakfast - hoping there is something to fit into my diet plan.  Then there is electronic setup and preaching and talent show and the long drive home.  Then watching the kids while Heather works through the mountain of studying.  Then getting ready for church, planning for Gabe's birthday, writing curriculum.  Life will pick back up quickly.  But, I was thankful for thirty minutes to experience something that is far to foreign in our lives.

Peace and quiet.

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