This is the advice given when someone is trying to start a new habit: Never Miss Twice.
It's true, we all have those moments when we trash the diet, blow the budget, or forget to write a blog post. One skip/expenditure/doughnut really is no big deal. It is the second fail that really messes with you. Because you start to think things like, "What does it really matter, I've already missed two days of writing, what's one more?"
And then two becomes three and three becomes a week and pretty soon … you just quit. (Sorry, faithful readers; I have been derailed and discouraged and just let the blog lapse for a while).
I think this is good advice (and I'm sorry I can't even credit the originator of it because I don't remember who said it) -
Never miss twice.
I'm working on it.
We are having some humongous pipe project going in the full length of the street that runs in front of our home. For at least three weeks, promptly at 7:30 am the huge diesel engines rev up and the air is punctuated with the incessant beep, beep, beep of the large equipment backing up. Cranes, backhoes, 18-wheel trucks filled with dirt, traditional dump trucks, and small little zippy machines that do heaven-knows-what. Even with our double-paned windows, I can hear the constant noise. As a dedicated lover of silence, it puts me on edge. I have no idea that I'm somewhat holding my breath, until 6:00 pm, when they mercifully stop. Then, it is like my soul sighs relief and I relax. Thankfully, they didn't work on the weekend; yet bright and early, it started once more, like a hard-hat version of hell. This morning, a beautiful fog had drifted in, softening the morning. As I fed the animals, even they seemed quieter. And then it started. With no foreseeable end in sight. In addition, there is the obstacle course of trying to enter and exit our home. It seems like a roulette game of chance as to whether or not we will be able to pull into or out of our driveway.
I was thinking the other day – this happens in life too – the ongoing thing that just sucks energy while you try to resist being pulled into its orbit. The chronic illness. The constant relational tension. Persistent issues with money (or lack thereof). And those things don't even have weekends to spell you.
If you are feeling weary, know that, while others may not get your exact exhaustion, they usually have one of their own; i.e. you are in good company. Perhaps in the midst of your ever-present difficulty, something new is being created. Faith in this is what gives us the grace to bear the noise and the mess.
When your days are numbered with someone (because you are on vacation or they are visiting, etc) you tend to be more intentional with your time.
We've had all summer to do various things, and now Jessica is leaving for school in two days and we are trying to fit in the last minute stuff. Although I do have to say, we did accomplish many of the things on both her list and mine - lunches at new eateries, a couple of shopping trips, fostering the puppies, painting the house. And yet, there are still things undone, yet to do. They will have to wait for the next time we are together.
It takes quite a bit of energy to stay focused every day … If you let down for even a second, sloth takes over. Entropy moves in. We become relationally fat and lazy. Like our cat.
That's ok too. Everyone needs a few flubby days here and there.
The puppies we are fostering are STILL ill … it's been two weeks now. The interesting thing is that because they feel rotten, all they want is to be quiet and cuddled. This people attraction will serve them well for their life-time. The one puppy who was the least sick is also the least people bonded. He roams far and wide and doesn't really care about the humans. The other two would actually rather be with us than off exploring.
Sometimes the hard things in life bring about some valuable character qualities …
There is a man I met not too long ago in his-mid-to-late-60s who works with leather. Terrell is his name. I called him on the referral of another friend and asked if he could help me with some work I needed done. He said yes and so I drove to his workshop-behind-his-house and we chatted for a while. He did awesome work, had the item finished the next day, and charged a reasonble $25 for what he had done.
Yesterday, I called with another similar project, which he agreed to do, and today, when I called to see if I could pick the item up, I asked if the charge would be similar, so that I could write out the check. He replied that there was no charge.
"This is most unexpected and so nice! What is this, be nice to new friends day"? He said something to the effect of, 'You have been nice to me, so I want to be nice to you.'
When someone does something like this, it is such a shock. I think in years-gone-by, it was more common. I like this guy – not because he did the work for free, but because he felt like being generous and then he did it.
This made my day and helped me feel like there was some good in the common man.
I want to be more like this! I want you to be more like this too. You could tell that Terrell felt good doing it – so it seems a win-win both for the give and the receiver.