Friday, June 02, 2006

Good Morning, Slacker

Woke up this morning, went to work, checked the email, and was greeted with a loyal "from Bryan's office..." fan who wanted to know where this week's post was.

"Good Morning, Slacker", was the heading of the email, which made me laugh, out loud (or LOL for those you online fugitives who no longer recognize standard English). I also, upon looking at the counter at the bottom of the page, realized that I had received hundred of clicks, which leads me to believe that 26 of you have checked this thing numerous times hoping for something that will hopefully make you laugh.

Well for those wondering if I'm still alive, thanks for the concern, and the answer is, "you bet your sweet bippy". It's just that I tend to write this at the end of the day on Mondays, and this past Monday was Memorial Day. The end of that work day was spent eating spare ribs at my in-laws, so here are few random thoughts to get you through to next week's "Ten Things".

1) Have been listening to the Dixie Chicks new album via the church's Rhapsody account, and I must say that I'm largely impressed. I especially like the song "Silent House", which is a haunting ode to somebody getting on with their life after a divorce/separation. While the album won't do the normal sales of past Chicks albums, artistically it is a step in the right direction. Their sound was pretty disposable before Natalie Maines decided to make a very un-country sounding statement of disrespect toward a sitting President from Texas. Here's a "hip hip" to the DC's, who decided to pursue a new road that examines them using their voice, as opposed to a well-traveled road of just giving the people what they want to hear. My hope is that when it's all said and done, they'll all agree that it was worth the price that they paid.

2) Max just started swimming for the Sherwood (our pool) Sharks this past Wednesday, and he's so excited that he slept in his new swimsuit last night. Practice was cancelled this morning because it was raining and 62 degrees, and Max was genuinely upset. A chance to get better, in his mind, increases the likelihood that he'll win a ribbon in a meet. Let's just say the boy will have no trouble grasping the basic principles of capitalism.

3) Am getting a taste of what its like dealing with the trucking industry, and I must say, the taste is bitter. We bought some used theatre chairs for the new children's theatre in the education wing of the church from an outfit in Denver, and the chairs, which were supposed to be here Wednesday, are somewhere lost in Columbus. I've been dealing with anguished truck drivers, dispatchers, and largely unsympathetic managers now for three days.... and it's getting old. Apparently the company we're using doesn't have those boxes that talk to them like in the IBM Help Desk commercial. Given that they lost our chairs somewhere between Denver and here, maybe they ought to give IBM a call.

4) If you are wondering why I haven't mentioned much about any books that I'm reading, it's because I haven't been reading at all (outside of my morning newspaper). I kinda hit a mental block about going back to school last week. I should be excited about this program, but, to be honest, I kinda feel like a first-grader facing the first day of school, all over again. Not to mention, I do feel a lot of guilt for essentially leaving Shawnee for a year to do this. The gift of time and support on the part of the church for me to do this is really a blessing I don't deserve.

But mostly, I'm upset because last week, Max brought home an "Alphabet Book" that he made at school, and under the letter "D", he had a drawing of me. "D is for Dad", read the caption, and the sentence he wrote for illustration was...

"Dad is always busy."

Let's just say that Beeson approaches, the internal struggle continues...

5) Am agonizing over a decision, that really shouldn't require much agonizing at all. A few weeks ago I earned my motorcycle endorsement on my driver's license after taking the class, and passing the test, mandated by the state. Sue Dickerson (who became a grandmother again this week... Congrats to her, and the proud parents, Bruce and Kristi, on the birth of baby Abby) has graciously allowed me to ride her bike as a means of practicing before I buy my own.

And that is where the agony begins.

You see, about a year-and-a-half ago, Aimee and I made a decision to live our life debt-free, which meant that we had to first, get out of debt. I've told the story at every church I've served about getting my first credit card in college, and the ruin that it led me, because I am, essentially, an idiot. Thus, actually making a change in our personal finances to accomodate real debt-elimination, and sticking with it, has been a big deal for us. To do it essentially on one income while still tithing has been an interesting challenge. But it's one that we've met, and very shortly, we'll acheive a number of very important personal goals we set ourselves, and start working on new ones that will lead to greater financial freedom for ourselves.

The stuggle now is that I really want a motorcycle, which, on the surface, seems shallow and self-centered. And, well, probably is.

But here's the best part of this story: Years ago, I'd have just bought the bike. I'd have gotten the loan (at probably a terrible interest rate), and wouldn't have bothered to justify the purchase. Now, I just can't bring myself to do it, as I don't want to do anything that jeopardizes the work Aimee and I have done together. I want to honor the decisions we've made together.

And the really sweet part of this, is that my wife, who for years had to put up with my stupidity, is telling me to go ahead and get a bike... partly because she sees the value in it (personally for me, professionally for us), but also because for the first time in our lives she doesn't feel like things own us, and that a purchase like this would plunge us back down a blackhole. We, not some bank, own our future, and the realization of that has been a spiritually enriching experience.

So I'm in agony, but its a good agony. And no matter how we do it, somehow Aimee and I will figure out, with God's blessing, an appropriate resolution. Used to be we only fought about money... now we can pray about it.

And for that, I give thanks.

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