Welcome to Big Old Goofy World . . . a place where I can share my thoughts, hopes, and dreams about this rock that we live on and call home.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Time Out!

It’s before six o’clock in the morning and I am driving down the highway towards the big city and another day of work at the university . . . it feels like I have been doing this routine for forever.  In my mind I am thinking that this is like the zillionth day in a row that I have either been at work at the university or the church . . . like I haven’t seen a day off for forever.  It has been a long week as I have worked at fifty percent of my job at the university doing all the things associated with professional development for educators that takes a full-time job; and, another fifty percent doing hearing rescreening for students in rural schools spread out all over the kingdom come of the vast state of Montana  . . . nearly six hundred miles in two days in locations like Lavina, Rye Grass, Grass Range, Roy, and Winnett . . . some of the booming metropolises of this great state looking into waxy ears and asking the age old audiological question: “Can you hear me now?”  Or is it a cell phone commercial?  Whatever . . . it has been a long week . . . an even longer six weeks.  I need a “time out”.

At least that is what was going through my mind as driving through the darkness and listening to John Prine sing about Jesus and his missing years . . . a “time out” period in the life of Jesus that happened between the ages of twelve and thirty.  I was also thinking about the fact that in those six weeks we as a family we have endured . . . one stolen car, one run in with a deer that crunched another car, a truck that needed major (and, expense) repairs, the wife going off for nearly ten days on a religious adventure, the stolen car being found, and the wife going off for another week to see and celebrate her mother’s 86th birthday in Kentucky . . . just a few of the adventures that marked the past month and a half.  It has been stated that “bad stuff” happens in threes . . . well, I guess the darn thing got stuck and kept turning over and over as we easily passed the three level early in this time period.  That is a myth . . . for us Keeners, when it rains it pours.  I need a “time out”.

That’s what I thought as I neared the big city on the way to work this morning . . . I could use a “time out”.

I wanted to stop the truck, jump out, and throw my hands together in the ultimate sign of a “t” notating “time out”.  Of course in the downtown part of the big city that might be construed as a little on the strange side at that time of the morning . . . like maybe I had had a little too much to drink the night before . . . or that my medication had worn off . . . or that I had lost my marbles . . . anything but normal.  I imagine that if I had done that I would have scored a “time out”, but I really do not think that I would have enjoyed the dinner jacket with the extra-long sleeves or the padded room it would have gotten me.  So, despite my strong urge to do exactly that, I remained in my truck.

I am not quite sure why none of us is given a certain number of “time outs” that we can use over a lifetime when things feel as if they are getting out of hand.  In sports, teams are given a certain number of “time outs” that can be used for a variety of reasons . . . one of the biggest being when things seem to be getting out of hand and the team needs a “time out” to re-think, regroup, and calm down.  Sports are just a microcosm of life being played out on the field or court.  Each team is given a certain number . . . so, why not life?  Why can’t any of us have the ability to call a “time out” whenever life seems to be getting out of hand . . . when we are tired . . . when we need to regroup and reorganize . . . when we are frustrated . . . when we just need to catch our breath?  I could use one right about now in my life . . . a “time out”?

I imagine that there are those of you out there thinking to yourselves, “Boy, this guy sure whines a lot!” That you are wondering what in the world this guy is complaining about . . . adults get “time outs” all of the time.  Adults get day off from work.  Adult get vacations.  Adults get holidays.  Aren’t those “time outs”?  Yes, they are . . . when you get them.  Remember, I said it has been over six weeks since I have not worked every single day either in my university or church job.  As much as I love them . . . I need a break!

Usually with my “time off” I do a couple of things . . . I go critter creeping . . . I take lots of pictures . . . and, I write.  Anyone who follows me on Facebook or this blog knows that there have been few pictures and even fewer posts on the blog.  I haven’t had time . . . or, when I did have the time, the old easy chair or bed was calling my name . . . I was tired!  A “tired” John is not a pleasant person to be around . . . I get grumpy . . . easily frustrated which leads to more grumpiness . . . and, it has made the wife—more than once—threaten me with a whole different sort of “time out” that I hadn’t experienced since I was in grade school.  The scary thing about it is that I actually considered it.

Yeah, I know . . . why not just bite the bullet, take the “time out” and damn the consequences?  Well, I like being able to make payments on the house’s mortgage.  I enjoy being able to pay the other bills.  I appreciate my benefits at the university.  I like both of my jobs as there are good people at both.  I enjoy the church and the adventures it offers.  Both put money in the bank.  I like to eat.  I like being able to have Internet so I can blog and post pictures.  Without my jobs . . . well, without my jobs, I couldn’t do a whole bunch whether I had the time or not.  So, I bite the bullet and keep on chugging away.

In my chugging away I dream . . . I dream on while driving in the darkness of an early morning in Montana . . . I dream of “time outs”.  I dream of jumping up in the middle of a meeting at the university, yelling, “Time out!” Who cares if my fellow co-workers think I have lost a few marbles . . . it would just affirm what they are already thinking.  I dream of hopping out of my car at the stoplight, doing a quit run around the truck, while yelling, “Time out!  Time out!”  I realize that the other commuters will think that I work for the Post Office.   I dream . . .

Winter has been knocking on the door of autumn lately and we haven’t even “officially” enter into the season of fall.  There are not a whole bunch of days left to pause and enjoy the beauty of this transition of seasons . . . the leaves are turning, snow is tipping the peaks of the mountains, and highway construction crews are hurrying to get what the work done before the first snow flies . . . whatever the signs, there is not a whole bunch of time before winter settles in.  We have been experiencing beautiful weather here in Montana over the past week . . . weather that should be appreciated while it is still here.  It only adds to the need for a “time out”.

Be still and know.

Time out!

If I had known that being an adult would rob me of the adventure of life, I think I would have called a “time out” a long, long time ago.  I would have called “time out”, wandered off, found a tree to lean against, and witness the beauty of life passing me by.  I would have sat next to a creek and listened to the water babbling and rushing by . . . watch a hawk soar in the sky . . . listen to the song birds sing . . . and, wondered . . . wondered at the awesomeness of it all.  I would have skipped rocks across a pond . . . built forts out of blankets in the living room . . . smelled the aroma of fresh baked cookies cooling in the kitchen.  I would have listened to the laughter of children . . . the breeze in the air.  I would have done a lot of things, but adulthood got in the way.

That little kid within me is banging on the door . . . wanting to get out; but, life is drowning out the sound of freedom and adventure and life.  I am not sure how long that little kid will keep knocking on the door.  I can hear it . . . especially in the darkness of an early morning commute.  I think that it is about time . . . before it is too late.

Time out!  A person has got to live if he or she wants to make it to the finish line.  Time out!

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