Wednesday, April 21, 2010

It's Nine O'Clock Somewhere

It’s time to reevaluate.  Again.

I am wondering, and when I am wondering about things, I also like to wander.

So, basically, I am wondering while wandering - about choices, and to Miami. In case you were wondering (and wandering).

It dawned on me today, that for the first time in over three decades, I am making decisions based on my wants, and my needs, as opposed to probably more than 90% of my past decisions which were made while in survival mode, or because someone told me I should.

This isn’t a new thought, I realized this sometime last year, but I think as the three-legged stool of my life starts to level out, I am reevaluating exactly what this might mean. Obviously this is a real change in my life and I am embracing it fully; I just like to analyze the why of everything, like: why was my stool so wobbly for so long?

Family, Faith, Finances – the three-legs of my typically wobbly stool. Family, because in life there’s nothing that matters more. Faith, because without it life has no clear purpose and sometimes makes no sense at all. Finances, because life is about money.

There, I said it. Life is about money. But shouldn’t it be about family and faith and service and friends?

Most of us divide our time between work and family. We calendar meetings and ball games and service projects and work hours. We talk about dinner-time and quality-time as if they are appointments in our day planner, but sadly, they rarely are.

And maybe that is part of the problem: these special times, dinner-time and family-time and quality-time and time-to-give-service-to-others, get lost in the myriad of other prioritized activities we manage to log onto our calendars, but they rarely make it onto our radar screen of scheduled planning.

I recently listened to a lesson on prayer, given by a mother of five. She talked about her college days when she was younger and had moved overseas for a semester-abroad program. She talked about the homesickness that sometimes engulfed her, in spite of weekly phone calls home.

She shared that the one constant she could always count on was her knowledge that at 9 PM her family was kneeling in family prayer. They always had, they always would.  What a blessing and comfort this knowledge was as she was away, and what an admirable daily tradition for that family.

I wish I had done something like that for my children.  It wouldn’t have mattered if one of them was not able to be there, the fact that they would have known that at 9 PM, or some appointed time, the members of their family were kneeling in prayer could have brought wayward teenagers home on time, and dawdling students home earlier from the library. It would have made me be certain to be home as well. It would have united us in prayer, no matter where we were individually.

It takes faith to create a standard such as family prayer, every night at 9 PM.  It takes faith to follow through when not everyone is home, or when other things interrupt. It's easy to make the excuse that 9PM just doesn't work because it's too late for some of the family, or someone hasn't arrived home, or etc. But, when you stop to think about it, what could be more deserving of a calendared, structured, planned time? Remember the three legs on my stool? Well, two of the three are present at family prayer: faith and family. Those aren’t bad odds.

In fact, they are great odds. But they are odds I didn’t take advantage of, to the detriment of myself and my children. We could have used that time together on our knees. We could have used that structure. We could have used that comfort. We could have used that unifying habit, whether we were physically present at 9 PM or not.

I suppose it's not too late for me to start this tradition now.  I’m not with my children, but they are always in my thoughts, so, from now on, whether alone or with family, I plan to have family prayer every night at 9 PM.

Just planning it is comforting to me, and I hope my now-grown kids will find comfort in knowing that their mother is praying for them and their families at 9 PM every night too.

It’s never too late to start a good habit, to act from faith, to think of family, to give service, or to find yourself.

I love reevaluation. I love choices that are made because I want to make them and need to make them, not because I am forced to make them to survive, or told to make them.

And I am beginning to love structure. Self-inflicted, self-managed, self-implemented structure.

Wondering while wandering is just one of my things, and that isn’t going to change. But regular family prayer just became my favorite thing. 

See you at 9. Somewhere in my wanderings. 

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