Saturday, February 24, 2007

Another Book Nugget

Most modern life is a studied attempt to avoid ever being alone, faced with the reality of the inner world. Just imagine how a line-artist like (Saul) Steinberg might sketch the day of the average man, beginning with the moment a disc jockey connects with him to awake him in the morning. He may stay wrapped in gentle music while his razor whirrs, and then the news bombardment begins. He gets his breakfast in between skeins of words -- headlines, box scores, political phrases, and a running commentary from his wife probably like a cartoon outside. He drives to work joined to the radio again, and switching over to concentration on a job even requires the help of pipeline music. With lunch his is fed conversation and business problems like spaghetti, and there is only one difference at dinner. He chops the family threads off to change over to TV or perhaps a meeting. Only when he drops into bed, too tired even to dream, do the conscious lines stop radiating, and if he cannot sleep there is the ever present sleeping pill or tranquilizer to remove the necessity of a night-time encounter with silence. The next day the routine starts over, and if there should be any interstices, the picture is quickly finished by simply adding squiggles to the lines and calling them recreation.

This portion struck me like an uppercut to the jaw from an Olympic heavy weight boxer.

My own morning routine began most mornings shortly before 7 a.m. as my wife wakes me on her way out the door to go teach school. I'd usually roll over, grab the TV remote and punch up Don Imus on MSNBC to catch what was on the old curmudgeon's mind. While he is to be respected for his work with kids with cancer at his ranch in Arizona, his work helping raise millions and millions of dollars for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund and his work calling attention to the growing problem of autism, the humor on his show can be more than a little course. This was the first thing I was choosing to encounter every morning. After showering with Imus turned up loud enough to hear over the water running, I'd have my first cup of coffee here at the computer. My routine was to open the news and opinion folder in my favorites to click up CNN, then The Washington Post, then The New York Times and The State newspapers. Then, because it is possible I'd missed something "important", it was NPR Morning Edition on the radio in the car for all of the latest news that their editors considered the hottest. As I got to the office, I would start streaming music from as I opened Outlook to check my email and my appointment schedule so I could do God's business down here at the church --- and I would have gone about hour and a half being really busy without even the simplest acknowledgement of the One for whom I claim to be working.

Because of that one paragraph from Kelsey, my routine now begins and continues with the Father rather than with Imus. I try listen to Him in the shower and the only sound is that of the water splashing. I spend time with the Good News rather than the world's news over that first cup of coffee. I ride to work with the radio off so I can speak to Him for a few minutes before I check that email and appointment calendar on the office computer. I still stream music off and on during the day but I'm learning to experience silence in the office routine, as well.

You know what? He's really great company!

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