Sunday, November 17, 2013

Simple Sundays...

Simple Sundays. I love Simple Sundays. Today is a Simple Sunday.

I think that a satisfied, well-lived life might be built on Simple Sundays. My definition of a Simple Sunday is a Sunday composed of relaxation, spiritual reflection and challenge, some good food, and the good people in my life.

Today is a Simple Sunday. It started with waking peacefully beside the lady who married me nearly 34 years ago on a sunny December afternoon. There's a lot of comfort in waking up and knowing that your wife and the mother of your children has been faithful and trustworthy over the years, and that you have never wandered into the arms of another woman. That is a great start to a Simple Sunday.

I pulled on my floppy black sweatshirt and my ugly black shorts and went and got the leash. It had fallen from the hook and was on the floor. Our quirky, fat, dog, Winnie, was restless and not so happy that I slept a little later than normal, as she really wanted to get outside and get going. We are living in a small apartment, temporarily, while we await a new place to visit, and eat, and sleep and create memories with family and friends.

A short walk away is McDonald Forest, one of my favorite places in all of the world.  Just outside of our front door is a pleasant trail that meanders through some Willamette Valley meadow land. Today, I decided to take the trail close by to watch the morning open up and listen to the late Fall song birds. I love that trail and I love Simple Sunday mornings.

After Winnie and I finished our morning exercise routine, I came back to the apartment, showered, made my breakfast smoothy with some shake mix, flax seed, a banana, some spinach, and soy milk. It sounds kind of gross, but it is really quite tasty, and is a part of my morning ritual, fueling a 55 year old man with what he needs to keep on keepin' on.

Jeannie and I went out the door, hopped into our faithful Honda Pilot, and went to pick up a friend who has been in our lives now for about 30 years. We drove the familiar route to downtown Corvallis, and walked into the landmark Whiteside Theatre, with its newly renovated marquee, where we used to watch movies and where we now gather with friends and yet-to-be friends to be challenged and encouraged and reminded to be grateful for all our Heavenly Father has done for us.

I waved to some co-workers across the theatre, hugged some people we love very much, and experienced a wonderful worship time led by a former student of mine. The speaker was the wife of the man who was our pastor when we started attending this gathering in the late 1990's. It was good to reconnect with her. She said some nice things about how Jeannie and I have impacted their family and their children. I teared up a little, thankful for the opportunity to impact the hearts of young people and then to live long enough to see where they end up in life.

After the service, we decided to go have a Sunday lunch on the town. We went over to Second Street to one of our new favorite hangouts. (Shout out to Laughing Planet and Spanky's Bowl with delicata squash!) Walking down the sidewalk, coming our direction, were some other dear friends of nearly 30 years, one of whom has just emerged from a battle with cancer. We invited them to share our table, and we talked about our adult kids, life struggles and joys, and where, on life's path, we are going next. I loved that time so much. I love those people so much.

Jeannie and Frankie had another ride home, and I wanted to go to one of our local produce stands to pick up some fall produce at rock-bottom prices. You can't beat low priced, fresh, Oregon goodness!

I drove down the road, with farmer's fields on both sides, and the late autumn sun peeking out from behind the clouds. For a few moments, it was warm enough that I could have the window down, Bruce Springsteen was on the radio, and my heart nearly burst with gratitude.

I love those moments when all is right with the world, even though it really isn't. It's important to lay hold of those moments of Simple Sunday peace in a hectic and chaotic world where things really don't make sense. It was one of those moments. Always grab those moments when they pass by and hold them and squeeze every bit of the juice out of them!

I pulled into the muddy parking lot and went into the produce stand, which, of course, was unstaffed, with the money box on the table. Does that happen in other countries? I've traveled abroad a fair amount, but in other countries I've never really seen a business that leaves the cash register full and on the table with no one around. We can do that here. We can leave the money on the table, and believe that people will take what they want, and leave the proper amount of cash. I love that. Yes, there are things wrong in Washington, but, along with that, there is a whole lot of good that gets smothered by the foolishness spewed all over us by the media. Just turn it off sometimes and enjoy the good.
 
I looked around for a bit and then gathered my Simple Sunday bounty, bagged it up, and weighed it on the scales provided. With a dull #2 pencil on the table, I listed the amounts on the nearby worn pad, totaled it up with old adding machine, and took a $20.00 bill out of my wallet. The total was $13.20, so I pried open the cracked, plastic money box, took out all the bills, made my change, put the other bills back in the box along with my $20.00 bill...a Simple Sunday moment for sure.

Actually, at that moment, as corny as it sounds, when I loaded my peppers, apples, squash, walnuts, popcorn, and red onions into the car, I was full of gratitude for where I live and for the simple opportunity to go to a farmer's produce stand, and buy some good food, knowing that he trusted me, and everyone else who stops by, to honestly trade our money for the work of his hands...a simple pleasure.

 Now, I am home. I unloaded a portion of the bounty of Oregon, and decided to share with you my thoughts about this Simple Sunday. I decided to share with you, not because I am anything special, or because I am so presumptuous to think that you would want to read my words; but, because if you do choose to read my words, you, too, might then take the time to appreciate today.

We all get too busy. Turn off your phone. turn off the television. Go outside. (Yes, even in this late Fall weather.) Look at the clouds. Watch the weather change. Wrap up in a quilt with a good book. Make time for family and friends. Get quiet and reflect on the goodness in your life.

If your Sunday isn't a Simple Sunday, do whatever it takes to make it so. It's worth it. There is a reason for the fourth commandment. Make time to "unstring your bow." A bow that is always strung and taut and ready for action eventually gets loose and is not longer useful. Unstring  your bow, leave the work alone, and have a Simple Sunday. You won't be sorry.

Oh yeah, in case you're interested, below is a picture of the Simple Sunday $13.20 bounty. It would have been only $8.20, but I threw in a $5.00 bag of walnuts for my walnut loving spouse.


Take a deep breath and enjoy the rest of this day.

Please?