Blank Pages

The simplest discipline is a blank page. 

It does not matter if I am journaling, writing creatively, corresponding, tackling a project that shimmers in data and technical work, or writing a blog — the simplest discipline is a blank page. 

I make my students do this, push my sons to do so, and push (if you have known Jill for a nanosecond you know I speak of an impossibility here) Jill to pull out an empty piece of watercolor paper; and begin.

Mickey walked me through ten pages echoing his terror — at beginning.  He plans his day, outlays when and how much and then languishes as the terror infuses the procrastination with a stymying stoppage of everything.  I read his journal and then downloaded it to converse with each paragraph and sometimes each line.  I don’t do that grading everyone, and I don’t do therapy, but I could not help but engage his horror at starting, much less following through.

It strikes me, that if we live long enough we will not take anything for granted.  Getting out of bed is courageous, more for some folks than others.  Walking over and starting — anything — is a gift, if you can do it.  Don’t take it for granted that everyone can get up, walk over and start something. 

I responded to Mickey, but that doesn’t mean I did anything more than offend him, except to tell him to get help.  Real help. 

So, the next time that you have an empty sheet and you begin — anything, whisper a small ‘thank you’ that you are doing it without thinking about it so much that the page remains blank. 

Surprises

I endure some surprises, as do we all, compliments of the weather, terrible service, grounded planes, or poor workmanship. 

They are the ‘given’. 

But somedays, if I stick out my neck and go out of my comfort zone, I get surprised.  Wonderfully surprised. 

Sunday I preached at Heritage Church in Shawnee OK, and told a beautiful story from Acts 20:36-38 to friends and new acquaintances there.  Jeff Goss does phenomenal worship work, Kim Bearden was back in because he loves those folks, and we spent the afternoon eating and attending a Board Meeting at Cargo Ranch. 

To go home I put on my bike shorts and shoes and we got in the car.  Jill had made me put in the bike, even though it was raining on the way down in the morning and I had soured on the idea. 

We got halfway home, stopped, I got out and half-heartedly geared up and headed north when I might have rather been taking a nap.  It was cool for a July in Oklahoma, 81 with a gentle breeze from the North.  I tingled as blood flowed and the cool hit my chest. 

Afternoon golds from the sun reached to push back dark blue grays from advancing clouds in the east that loomed from the ground to the stratosphere.  Slowly, as I peddled they were passing overhead and reaching west for the sun. 

Everyone driving was courteous.  And just before I headed down through two big curves into the valley that carries the Cimarron River I looked westward.

Getting up and turning to face me were forty Buffalo, tufted from behind by sun-drenched yellows, shaking shaggy heads to get a look at whatever this new threat on the plains was that was fleetingly passing by — and I was astonished.  Surprised.  I stared back as long as I could and picked up speed descending into the first large turn. 

And they were gone.

I had been by a hundred times and never seen them.  And this is where surprises yield more fun.

I angled away from the storms peddling west as often as possible, and had forgotten anything but water, so decided to stop at Aspen at Fountain Square for a hot chai.  I sat outside because I knew people inside, and didn’t want the smell to run off their business!

And the yellows and dark blue sky colors washed the flowers and freshly cut grass by the door there, as the thunder rumbled closer and the first drops signaled that I was going to be very wet before getting home.  I laughed.  The phone rang and Jill was already in the car looking for me.  First time ever. She does not like the idea of lightning getting me.  So I finished my chai and put the bike back in the car as she drove up, to cheat for the last few miles home. 

And we both marveled at the sun setting, sun showers, rainbows, cloud formations, and a green Oklahoma in July.  Surprises help you see everydayness somewhat better, I think. 

And this is where surprises yield more fun.  Jill and I were in to see Trish Prawl, our CPA on Monday.  We told her about Sunday and she related that she has one of her ranches close by and was able to tell us that the Buffalo herd was new to that owner.  I had not missed them, they were not there.

It was as if Someone wanted me to get a couple more of the details right, to know how surprising the surprise really was. 

Oh, and sometimes surprises help us with everydayness, too.