7 Quick Takes Friday #3

It’s Friday already?  I thought time was supposed to stop when we were on vacation!!


I don’t believe I have an addictive personality, and yet I’m keenly aware of how reliant – fine, addicted – I am to high-speed, on-demand Internet access.  The fact that it isn’t immediately available at every single moment I might decide I’d like it is an irritation akin to a burr under the sock, or an outbreak of poison ivy.  It makes me irritable in ways I’m not proud to admit and am fascinated to observe.  Being old enough to remember a pre-World Wide Web Internet, and the day when the best source of information was still the phone book or the library, it’s amazing to me how dependent I have become on this fancy-schmancy Internet-thingy in just 15 short years or so.  Amazing and Frightening.


I am humbled at how well my children adapt to new environments and situations.  In the span of less than a week we’ve stayed in a hotel, and with two sets of relatives they really haven’t met before.  The kids have slept in beds, on quilts on a finished basement floor, and on mattresses on the floor.  Never a squawk.  Never a complaint.  They’ve been in amazingly good spirits, and I’ve enjoyed tons of extra snuggle-time with my kids.  It makes me suspect that I need to be with them 24/7 more often.  Now I just have to figure out how to do that…


It is a joy to cook for people.  My mother gave me an appreciation for cooking when I was young, and it’s really blossomed into a full-scale passion of sorts in the last 20 years or so.  The simple act of preparing something that other people genuinely enjoy – and yet requires no work on their part – is so invigorating.  It’s a sad thing that the idea of hospitality is disappearing in our culture as a whole.  It’s a shame that we are so afraid so much of the time of all the bad things and bad people out there, that we take less and less time to spend time with people, making them feel welcomed and valued and special.  Amazing things can happen around the dinner table.  The food doesn’t have to be exotic, but something about the nature of breaking bread with another person is spiritual.  No wonder Jesus chose that act as the perpetuating means of Grace to His disciples.  I don’t have difficulty with the idea of it really being His body and blood in there somehow with the bread and the wine, because God the Holy Spirit is so obviously present at other simple meals. 


It should be mandatory for everyone to live less than 30 minutes of some large body of water.  Freshwater, saltwater, ocean, river, lake – makes no difference.  But it ought to be something that you see almost every day.  It’s such an amazing thing.


I love the thrill of theological dialog.  Better yet, is to engage in theological dialog or debate with someone that doesn’t share the same beliefs as myself.  Whether that means they’re a Muslim or a Mormon or an atheist, or else a brother or sister in Christ from another denomination, I love the sharpening of minds that can occur when we take the time to honestly talk about and through differences of opinion or belief.  I believe that God the Holy Spirit is at work in those moments.  Perhaps that’s part of the reason that so many people find it uncomfortable.  But the process of growing in faith is one that should not make us afraid to encounter perspectives and ideas that challenge our own perspectives and ideas.  If I am convinced that I am in error about something that I believe, or a way that I approach Scripture, so be it.  There ought to be nothing that keeps me from constantly praying for the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment and wisdom, even if that requires me to change things about what or how I believe. 


I feel bad that because of travel, I missed my friend’s Wednesday writing exercise.  Since it would be slack-tacular of me to post it so late to her blog, I’ll just write it here.  With apologies.  And guilt.  Always, always guilt.

There is the glow of amazement.  Is this my 7-year old son?  The one so often who shies away from hugs and tickles and other snuggling opportunities?  Did he just come over of his own accord to sit on my lap and throw his arms around me and hug me tightly?  He’s still sitting here, nestled against me in a way that hasn’t happened very often since he gained the basics of walking and running years ago.  Since his imagination fired-up and enabled every conceivable piece of furniture or partial toy to become a robot or a spaceship or a dragon or a dinosaur.  I simply sit and hold him, his warmth permeating me, the honesty and simplicity of his love so awe-inspiring as to make me wonder if it could really be me who has kept him at arms length for so long?  Me and my busyness and schedule and work.  The demands of the day and the week and the month, the shortness of patience at the end of a work day that tells him that now is not the time, that this is not the right thing to do.  But after a few days of being together constantly, those signals have softened or changed enough for him to come close and sit on my lap and hug me and tell me he loves me, that he’s happy.  It has been my work that has enabled this moment to arrive, but perhaps at the same time it has been my work that has prevented this sort of thing from happening more often.  I could allow the waves of guilt to wash over me.  But instead I inhale the Johnson’s baby shampoo fragrance of his hair, and close my eyes and hold him tightly. 


It feels to be so out of touch with what’s happening in the larger world these past few days.  I’m used to scanning news feeds from several dozen different sources almost every day.  And for almost a week I’ve been wrapped in a technologically induced layer of seclusion.  I’m not sure if I like it or not.  It feels grossly irresponsible.  But I suppose that the world will get along without my commentary for a little while. 



10 Responses to “7 Quick Takes Friday #3”

  1. Virginia Mom Says:

    I am an addict of the high speed internet as well! Great quick takes!

  2. Paul Nelson Says:

    Is it good or bad to have company in an addiction?!   I suppose at the very least, it means we can be sociable while we get our fix!  Nice to meet you, Virginia Mom!

  3. Nancy Campbell Says:

    Oh, that child head scent! Lovely paragraph, and something I can understand. I’m around my kids all the time, but how mindful am I during that time? So often, I’m multi-tasking. I’m also a bit concerned about how I get the shakes when I’m away from the computer. It’s no joke. Choosing to live by the Chesapeake Bay is one of the best things I’ve ever done.

  4. Corrie Says:

    I agree it is sad that hospitality is disappearing from our culture. I agree that providing a meal, an experience, for others is a wonderfully fulfilling thing. My parents were military officers back in the day when entertaining was expected. When I got married, late in life, I tried to live up to the standard my parents set. Since I purposed in my heart to invite every family in our small but growing church over for dinner, I was killing myself to “entertain” them. Fancy entrees, desserts, table clothes, themed meals, etc. Then one day, I don’t remember why, I couldn’t live up to the standard. (It might have been that I was experiencing a difficult pregnancy). I had my husband throw frozen patties on the grill, opened up a bag of chips and salsa and for dessert we built our own sundaes. After we played Jenga. It was the best evening. And I even enjoyed it. After that, I’ve probably have gone too much this way. But over the years I’ve learned it is about the quality of time around the table rather than the quality of time spent getting to the table.

  5. Paul Nelson Says:

    People thought I was strange when I realized I loved to smell baby heads.  I don’t often like to smell the heads of my kids now that they’re older and stinkier, so it’s great to enjoy when possible.I realize that most of my descriptions are internally oriented – examining thoughts and feelings and less descriptive of the narrative setting.  Something to watch for in the future, undoubtedly.  Thanks for giving my a pointed exercise each week to work on my words with!

  6. Paul Nelson Says:

    I think that context is important with hospitality.  Over the years, we’ve become aware that while we love to cook and explore, many others don’t.  And so when we would invite people over for dinner, it could be overwhelming.  We’ve since attempted to try and scale back a little bit – at least with folks that are dining with us for the first time.  Over time, there is more opportunity to begin trying different things.People appreciate the thought of being invited over, though I think it’s becoming an equally ‘odd’ sort of thing, and people aren’t sure how to respond.  Some respond by not accepting the invitation.  Some accept, and then we never hear from them again.  I guess that’s part of hospitality – you do what you do because of a love for people and the act of hospitality, not because you expect that reciprocity is going to ensue.  When it does, it’s lovely.  When it doesn’t, it was still usually an enjoyable time together.How often do you have others over for dinner?  We’re trying to get into a routine of at least once a week if not more. 

  7. Corrie Says:

    I agree that it has become an “oddity” and people not involved in a church or social communities of some kind, do find it uncomfortable. It used to bother me that we would never be invited to homes. When I was having a sinful attitude about it, I said to my husband, “Everyone in our church knows what our house looks like, but I don’t know what their houses look like.” We open our house weekly for a “small group bible study.” I encourage my teenage son to invite his friends over to hang at least once a month. It can range from 8 to 20 plus teens. All the neighborhood children live in our home. And my teenager (and the younger two are starting, as well) is always inviting friends to stay for dinner. Fortunately I grew up in a large family and never learned how to scale back my cooking. We usually have enough food for the unexpected guests. Keeping this in mind, my goal is to try to have someone or a family over once or twice a month. Both my husband and middle son are high functioning autistic so they “reach their limit of people” faster than my teen, my youngest and me. When my husband and son disappear while people are over, I know they’ve reached their capacity. :-)

  8. Paul Nelson Says:

    What a wonderful way of handling differences levels of need in regards to social activity!   During our time in St. Louis, MO my wife and I – along with two couple friends from our home church in Arizona – moved in together for a communal living experiment.  One of the interesting results of that experiment was that our house was sort of the magnet for the kids in our neighborhood.  It was a wonderful feeling to know that they felt comfortable enough to hang out, even though we were quite different from them and their various situations.  I pray that the Holy Spirit continues to use that experience to shape and direct their lives as they grow older, just as it has continued to impact our understandings of community and hospitality.

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