The Nothing

I know I often say this in church but setup and tear down are my favorite part of Tapestry’s worship gatherings. I really believe everyone should come be a part of setup. Seriously if you are interested I get there each Sunday at 8:30 a.m. and you are more than welcome to join us. Your help would be nice and appreciated but your presence will be the real gift. If you aren’t a part of Tapestry you should help with setup at your church, I would bet it probably has the same fun vibe. The best things seem to happen during setup.

For example, Conor H has developed a habit of dabbing. We aren’t really a dabbing church. We aren’t cool . So Conor dabbing is funny. Still Conor dabbing wouldn’t really be that great except that one Sunday Eric decided to dab also. Eric may be the only person on earth that looks more ridiculous dabbing than I would. Eric blocked Conor and me in and then dabbed as a celebration. I laughed so hard that I cried.

So when I saw the sticker of Jesus dabbing I knew I had to get it and sneak it onto Eric’s car (with Natalie’s permission of course because I’m not a vandal). It only took me two weeks to get the opportunity (the bozo kept driving the wrong car). Sunday I was able to get it on there. The bummer of the situation is that he found the sticker after 36 hours. After he didn’t initially notice it when he had to walk right past the rear of his car, I was hoping for a week or two. The great thing is that when he saw the sticker he initially thought he was looking at someone else’s car.

Which brings me to a quote from the book I just finished. I finished reading Margaret Atwood’s “Cat’s Eye” recently. I am not sure how I feel about it yet. At first I thought it was rather boring because it was about mundane life but now I kind of find it stuck in my head. I think I may eventually read it again, which for me is the sign of a good book. The quote that has been sticking with me is from the protagonist’s brother Stephen. He describes the atom by saying it is …

“A lot of empty space,” Stephen says. “It’s hardly there at all. It’s just a few specks held in place by forces. At the subatomic level, you can’t even say that matter exists. You can only say that it has a tendency to exist.”

Here is my poor attempt at drawing this.

Even in my very far from scale drawing you can see that it is basically made up of emptiness. If we focus on the specks of matter we miss the majority of the atom. I feel like we often do that with life. We focus on the few “shinny” moments and events and long for more of them while not realizing that the majority of our lives are the mundane and we make no attempt to enjoy the mundane.

Let’s just look at my 2018. Here are the “shinny” (none ordinary) moments of my year.

  • I spent a week in France with my family (admittedly there were many unusual moments this week)
  • One child graduated from grad school
  • I helped my mom move up to Wisconsin
  • I floored our soon to be Library (formerly Living Room – but I hate that room name) – this was big to us
  • I watched a touring company version of Fiddler on the Roof with Pam and my mom.

I’m sure there are other non ordinary moments that happened during my 2018 but most of the time was spent in ordinary moments.

  • eating at Taco Januitas with Noah,
  • walking around Adam’s new home town and having him describe what he likes about it,
  • debriefing my day with Pam,
  • eating the Thursday night meal with my mom,
  • driving Clive around town,
  • walking around our block and talking with our neighbors,
  • reading at the end of the day before I go to sleep,
  • waking up inn the middle of the night because one of the stupid cats flick their tail onto my face and realizing how wonderfully cold the house is (we let the temp drop to 62 at night) and how warm our blankets are,
  • grabbing coffee with various people throughout the week and hearing about their life,
  • setting up church each week and making fun of and being made fun of by my friends there,
  • fishing, hunting, and walking/running/riding through the woods,
  • randomly seeing bald eagles fly around our community
  • etc., etc.

These are the nothing moments and they make up most of my day. They are glorious. Recently I talked someone who told me how sad she was because her past few weekends had been boring, she had done nothing. We started detailing out what she had done over the past year. It was pretty significant with quite a few “shinny” moments, but she thought it was nothing before we wrote it out. She felt like everyone else had so many significant moments until she saw her’s on paper. She judged what she knew about her days by what she didn’t know about other people’s days. I described my list of moments from 2018 and we estimated that this very generously equaled 12 days of big moments. 12 out of 365, and she agreed I had lived a pretty excited year (after all, I could say “well during my trip to France this year …).

Most of our days are made of the nothing moments. We need to enjoy them because they make up most of the shape of our lives. If we regret them then we regret the majority of our days. Right now I am enjoying the sounds of good music at Zest Bakery and Coffee (they consistently put on good music) and the wonderful taste of their coffee and a peanut butter cream bar, while I hear the muted conversations of friends. Life is wonderful.

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