Tailgating the Popemobile

This past weekend I spent some time working on my trusty VW van.  It has an issue with the turn signal.  The right one works fine, but the left signal is pretty spastic.  It either blinks as fast as a strobe light, or not at all.

One solution, of course, would be to stop making left turns.  It would be quite tricky, though, to get where one wants to go by only making right turns.  Even if you do arrive at your destination through a series of right turns, you would be forced to stay there forever, as your journey home would be all left turns.  Better to fix the turn signal.

Doing this repair made me wonder, What if we had turn signals ahead of us on the road of our lives?  What if there was a vehicle we could follow that knew the way our lives should go and would lead us accordingly?

The best vehicle for this job would have to be the Popemobile.  First of all, it’s a sweet ride.  More importantly, however, it’s driven by the Pope, or at least he tells the driver where to go, probably with a cool walkie talkie: “Pope to driver, turn in here at the McDonald’s drive-thru.  I feel like a Big Mac and a Dr. Poper.”

I mean, if our lives were a car on a road, why not follow behind the wisest, most in-touch-with-God guy on the planet?  All you’d need to do is get a walkie talkie with enough batteries to last a lifetime, then learn Latin, and you’d be set to go.

As you traveled your life road, the Pope would give you his wisest advice on all your life decisions.  He would say things like, “We’re turning left ahead so that you can take this particular job,” or “Bear to the right here so you can go to this school and earn your degree,” or “Marry that woman standing by the side of the road.”

What do you think?  If you had the option to be guided to all the right decisions in your life, would you do it?  Or would you put your foot on the accelerator, pass the Popemobile, and say on your walkie talkie, “Thanks, Pope Francis, but I’ll make my own life decisions.  I’ll never know for sure the right way to turn.  I’ll certainly make mistakes.  But right or wrong they’ll be my own free decisions.”

Thank you very much for reading.  I wish you a wonderful trip down the road of life.

Brent

 

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5 Writing Resolutions

I’ve never been a big new year’s resolution maker, but I thought I would try it this year, at least in the writing area of my life.  So here goes:

5.  Read more stuff.  Each person’s own unique writing voice is influenced and nurtured by countless little inputs into their lives.  Reading other people’s writing is a key component to developing your own style.

4.  Don’t let ideas get away.  You never know when an idea for something to write about will pop into your brain.  When you least expect it, an idea butterfly may choose to alight upon your gray matter.  Don’t let it escape, or you may never see it again!  Jot it down in a notebook, or make a note or voice memo on your phone.

3.  Network with other writers.  This is a hard one for me, as I have a serious loner streak embedded in my DNA (and I think a lot of writers tend in this direction).  If you are trying to get your work published, though (like me), networking is crucial.  Gone are the days when having a good story is enough to get published.  On top of a good story, you now need to make connections and share your work so that it will end up in the right hands.

2.  Write on a regular basis.  One thing about writing is that it’s one of the most “putoffable” endeavors known to mankind.  When I have free time available for writing, I have this amazing ability to put it off.  I am very gifted at finding any number of other occupations to fill up the free time.  (“I would write except I’ve been meaning to clean out my bellybutton lint.”)  This year, even if it means a navel overflowing with lint, I’m determined to be a more consistent writer.

1.  Keep it fun.  I’ve always told myself that the instant writing stops being fun, I will stop doing it.  That is still the way I feel, but I have to take it with a large grain of salt.  Writing is still work, and no matter how much you enjoy it, work is not always going to be fun.  As long as it is fun in an overall sense, though, I will keep doing it.  With that said, this year I am resolving to bring back the fun in writing as much as possible!  I think this topic could be worth its own post, stay tuned…:)

Thank you for reading, Happy New Year, and best of luck with all your goals for 2016!

Brent

The Gift of 9,000 Hours

First of all, I don’t really mean 9,000 hours exactly.  In the interest of a catchy headline, I did some rounding of the numbers.  I mean the 8,784 hours in 2016 (including 24 bonus leap year hours, yippee!).

Time is a gift given to all living things.  Whether you believe the giver is a higher power, or pure chance, we all must agree that none of us ever does anything to earn our time on this earth.  As wonderful as it would be, there is no job that pays its wages in hours that we can tack onto our lives.

This time gift of ours is very unique in that it is ever-given.  It is a constant stream, like Santa Claus on espresso tirelessly reaching into his big red bag and handing us more parcels of time.

I’ve always thought of a new year in terms of days.  A fresh batch of 365 shiny days.  It’s kind of fun, though, to look at things differently sometimes.  I’m thinking of this year as a fresh batch of 8,784 hours.  Each one is individually wrapped, and with a bow attached.

What is not attached to each hourly gift is a string.  There are no conditions that come with the gift.  We may spend the hour however we please.  We can spend it sleeping, or reading a book, or working, or eating bon bons in bed while watching soap operas (guilty as charged:), and there are no judgments.  Just another shiny wrapped-up hour when the previous one disappears.  So what will you do with all your new time gifts this year?

Happy New Year,
Brent