Posted on July 19, 2017
Prologue: I found this little quip I wrote 5 years ago. Interestingly still fighting this same battle. Are you?
Where I grew up in Kansas there were a few different types of whirlwinds. Obviously, we were familiar with the kind Dorothy experienced. Luckily never had that close of an encounter, but did spend a few nights in the basement and had one close enough to our house that we lost most of the trees in our backyard.
Another type was the dirt devil. They were a welcome distraction to seemingly endless days sitting in a tractor seat. You could see them coming across the field on hot dry summer days. Minature little tornados maybe ten to twenty feet in diameter and thirty or forty feet high.
The whirlwind I experience most often today is called life. I’m not sure how it happened but life has become a chaotic swirling whirlwind for most of us. There is a constant battle to stay on one’s feet as the winds seem to be gusting from all directions. Here’s an example.
Monday, December 12th 9:00pm
- Our five-year old son was crying profusely as I tried to put him to bed. What’s wrong? Earlier in the evening he came into the room as his mother was watching a documentary on Halloween. Perfect timing of course as the show was explaining how Hollywood had distorted the opportunity to dress up as a pirate or ballerina into gory zombie movies, which is what he happened to see when he walked by. I made him a nest out of our comforter and some blankets beside our bed. No way you can let him in bed and get more that ten minutes of uninterrupted sleep. All is well.
- Until 12:30a.m. – I feel a presence in the room. As I slowly open my eyes in the darkness I see a face, inches from mine. Dad, can I go watch cartoons? NO.
- 2:45a.m. – Honey, would you check on the boys. Five-year old is in his nest asleep. Four-year old is asleep on the floor beside his bed. It is quite an effort to lift him into his bed entangled in sheets and blankets.
- 6:30a.m. – Alarm goes off. It’s President’s day at work. One day every month eighteen division Presidents come to headquarters to meet with the executive team. Today I will meet with everyone of them to discuss salary increases for their 100 or so officers. Tough year coming out of recession, 2% max overall increase, that will thrill everybody.
- 7:15a.m. – Put the four-year old into the car for drive to preschool. He is still asleep. He wakes up as I hit the highway. Where’s my snack, can we stop for a donut? Don’t have time, feel bad, have to get to office. The preschool teacher has to peel him off of me. He is screaming as I leave. That will last about 32 seconds, then he will be fine.
- 7:40a.m. – Arrive at work. It’s a great start to the day as I made it to work with my billfold, IPhone and IPad. Beat the boss to work, really great.
- 7:55a.m. – Oh man. Today is my wife’s birthday. Text her happy birthday, no caps or puncuation, no time for that. I do have a present, that’s unusual.
- 8:00a.m. – It begins. Twenty scheduled meetings. Lunch brought in. Six impromptu meetings between meetings from Presidents seeking advice on strategic plan for 2012. One president informs me he is done and needs replaced.
- 5:15p.m. – Twenty eight year old son calls. What are we doing for mom tonight for her birthday? Dang.
- 5:17p.m. – Call wife. Would you like to go out and have supper for your birthday. Do you have a sitter for the boys? No. They are bouncing off the walls, I’m beat.
- 6:30p.m. – I bring home Chinese take out. My son and his wife come over for a quick dinner. An hour later they leave. Wife says I’m taking a shower and watching a Bing Crosby Christmas movie. Get the kids a bath and put them to bed. Easier said than done, it took 2 hours.
- 9:30p.m. – Will you ever do a little planning for my birthday. Yes, let’s go out this coming weekend. That worked.
- 9:35p.m. – I seldom watch politics on TV, but turn on Fox News.
- 9:37p.m. – I’m asleep on the couch.
- 9:45p.m. – Wife wakes me up.
- 10:15p.m. – I wake up in the shower. Now I am awake. Guess I will go write something.
That is a day in the whirlwind. The problem is we get so caught up in the bustle of life we don’t gain much ground on the important things. The challenge is to find little bites of time that we can use to make headway on our goals and things in life that matter. We can spend a 100% of our time in the whirlwind and most of us do just that. The challenge is to find little bites of time to move out of the whirlwind and do something productive for your job, your spouse or God. Results and life can be amazingly better. The Huntsman says we need to strive for health in all areas; physical, mental and spiritual. The question is how do you find time?
Epilogue: Here is a secret the Huntsman shared with me. Unbeknownst to most men there is a magical extra hour before we get up. How do we find it. Follow these directions closely:
Step One: Set your alarm for one hour earlier than normal. Brilliant!!!
Step Two: Have your tennis shoes beside your bed, put them on and do some kind of exercises hard for twenty minutes. The key to making it count is doing something tough; run hard, lift the heaviest weights you can, work out hard.
Step Three: Get a cold drink and spend the next ten minutes in a quiet place having a conversation with God. He loves you, he wants to know how your doing, he wants to show you how amazing life can be when your priorities align with his.
Step Four: Get a cup of coffee. Get your bible out and read for 10 minutes. Read John. Read the letters of Paul. If your a real man, read James.
Step Five: Close your bible, get another cup of coffee. Think about what you need to get accomplished today at work. Think about how you will be a leader at home for your wife and children. What can you do today that says you love them.
Step Six: Take a shower, you probably stink!
Step Seven: Get out of the shower and realize you just stepped out of the whirlwind and made a courageous decision to get better at things that really matter!!
The whirlwind is real and comes from many places seen and unseen.
As you so precisely pointed out, our response and priorities in life, will determine if we have to live in the whirlwind or not.
Life is a gift. We don’t have to allow the whirlwind more time or effort than it deserves.
thanks for sharing your life Bert…your making a huge difference in the lives of many