Catching the Beat of a Different Tune

Like many of you, most of my days are defined by the rhythm of work. I rise, prepare, go forth, do the deed, retreat to my lair and collapse. If you had asked me twenty years ago what my typical day would look like, I think that I would have probably painted a picture with a little more glamour and adventure. Rather than merely do a few ordinary eye exams, maybe I would also slay a dragon or two who might wander into the clinic, make a life-saving diagnosis at least every other day, and perhaps stop an armed robbery in progress at the local convenience store when I stop by to pick up a gallon of milk on the way home. Instead, it’s mostly the steady cadence, “which is better, onnne…or…twoooo.” So much for an epic career.

This week I will be trying to catch the beat of a different kind of tune–taking a week off from work. I have approximately a gazillion days of leave stored up, so I decided to burn up a few this Thanksgiving week and recharge the old batteries. But the question remains, will I delight in the freedom, the luxury of reading a book, going to a movie, doing a little blogging, and spending time with my family (that is, when I can catch them–you see, they have their own “hard rock” rhythm which I sometimes have trouble keeping up with), or will I sit around pining for “which is better one or two.”

I know from the past, that sometimes I just don’t know what to do with myself when I’m not at work. Also, since my parents-in-law now live in Huntsville, this will be the first time in our married life that we will not travel some great distance over Thanksgiving. Indeed, the next few days stretch out as unexplored frontier for as far as my eyes can see.

Here is my current list of things to enjoy/do (aside from the default Thanksgiving feast):

  1. Go see the Harry Potter movie with my family
  2. Finish re-reading The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in preparation for December 9th
  3. Go to the gym every day except Thanksgiving Day
  4. Hang out at Barnes and Noble, drink coffee, check out the new titles and hopefully run into some friends and good conversation.
  5. Travel a short distance up the road to Tennessee later in the week to visit with dear soulmates from times past (and times present, and hopefully future too).
  6. ???

I may even just try to sit still and not do anything, and perhaps in that space of silence, connect with my Creator and thank him for the blessings and opportunities of this, my so called “mundane” life.

So, anyone out there have any suggestions on how a recalcitrant and unrepentant Type-A workaholic can find a little peace and contentment during a week off? Better yet, what are you going to do this week to slow down your own pace and perhaps catch the beat of a different tune?

  1. PatrickMead

    I wish I could help you. My problem is that when I was told what Types A and B were I asked, “is there a type K?” My spiritual gift is sitting. My wife says I’m the only person on the planet in imminent danger of being overrun by a glacier. The best I can offer is, when you hear that nagging voice trying to get you up and busy just ask, “What would Patrick do?” Ahhhhhh. Isn’t that better?

  2. Derek Jenkins

    “…and perhaps catch the beat of a different tune.”

    It is right always and everywhere to try and ‘see’ as Chesterton saw; and that is what I am always doing.

    Richard Neauhaus has the best summary I have seen of Chesterton:

    Unbounded gratitude in the wonder of what is.


    Serious business: wonder; not to be taken with gravity. But modern man, and modern Christianity, has forgotten the characteristics of Being, and so they have lost part of their vision to see and the Bride is left without Wonder and has become bored.

  3. Hoots Musings

    I am unemployed and over qualified so God gave me a lot of time to be still and meditate; and I have not done it as I should; not until today.

    You can pray specifically for me as I job hunt and for God to land me in a good place.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  4. mike

    You’re my hero! The second I get the urge to be “productive,” I’ll think of you sitting in the path of that glacier, playing it “cool.”

    Between the Protestant work ethic and the the constant pulpit message that we’re “not doing enough,” we’ve been convinced that stillness, contemplation, simply time “to be” and “to wonder” at the mystery of it all are all a waste of time.

    I think we’ve been sold a bill of goods and that it’s time to reclaim a more natural and healthy “rhythm.” Now please, don’t ask me how exactly we’re supposed to go about doing that!

    Here’s hoping and praying that your job search comes to a happy ending soon. In the meantime, pour yourself an extra cup of coffee and give thanks for the time and space to blog a little!

  5. mpepper

    5. Travel a short distance up the road to Tennessee later in the week to visit with dear soulmates from times past (and times present, and hopefully future too).

    I have good reason to believe that your Tennessee soulmates are most excited about your travel plans.

    As TSE said so piercingly well, “Time present and time past are both perhaps present in time future, and time future contained in time past.” Surely, you and your Tennessee friends can begin to unpack this as you also contemplate how it happened that the quarterback of my boyhood team was sacked eleven (11!) times by that team across the way.

    The fire pit is ready.

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