For a lot of years, I wanted FUN to be the main priority of anything I put my effort into. If it wasn’t fun, then what was the point of doing it? I had a lot of it too. Fun, that is. I partied all the time, I was laughing and carousing most every day of the week. In fact, I probably had too much of it. It’s possible that I overdosed on fun.
These days, fun isn’t my first priority, definitely not the same kind of fun that I used to have, for sure.
I was just telling some friends the other night, that there are aspects of my life and personal commitments that I engage in, that are healthy for me but not real fun. These things seem to help bind me to a cause larger than myself. In this instance, I’m talking about my involvement at our church. I was speaking to that fact, that this volunteer effort and attendance at various events, don’t titillate and sizzle with the electricity of a wild party. Nope, not even close.
My point really, was that I am okay with that. I find a different sense of gratification, knowing that it is not just my own personal satisfaction that I am seeking to soothe. This ironically, soothes, in and of itself.
Our restaurant can be a downright madhouse at times. Last night in fact, we were operating at near meltdown capacity. The kitchen kiddos were trying their hearts out, and early on, they had a big table to deal with. This is stressful, yes. I am personally responsible for making sure we do our best job as a team. It is not really a fun experience, to be between a rock and hard place with the walls closing in… BUT! When they sent out plate after plate after plate, and fed this family that had gathered within our walls… I slapped them a big high-five and honestly was a little choked up, as I turned and walked out the swinging kitchen doors.
Damn, I was proud of them! These guys had a really bright moment among the chaos. Soon thereafter, we were bombarded by a hundred more people and yes the fun factor faded further. We grilled and cooked and yelled and fried until the grind finally subsided. We accomplished something wonderful actually, while looking stress and challenge, right in its ugly face.
I guess I have ‘matured’ into appreciating a modified version of fun, at this point in my life. It used to be that my personal entertainment was all about tickling the receptors connected to ecstasies of the body. Fun only meant that I was escaping the present moments of the real world, living in a fleeting fantasy enchantment. When the hangovers hit, and I landed back on earth, the headache did it’s best to remind me that I wasn’t in fact, invincible. My attempts at the evasion of reality were a bust. I was caught and awaiting extradition to the hell of a jail cell, my actual life.
These days, looking at those same bottles and cans, behind me at the bar, instead of in front of me, is a proper perspective on them for me. ‘Look at my backside! You dogs! You chased me around long enough!’ Actually, I’m not always that brazen. But again, even the demented challenge of avoiding even a simple sip of cold beer, well deserved, after a long hard exhaustive night of restaurant work, invigorates me.
Saying no, seems to enchant and intoxicate me. Much more than the liquor itself could.
So then, I must retract my messages from before. In a sense, I am still driving after a personal enjoyment in almost everything I do. A glutton still I remain. Now though, instead of feasting on the fantasy of a fleeting moment of buzzed bliss, I am thrilled by intense frustrations. Attempting to scale steep and sharp rocky cliffs, instead of floating easy breezy around a circular lazy river… I wonder what we’ll find if we keep on reaching?
Hopefully, strength and stamina are building up. Ideally, this exercise produces fruits of the character, of the spirit. I see it happening in our church family, in the team at our restaurant. I hope maybe, they can see some of that in me too, through sober eyes, working shoulder-to-shoulder, toward something larger, than our own simple self-gratifications.
Until next week, Be well my friends and God Bless You.