Oh my goodness. I have so many rules for my life. And yeah, right about now, I am so certain that none of you better be wearing any white shoes---not until Easter. Do you hear me? (Is that a southern thing or is it in the Constitution somewhere like my mother said? Maybe she said it was in the Bible. Either way, it is a very important rule. It's one I have followed all of my life and would not dare break no matter what. After all, it's a rule. One that was supposed to both impact and change my life--so I was taught. Isn't that why we have rules anyway....to help us with our lives?
When we travel to the beach in our car, Taylor knows that the rule for our dog, Murphy, is that he stay on the back seat. This is a rule. I always drug Murphy, but it never seems to work; he tries to sneak up front most of the trip. Every time Murphy wedges himself between the back and front, Taylor comes out with this Sargent sounding, "Don't even think about it, Murphy." Then he promptly tries to toss Murphy back. Of course all of this rule following and breaking is happening while I am driving 80 mph down I-75. None-the-less, Taylor knows what I've told him and he does his best to enforce my rule. I, on the other hand, have begun to weaken and am willing to forego the rule just this once---again. But no! "Don't even think about it!" shows up again and my inability to follow through is spotted and noted.
"Well, it isn't even a very good rule," is what I try to justify to Taylor.
Rule--Smule----I am ready to throw everybody out the window because I can feel myself collapsing around what I thought I believed.
Do you ever eat dessert first? OK, forget that. Do you eat between meals? Do you have a rule that you will never go to bed with dirty dishes? (I do. Yes, I know I need to get a life.) Never leave the house without brushing your teeth? Exercise at least three times a week? Not drink before 5:00 (and yes, it's always after 5:00 somewhere.) I know. I know. You probably don't have them written down and anchored under a magnet on your refrigerator, but in your mind, they are your rules.
But let's say... what if you were being observed from above--like from Sky Cam? What rules could the guy with the clipboard write down about your life by the end of the day? 'Cause isn't it true that if somebody really wants to know the rules of our lives---what rules our lives, mostly they just need to see how we spend our time? (And thank goodness they can't see inside of our heads...right?) So, here are some. Check yes in the gray box if any of these apply to you:
Fake Rule #1:It's Ok to hold grudges but pretend like we don't.
Fake rule #2: Say that inner beauty is more important than outer beauty but make digging comments about people's hair, teeth, clothes, weight.
Fake rule #3: Say we love all people but condone words like fag, retard, colored and certainly keep our relationships homogeneous. (Look it up.)
Fake rule #4: Express a willingness to offer the shirt off your back...unless the shirt is from Saks.
Gosh. You got it. I got it. We have rules that we post and then rules that we actually follow. But, those dumb rules---like about white shoes, those aren't really the rules I'm talking about so much. What about the inner compass/moral/comandment (if you will) type rules. The biggies. How are we doing on those? I can get a little flimsy in my own daily life with the interpretation of words like honor, covet, false witness, ..... and the greatest of these is....love. Ooops. Broken that one lately? So, here's my big fat spiritual question for today: What if, every time we were about to go against our true north---against our own morals--the rules that keep us whole/holy ---what if we allowed ourselves to hear, "Don't even think about it."? How would that little prompt feel in our lives?
Some days it seems like I need that cue card about a million times. I might be veering off course---going against what I know to be right; I need that voice that says, "Don't even think about it." Don't say, don't do, don't eat, don't engage in, don't "go there"---that thing that will bring harm, hurt or hate to another person. It's a rule. Like bigger than the white shoe rule.
So, here's the best set of rules I know for living this life. Whether on dry land or on in the water, some variation of these rules work every time.
Think metaphorically if you need to.
Keep your skis together.
Let the boat pull you up.
Good rules. Probably in the Bible or Constitution somewhere.
Anybody else out there trying to pull the boat up?
Give it a rest.
Let the boat pull you up.