Escape Rooms

Escape rooms have become a fun night out for families and friends. The jest of an escape room adventure is you and your comrades are locked in a room which contains a series of different puzzles that provide clues to solve the final puzzle for unlocking the door of the room.

One day this week I felt locked in a “writer’s block” escape room. When I don’t know what topic to write about or how to express what I have to say, my approach is to simply start writing poorly or misdirected until the thoughts and language better form. So I started to manuscript. It was a no go. As was the next, and the next, and so on…until finally the breakthrough. Puzzle solved. Door unlocked.

This approach seems to work with most things that have us trapped or stuck. You just keep praying, thinking, and trying new approaches until the door is unlocked. Just don’t give up.

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Oldie but Goldie?

I was listening to an oldies station in the car this week and a song came on that I hadn’t heard in decades. It was a hit when I was in grad school (so yep, we are talking old). Volume up…rock out! As the music rattled the windows, I dialed into the lyrics…and realized that this fun little ditty was propagating infidelity as a solution to marital doldrums. Catchy tune, but an approach to love and life that I have seen result in way too much hurt, deep pain and destruction for me to subscribe to. Volume down…new station.

So I started some mental lists:
. Things that once seemed so cool but with the passing of time seem so inane.
. Things that once seemed so important they owned my thoughts and time…but now are not worth memory space in my head or room on the calendar.
. Things I allowed to ruin a moment or ruin a day that looking back now appear to have been ridiculously influential and insignificant.

Here’s to a better perspective today and better mental lists ten years from now!

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Advice in the Moment

Ever been asked to give some advice to someone who is in the middle of what most likely is a complex multilayered dilemma?

I was recently. It had to do with a marriage relationship that had become adversarial. There was a lot of pain and frustration in their eyes and voices and I so wanted to help but I only had a few minutes to spend with them.

My response: “I see and feel your pain and I applaud your willingness to open up to me. I’m a much better sign post pointing people in a direction than I am a destination that unpacks these things. So I’ll point you to a counselor, but in the meantime at the risk of sounding simplistic, here’s my advice: In your every interaction with each other, ask yourself…what is the loving thing to think, say or do right now and then think it, say it and do it”.

Will this advice solve all their issues…probably not. Will it improve their relationship and put them in a better place to actually address their issues? I think so.

And it might be a good way to conduct all your relationships.

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She wanted to experience the beauty of snorkeling the reef, but she didn’t want to get into the water.

He wanted to start a business, but he didn’t want to put up his life savings to fund it.

It is one thing to talk about a life of faith and another to live it…right? Are not faith and risk inseparable?

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So this week I returned from a beautiful stay with our partners at Springs of Hope Kenya and a layover in France. Not to sound overly querulous but here is what awaited me:

After 22 hours of my 6′ 2″ frame sitting in a near upright fetal position on planes, trains and automobiles my back was screaming at me while the rest of my body was fighting an unwelcomed discomforting infection. After landing at TIA I learned my phone had been hacked along the way and my phone number now was in the possession of an unknown thief who was attempting to gain access to my finances. When I arrived home I was met with a “Dali-ish” water stain on the ceiling left by our backed up AC. We had paid all our bills in advance…or so we thought. One slipped by us, the water bill, so yep we were dry.
There are way worse problems people deal with in this world but in that moment of exhaustion I succumbed to a brief identification with Job.

A three hour conversation with five different customer service agents and with the help of my carrier I got my phone number back. My doctor has me on antibiotics for the next month. And the ceilings needed repainting anyway.

Sometimes, maybe most times, you can’t change life…but you can change yourself, with a little help from above.

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