Responsible parenting and leadership are a start. In between reaching for the sky (Toy Story rocks).

Screw the darkness. I prefer the lightness of Pop.

Friday, January 16, 2009

We can own each moment, make it ours and hold God’s attention

I've been teaching myself drumming for about two years now. It's nothing too serious, just the rudiments and a little independence. I don't have a drum kit – just sticks, a practice pad, practice pedals, some print and DVD lessons, a Casio drum machine and a subscription to Modern Drummer.

Independence has been an exercise that extends beyond the ability to play different beats with all four limbs, all while keeping measured time. It's helped activate parts of my Cro-Magnon frontal lobes that have allowed me to truly multi-task – to remain fused in the moment while simultaneously managing multiple tasks, at work and at home.

And that's a good thing when you have a baby in the family. Three may be the magic number, but from what I remember from high school chemistry, it can be a weaker bond. You can challenge my chemistry knowledge, although where I'm going is the added stress and strain children can put on the family – emotionally and financially.

Bea's only 4 months old. Keeping measured time with a 4-month-old has been a pleasure for both Mama A and Daddy K. But what about at 4 years old? 14? 40 (if I'm lucky to live so long)? I'm in it to win it as they say and each day is a lovefest of mindful living. That's one thing to apply at home, but quite another to apply at work.

It takes more than mindful living and loving to raise a family; it takes money as well. And working hard to make ends meet can take its toll on families. I work in the human capital space where workforce management is now the instability of those two words, especially with the unemployment horror that continues to rise across the U.S. It's unprecedented the economic atom-splitting we're seeing unfold day after day. I was listening to an NPR: Planet Money podcast the other day about how single woman with two kids in Dayton, Ohio, learned of her proofreading job's demise via e-mail shortly after she learned there would be no more coffee offered in the office. End of job with no prospects in sight.

That's what you call devastating work/life imbalance and just one of a million stories we'll hear this year. It's a scary time for families, but for those who have stable employment, work/life balance is a misnomer anyway; it's much more fluid and organic than that; we don't really balance our time. Plus, times like these can feel like a violent storm crashing us upon the rocks; time is the enemy. We're fortunate to have stable employment, but no one predicted the world we'd be in today, the perfect storm leaving many folks' time in shambles.

But then we can also experience the little perfect storms that can wash away the sun for a day with a blown out diaper. And then a peeing baby without a diaper. And then a leaking bag of cat litter. And then a sick nanny. And then a wailing on-the-cusp teething baby being handled by Daddy with no more finesse than Blagojevich's denial of wrongdoing. All the while with clients asking for more for less, and needing it yesterday.

All I kept thinking is how much we love each other and Bea (sans the cursing and kicking).

My parents gave me Grace for the Moment by Max Lucado for Christmas. Wonderful book. Here's something that caught my eye the other day:

Unhappiness on earth cultivates a hunger for heaven. By gracing us with a deep satisfaction, God holds our attention.

We all just want to be happy and fight ourselves tooth and nail all the way, by focusing on what happens to us, breaking our attention and missing a beat.

Which brings me back to drumming and one concept I'm fascinated by – driving time. Driving time and owning it. Drummers are the backbone of a band's rhythm (along with the bass), and are called upon to keep the measured time moving along. But real life isn't like a metronome; drummers can also drive time while keeping it. They can slow it down and speed it up – push out on it and suck it back in as if it was their own breath – forming a symbiotic relationship with it – dancing solo with it like one's shadow – but still keep the beat unfettered or from becoming painful booms and crashes. We have a heart, mind and soul, and four limbs, to keep us grounded in fluid measures, aware of now.

So much is out of our hands; so much is in our hands. We can own each moment, make it ours and hold God's attention.

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