Ponderings with Doug – July 8, 2016



Doug De Graffenried – First United Methodist Church, Natchitoches, Louisiana

Last Friday, July 1st something happened. You probably didn’t notice it. On July 1st
we lived through 183 days of 2016 with 183 days left to live in the year. We are now sliding down to the conclusion of 2016. It seems a long way off, but it will be here before you know it.

I know you share my excitement that there is only fifty-three days until the opening of the Alabama Crimson Tide football season. I heard what you LSU people said! I think the weekend after is the first College Game Day. I hope you are excited about the beginning of your team’s season. I live for football games on Saturday and the great naps on Sunday afternoon during the NFL season.

This means that Christmas Festival 2016 is on the horizon. I would remind the Christmas Festival people to check their calendars. Christmas Eve is on a Saturday night again this year. We don’t want you blasting mortars while we Jesus folks are singing Silent Night. Don’t make me write another article about y’all!

When I see the trucks on the riverbank, I get as excited as a kid in a candy store. I know the decorations are going up. The decorating of Natchitoches also seems to coincide with some fresh fall weather. I love the lights and that time of year. I have been listening to Christmas music for a couple of weeks now. You should see the expressions of the people who walk in my office and hear it.

I will throw in two Methodist church things that I love. In a few more weeks until we become the Pumpkin Church. On the Car Show weekend we are having a big fall event, complete with the blessing of the pets. If you need your animal blessed, then bring it by. You should see me lay hands on a tarantula. I want someone to bring a cow for me to bless. You could take the blessed cow to the car show too! A decade from now when I retire, I want a cow!

There is contest in November that might take up some of our attention in the fall.

Hey, Jill Leo did you see that I plugged your two events?

The first half of the year was meteorologically eventful, wasn’t it? There was the flood. I had a meeting with my Bishop in Alexandria on that Thursday morning and I was trapped in Natchitoches. The only way out was by ark. I know that some of you are still fixing the flood damage. If the flood wasn’t bad enough then came the hail. I don’t know if we are in the dog days of summer yet, I know it is hot and miserable outside. That means it is a great time to get on the barge and ride up and down the Cane River. I’m thinking about the things I would need to do to ride the whole length of the Cane this Saturday. It is true that a boat is a hole in the water in which you pour your money.

I am not overly ADHD as I write; I am illustrating an ability unique to humans.

We are doing something only a human mind can do. We are mind-wandering. In the moment of reading, we have wandered forward and backward in time. We had thoughts that didn’t’ make sense given a previous thought. We humans have this blessing or curse of having a mind that can go back in time or forward in time, often to the detriment of the present moment. We tend NOT to focus on the moment we are in. We are so bad one survey noted that 10% of the respondents reported that their minds wandered during sex. Most of these reported they were thinking about things that needed to be done instead of what they were doing. I can write no more on this subject, I’m blushing enough now.

I have seen minds wander on Sunday morning. I know people are not pondering the deep statements I make about examen and praxis in Christian existential epistemology. They are pondering the pot roast and how luscious the gravy on the rice will be after the church service is over. I know this happens because it happens to me while I am preaching. My mind wanders especially if someone walks out during a sermon. I don’t know if their bladder or cell phone is going off or if they are just walking away mad. My mind is wandering even as I write. I’m working on the conclusion to the article as I type this sentence.

Mind wandering helps us make plans, work out solutions and overcome issues arising out of our past. The same process that blesses our life can rob our lives of the moment.

Now is the acceptable time. Now is when you have faith in Christ. Now is when you live. Are you living in the now or is you mind wandering off?

God help us live in the now!

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