Good writing, with a strong point and with life oozing out.

On Doing Nothing

August 18, 2008

My brother-in-law is a pure soul if I’ve ever met one. Which is not to say that he’s naive or that he’s unwise, but that he is completely honest when he speaks about a situation. So when, several months after joining an effort at planting a church, he asked the quiet question “When do y’all just hang out?”, I found myself without an answer and with a new wisdom about people and organizations. I’ve never forgotten this, and so regularly quiz myself about the groups to which I belong and our incidence of relatively pointless socializing. ‘Hanging out’ enables real relationships. Not ‘hanging out’ hinders the group, and in my experience serves as a harbinger of real trouble.

This was a weekend in which I reveled in such pointlessness. First, I took a 2-hour drive to a 22-hour camping trip, where I sampled some deep hanging out with a larger crew of longer-term campers. Who reminded me of the value of campfires and smoke rings and fresh pasta sauce and perfect s’mores and biting the bulleit. We ate fresh sweet corn, drank coffee, ate pancakes, held babies, swam, made sand castles, and cut wood. Then, I drove back to join the city mice as we gathered around the pool and wasted most of a day. Here I caught up, drank more coffee, read a Psalm, prayed through Muslim eyes, swam again, grilled more corn, talked, grieved, did cannonballs, and witnessed the invention of the new diving sensation that will soon sweep the nation– The Angry Bunny.

What did I do this weekend? Nothing that mattered much, though it was all very important.

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