Rhythm and Blues

My boys have rhythm. I wish I did.

Tim has the best rhythm in the family. The kid is so naturally rhythmic, I swear he could tap his head, rub his stomach, do an Irish jig with his left foot and the moonwalk with his right foot, all while carrying on a conversation defending Breaking Bad as the greatest moment in TV history.

Jon has this nice little dance he does. It involves his hips and his hands in a unique combination that would make Pee Wee Herman jealous. It's pretty much a family legend. Thomas can play the guitar or the piano without giving it a second thought and keep his tempo intact like a boss. Music flows from him like water from the tap.

Me? I can clap my hands and sing at the same time. This, by the way, is not a skill possessed by everyone. I've seen you in church.

Anyway, rhythm is a nice thing to have. I wish I had more of it. It's what I need in my life right now.

When I think of rhythm in a spiritual sense, I mean something a little different than imitating the Blue Man Group. I mean the balance of life and work, the discipline of prayer mixed with the spontaneity of play, the patterns of exercise, rest, Sabbath, productivity, creativity and relationships that give me the most joy and satisfaction. Rhythm means preparing for the normal but being ready for anything. Perfect rhythm brings perfect peace.

For me, this is simple to plan but difficult to master. I need a regular pattern to my life and work. I need my days to be structured but not overstuffed. I need time with people. I need time alone. I need to have a place to be, and I need to have nowhere to be. I need a harmonious schedule that provides time to think, pray, exercise, and create. When life does not allow for those things, due to circumstances under or beyond my control, I feel out of rhythm and out of sync. My heart suffers. My body suffers. My spirit suffers. When I have no rhythm, I have the blues.

This year has been pretty blue. It started off with a couple weeks of sickness. Then we got nailed by the snow which brought everything to a halt. It's nearly the end of January and I feel like I have gotten nothing done at work and regressed spiritually. My prayer life is pretty weak at the moment. I haven't exercised much. And the worst part is, I don't feel like doing any of it. I am out of rhythm with myself and out of sync with God. I need a spiritual pacemaker.

I don't know if you can relate to any of this. People are wired differently. Some are disciplined through whatever comes their way. My wife, for example, protects her prayer and exercise time like a bear protects her cub. It doesn't matter if she's sick, exhausted, or too busy to breathe, she's up before dawn every day and she says this is what keeps her sane. Others don't want any schedule at all -- they need to find something new to do every day. For me, I do best when there is mix of these things. I need routine, rest, and coffee. I need to be busy, but not too busy. I need lots of structure, but with moments of laughter and fun thrown in for good measure. A vacation to look forward to is always good as well.

So here's to starting 2016 over again. I'm planning to get back to the gym. I'm planning to get up at 6:00 to read my Bible and walk the dogs. I'm planning to keep Tuesday mornings free to write and create things for the best youth ministry anywhere. I'm planning to get away once a quarter to pray. And I'm planning to write a blog every other week. I like the rhythm of the tapping of the keys as I create something from a well-rested and inspired mind.

Here's to a better rhythm, starting now.