Walking my dogs along the Mission Trails park trail at 7:30 AM on a Sunday morning is somewhat unusual. Not that the dogs seem to mind. What was unusual is that I woke at 6:50 that morning – a full hour later than I routinely do on a Sunday. But then both Dexter and Comet were fast asleep on the floor by the bed when I woke.
Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.
Dexter seems to know that we are in full-on holiday routine. But that is his motivation to give me that look of expectation. Dog-walkers know exactly what that is. And my sore shoulder – that I tweaked a week ago Tuesday and still bothering me this evening – got no rest again this morning. Dexter, for an eight-year old dog, has tremendous energy and often pulls me up hills when we walk the trail. It was nothing short of this today. And Comet? Comet loves a brisk walk, with a stop every so often to mark his presence. Between the two, I get a fair bit of exercise.
While this would have been a good day to just sit on the couch, I was a bit lost. You see, I have been accustomed for at least a thousand Sundays to go to worship services in the morning. For at least a third of these I have been leading the ushers which necessitated me to be up and out the door by 8:50. So this was a day to do shopping, groceries, and a little home maintenance. Between scary movies on television (what? doesn’t every family have a holiday tradition?!) , my wife and one of our sons helped with peanut butter balls or catching his mom up on all his latest news. For my part, I spent more time discussing with my neighbor what a mess the gopher invasion in our neighborhood was making. And then the day turned to depart for our worship service.
While I expected there to be fewer in town last evening, as it turned out my fellow ushers and I had a full house. On the Sunday nearest Christmas singing, cookies, hot coffee and chocolate brings out the cheer; longtime friends of my wife and I chose an after-service meal at Panera to catch up on the season’s plans with our respective families.
And suddenly it was Monday. Christmas Eve. I reminded my wife twice this morning that I was getting up early, not because it was a work day but because I had received a Jury Duty summons in the mail. But before duty called, my other duty called. Walking the dogs. Something like “Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer” played in my head. A foggy morning to step out into on this Christmas Eve.
I’ve had several special breakfasts during the holidays in years past. But none courtesy of a cafeteria worker in a public building. At the San Diego County Courthouse. Today the special was biscuits and gravy. A few exchanges of “Merry Christmas!” Given the choice, I probably would have gone to the Cafe down the street, but as I took my breakfast and coffee in styrofoam to-go containers, I think it was encouraging them that a few of the jurors followed my lead on the breakfast special.
Yet there was a few more presents from Santa to open early. A little after 9 AM, the clerk thanked us all for our service and dismissed us. I imagine that bailiffs, defense counsel and the D.A.s were feeling a little festive this morning and decided to share it with us. Merry Christmas, everyone!
Galatians 5:22 -23 (NIV)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control.