Friday, August 5, 2011

Gumption! & Other Learned Traits.

It’s simple. Why can’t I remember to do it. I know the signs. I know it will work to fix the problem. But I go months with out this.

I wouldn’t call myself a good singer but I do happen to know that I need to sing. I know my secret to happiness is to sing.

The best two things I had in my childhood- tangible things, that is- were a walkman and a rocking chair. I would spend hours- LITERALLY- hours every single day rocking in the chair and singing at the top of my lungs. Now that I’m more self aware I can’t understand how my parents allowed me to do that in their home. They were more patient and loving than I thought (ie. intangible things I had, among countless others).

I remember having a great childhood. My dad taught me about psychology, building anything out of anything, and how to listen to an engine. Later I would come to know my mom taught me strength and logical thinking skills. What a combination. Together they taught me about marriage and God. These two stayed together through it all and drug me to church every single Sunday of my life. My dad openly talked about Jesus and His mercy. Fast forward a bit: I have one beautiful, smart, growing, charming, son that teaches me more things than I can even imply. The thing this boy has taught me for the last year and a half, plus nine months is how much my mom (and dad) must have REALLY loved me. To see past the innate sin and to love me enough to do what I needed, not wanted. They must have spent a lot of time swallowing hard and biting their tongues.

I also remember going to work at the Feedstore for five years through high school and college and hearing “Do you always smile?” I didn’t understand. “Yea, I guess so. Why wouldn’t I? Doesn’t do a lick of good to frown.” I would reply. I’m not being impractical- I would have my fits of frustration and sadness mixed in with some anger but generally an exceptionally happy person. It’s only been in the past few years I noticed a change.

Call it “growing up” or “wising up”. I call it “my-singing-stopped”.

I want a rocking chair and a walkman. Okay, my ipod and our nursery rocker will do just fine. What is it I’m missing?

Gumption? Maybe so. With a teaspoon of Gumption maybe I wouldn’t be fearful of being caught singing. It’s happened before you know. Neighbors above us in passing conversation saying “they noticed I liked so and so musician” for example.

… gumption is better caught than taught. As is true of most character traits, it is woven so subtly into the fabric of one’s life that few ever stop to identify it. It is hidden like thick steel bars in concrete columns supporting ten-lane freeways. Gumption may be hidden, but it’s an important tool for getting a job done.

This morning I looked at my bedroom wall where a calendar and three sticky notes were posted. “Drink 32 ounces or water a day”, “Drink 1 (and only 1) soda a day”, and then the third post-it. The one I had been ignoring while mostly faithfully abiding by the other two: “Sing for at least 20 minutes a day-everyday”. Today was my day!

Hello fully charged i-pod!

Hello 30 spare minutes of son-isn’t-sleeping!

Hello Jewel (only my most favorite musical artist)!

Hello “This Way” (my favorite of her albums)!

Just as I was about 5 tracks in and really feeling good…. I feel a vibration on the front door where I was preforming. I of course didn’t hear the knocking- because I am that loud.

“Uhhhh. Hello Mail Women”.

Hello shifting eyes and nervous instructions. “Hi, Uh…. you- I…I just need you to sign this….. err umm… here. Here’s the pen. Alright! Okay, well. That’s all. There-you can get back to…. ummm. Okay. Great! Bye. Thanks. Bye” She said in one very long exasperated breath.

There it is. I feel it now. Spunky. Courage. Confidence.


Most folks get a little gumption in their initial birth packet, but it’s a tool that rusts rather quickly. Here’s some sandpaper.

*the two above quotes were stumbled upon by yours truly via the world wide inter-web and evidently come from page 109 of a book entitled ‘Man to Man’ by: Charles Swindoll.

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