11 Things to do Instead of Occupying   Leave a comment

… and by “instead of occupying” I mean, “instead of becoming involved to make our country a better place. I’m thinking  of what the Occupy Movement is doing in that regard, but there are obviously other, similar or parallel ways to be involved – so I mean “instead of any of that.”

Instead of “occupying” you could…

1) Watch a lots of movies. I love a great movie. Lately my wife and I have been watching old ones. (One evening it was an early version of Dicken’s Oliver Twist.) It was great. We also caught up on some newer ones (and great ones) that everyone else has already seen – Avatar, and Disney’s/Pixar’s Up.

2) Work on your house or car. All I ever do for my car is wash it occasionally, and fill the tank. Oh, once I tried to change the wipers, but my son had to end up helping me. The house is just one big project though. Lately I replaced a faucet and wired two new light fixtures in the basement. So far no floods, but I’m holding my breath, and I need to buy another smoke detector.

3) Read some good books. I love to read. One of my most recurrent thoughts lately is that I wish I were either young again (with all those years ahead of me to read), or retired (to have more time to read). How does anyone find the time? And I have a long list “to read.” (See my Amazon cart if you want to buy me anything – and thanks ahead of time for your generosity.) BTW, please don’t misunderstand the book by Lenin. Just curious about almost everything.

4) Watch your favorite teams’ complete season. Those who know me know that I’m no good at this. I wear an Indians sweatshirt but don’t follow them, and I like the Steelers, but only watched them win the Superbowl last year. I’ve watched the Giants more this year, but that’s really about spending time with my Father in Law. And now, my wife is getting interested in football. Great.

5) Learn to cook. I set a goal for 2011 to master four new recipes. I learned none. I have at least 20-25 cookbooks, and the book Cooking for Dummies, which seems particularly appropriate. Maybe this year will be different. It’s really not that hard.

6) Invest time in your marriage. This is a tough one, since now we’re approaching real work – and leaving one’s comfort zone even more than for plumbing, electrical work or cooking. It’s so hard to communicate (“love languages”, “Venus and Mars”, etc.). I don’t like confrontation, or sharing my feelings, and in spite of lots of messages I’ve preached over the years on “grace”, “patience” and stuff like that, I’m still really not very good at it.

7) Spend time with your children. As I grow older, I’m more and more motivated to do this. The problem is, they have their young lives (four boys in their 20s and early 30s), and for that reason and others that we won’t go into here, they’re not that interested a lot of the time. It has to be something really good like Christmas, Mets tickets, or kayaking. (I remember with shame only now how I was the same way at their age.)

8) Go golfing, fishing or boating – or perhaps some combination of the three. Isn’t it amazing how some people take their clubs everywhere, golf or fish in the rain, or go out in the same bay for a ride over and over? It’s just not me. Avoiding this one is the only easy task for me on this list.

9) Work on advancing your career or building your business. I started a business in 2005, and I’ve been nurturing it ever since. The economy has made it endlessly interesting and pretty challenging. I have a blog for that to maintain, and I’ve had to learn about “search engine optimization”, networking, designing a website, marketing, and how to effectively generate leads. Anyway, just thinking about it makes me tired – and each year, when my tax guy shows me my taxable income, I wonder why I try. Lately it’s a little better.

10) Go to church meetings. You can imagine, as someone who was a full-time pastor for 20 years that I’ve been to a lot of church meetings. Sunday worship, Bible studies, lots of prayer meetings, Vacation Bible School, conferences, food pantry, etc. The church needs workers, and you just gotta help when you can. I appreciate great worship times, and I love good teaching from the Word. I appreciate what God has done for me and want to give back.

11) Stare out the window. I not sure if you’ll know about this one – if not, then you really owe me. It’s like staring at the ceiling but more dynamic. The goal is checking out, going blank, forgetting everything, settling into a wonderful stupor. You’ll see, sometimes it’s just the best.

By now, if you’re still reading, you may be excused for wondering what my point might be. I’m just trying to say that we all have a lot of things we need to do and want to do – an endless amount of things. And I’m no different than you. If I wasn’t willing to sometimes make occupying more important than some of the things on my list, I could never do it. We could all easily leave occupying for someone else to do, but that’s not only pretty self-centered and short-sighted, but it also means that we’ll never harness the power of the 99% to bring about change. We’re all needed for that. Look at what people movements around the world have managed to do in the last few years – but it took masses of people joining together against the powers.

If the US were a person, we’d say it had “real issues.” It really needs some love. I’m asking you to think about how you can show it some love. For instance, become more informed, vote more faithfully, stand up for others when you see their rights being trampled, advocate for those who are less fortunate than you, speak truth to power, spread the message – just stuff like that. We’re all in this together. We’ve been given many precious gifts which we routinely take for granted. If we can’t be bothered to do anything to protect them, then one day they’ll be lost, and our remorse won’t be enough to bring them back.

It was Martin Luther King, Jr., who said “History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.” He was speaking of his own day, and hopefully, not also or ours.

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