In Praise of Regular

Regular: recurring, attending, or functioning at fixed, uniform, or normal intervals regular income; regular churchgoer; regular bowel movements.

I'd like to say just a word or four in praise of regular.  I'll start with gasoline and then hit the three italicized in that definition above.  

I've always put regular gas in my vehicles.  Mid-grade and premium are words not found in my lexicon of petrol.  Maybe my cars would have performed more efficiently if I had used a higher grade of gasoline, but I've always gotten where I was going.  And isn't that the point?  If my current car were more efficient, I'd probably drive faster and more racy like and probably miss the fox that scrambled along the fence line yesterday or the ravens perched on that dumpster behind the Village Inn.  I don't want to miss gifts like that.  

The main reason for regular gasoline is that I've always had a regular income; it's what I could afford.  I'm using the word regular to describe amount, not schedule.  Sure, compared to some folks in some countries, I'm living on king's wages.  But compared to folks in this country, I'm making regular money.  Now maybe my fortune will change one of these days and I won't have to worry, yes, worry, about the money and the bills and the money.  But God's been good and God's been great and there's always been food on the table and every once in a while, a little extra to get milkshakes and such.  Every morning, I pray that prayer the Lord taught his disciples to pray.  About midway through, that same old phrase drops from my lips: Give us this day our daily bread.  Bread for today, just today.  If tomorrow comes, well, then I'll pray the prayer again, asking for that day.  If I had too much money, which I wouldn't mind trying sometime, but if I did, I might stop asking for daily bread.  And if I stopped asking for daily bread, then I might stop asking for forgiveness for my sins and the sins of others and praying to be kept from the evil one and the kingdom/power/glory belonging to the Father.  I don't want to miss gifts like that.

I've been a fairly regular churchgoer in my life.  I realize the term churchgoer probably makes many current pastors and leaders cringe, as it indicates someone who attends rather than belongs or something like that.  That's too bad.  I've gotten up and gone to church, yes, a physical place, most Sundays whether I felt like it or not.  And some Sundays the sermons were slow as molasses and the music would bother the dead.  And then some Sundays, a word or phrase renders me a man undone; or a child waves at me during the service for no reason at all; or the bread is placed in my hands and the wine crosses my lips and all I can say is a teary Amen.  Church is kinda like life; you've just got to show up.  And if you show up regularly, your chances of receiving or giving gifts like that are better than if you're irregular.  Which brings me to my last word.

I have regular bowel movements.  Yes, a cup of coffee first thing in the morning keeps me on time like the noon stage, except the train just pulls in a little earlier.  I'm thankful for that, I really am.  I wonder sometimes if all those folks running yellow lights in the morning or talking on their cell phones in the grocery store so I can hear them three aisles away are doing such things because they're constipated, literally and figuratively.  Remember, as the body goes, so goes the soul.  Regularity can be seen as some stuffy, stodgy adherence to the rules.  It can also be seen as something that leaves you lighter and brighter for the day ahead.  I spent some time, years ago, as a hospital chaplain.  I'd visit folks every day, preach a little gospel, sell a few bottles of dr. good, that kinda stuff.  One of the men I remember vividly was constipated with a capital C.  I'll never forget the day, days later, when I visited and he was beaming like an angel who'd just got his wings: Son, I had a crap!   The man had tears in his eyes, I kid you not.  Pray for me, son.  The Book of Common Prayer has a lot of tricks in it, but I had to improvise in that moment.  We bowed our heads and closed our eyes and praised the good Lord for the gift of regular.  I kid you not.  

May we all be regular folks.  Amen.          

13 comments:

  1. This could possibly be one of my fave posts you've written.

    I am a regular kinda girl (in most ways you mentioned ;) and I wouldn't have it any other way...it feels good to be regular and it keeps my eyes keen on the "gifts" that I don't want to miss, either.

    Loved this, my friend!

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  2. John, I'm with Tiffini on this one. I love the sincerity and simplicity of this post. Lord, keep us in tune with you and watchful for the blessings You shower us with each day.

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  3. Oh my gawd, now he's talkin' about his bowels. No kidding...I used to work at a hospital. Speech therapy. Hardly ever did I enter a room, waiting to work with a patient, and after introducing myself and asking how they were...I heard about their bowels.

    Surely you're onto something.

    Lurve that you're a regular guy.

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  4. Interesting. A close friend this weekend appended the word "shameless" to his description of me. Considering the title of your space here, I might consider letting you borrow it after THIS post. By the way, how's that Tourret's Syndrome coming along? You made me smile first thing in the morning...no little task. Thanks, brother!

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  5. I'm back bc this post has been rolling around in my head.

    I thank God for the regular, too, and for being regular. For when we're regular, we can appreciate the extraordinary: Him.

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  6. And didn't you once tell me that there IS such a thing as TMI?

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  7. ...with or without coffee

    ...very moving

    ...sincerely!

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  8. This is one of those posts that just re-emphasizes why I read your posts day after day...your writing is anything BUT regular. It is a gift to many.

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  9. I'm regular in my irregularity... does that count?

    I missed the fox but saw the inside of the BP restroom...yes I ran the light.

    I think I could use a little regular. Thanks man.

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  10. You are THE shit...I mean that in a good way.

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  11. love it.

    and yet, on the other hand, you're anything but regular

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