It is 10:30 PM on day six of “My 500 Word Challenge” that I wrote about a few days ago. This is my first attempt at writing anything today. I really should be in bed right now, because this is also the week that I committed to trying to get up at 6:00 AM every day to be able to write in the mornings. Unfortunately, I have not met my goal of getting up that early to this point yet, although Sunday I did get up at 6:15. This morning I stayed in bed until 8:30, but that is kind of the point that I want to write about today.
You see, after preaching yesterday morning, eating lunch with some friends from church, quickly packing an over night bag and booking a hotel, my wife and I headed out of Carlsbad on a spur of the moment trip to El Paso, TX. It is just a two and a half hour drive from Carlsbad, but it is not a trip that we make very often. We went because one of our faith family members from our church here was in El Paso because his mom had to be flown there early Friday morning due to some major health concerns. We knew about the situation, but found out Sunday morning that things may be even worse than we originally thought.
Kelley and I decided that we needed to be there for our friends, knowing that we would probably not be able to see his mom in the hospital. Checking on, and being there to support our faith family is something that we hold in great importance in our lives. We were right, we never even actually made it to the hospital. We got to our hotel and contacted our friend. He said that his mom was not up for visitors, but that he would let us know when he was heading out from the hospital in a little while so we could meet up with him for some coffee.
So we heading out to dinner (Chipotle, one of our favorite restaurants that we do not have anywhere close to here), and then just explored El Paso a little while waiting on a phone call. We were able to meet up with our friend and spend some time just making sure that he was alright (his wife had to head back to Carlsbad before we met up with them). Just being present with someone when they or a family member is going through something unexpected is sometimes the best thing that can be done. Even better than that, we found out that the situation with his mom was not as severe as once thought (and that she would probably be discharged in the next couple of days, though we have not received an update since then).
Hospital visits, or visiting with people who have loved ones in the hospital is part of the job in ministry. I am not writing this trying to say that I did something special. I would have done the same thing for anyone of my faith family or any of my friends for that matter. But the whole situation got me thinking about something else. It is a goal of mine to start getting up earlier. I want to be more productive and build better habits in my life. And those are all good goals. Life does not always live up to those goals and expectations though.
Driving to El Paso right after church caused me to miss my usual Sunday afternoon nap, and then my wife and I were up late just decompressing from the day, and trying to relax. It was after midnight by the time I laid down, and after 2:00 AM before I fell asleep. So I gave myself a break and slept until 8:30 (which is still an improvement, because in similar situations in the past, I would have stayed in bed until 10:00 probably). I also did not try to write while we were at the hotel. The motivation just wasn’t there at the time and I decided not to force it.
Here I am, however, past what should be my bed time as I write these words. There are times in life that things are not going to go the way we think they are. I left our house for church yesterday morning not planning on making a trip to El Paso. In fact, I had planned on just relaxing in our living room for the afternoon, trying to get in bed at a decent time, and getting up at 6:00 AM this morning. Did any of that actually happen? No. So goals that I wanted to achieve just did not materialize. But I am still getting my 500 words in today. And more importantly, I was able to be there for someone that needed support.
What am I getting at? Goals are important. Routine is important. But friends, family, people in general are more important than any of those things. And I also learned something else that is really important for me. While I want to write in the mornings, making it a priority in my day, since I have committed to this challenge, I will make time for it. Even if it means writing late at night when I can barely keep my eyes open as my fingers fly across the keys.
So what about you? What do you prioritize in your life? Is it your goals or yourself? Or do you make it a priority to be present for your friends and family? Is it your routine, i.e. your comfort? Or do you let interruptions happen and make the best out of them? Enough for tonight, I’m going to wind down and head to bed!