Sunday, April 8, 2012

Up from the Gravy He Arose

It's Easter.

Awaking in Ma'ikwe's off-grid house this morning, our immediate joy was more associated with a clear sky and that the sun had arisen (good for solar gain), rather than that the Son had arisen. (Besides, Jibran, Ma'ikwe's 15-year-old boy child, is a night owl and arose after us, as is his wont.)

Two years ago on this holy day, the northwest quarter of Ma'ikwe's roof blew off in a gust of sheer wind [see my blog of April 7, 2010, The Roof Is Risen, Indeed for details on that], making it my more of a "holy shit" day. To complete the spiral, it happened that my wife's Mom, Kay, was visiting at the time of the roof drama, and she's en route for another multi-day visit today, even as I type. (Kay & Dick are expected momentarily, bearing ham and conviviality—both of which will be appreciated.)

Kay is happily living in Canandaigua NY with new partner (and fellow Bucknell classmate) Dick Manly (I know, but just think what it must be like for him—talk about a cross to bear). Dick is long retired from a career at Eastman Kodak (just up the road in Rochester) and drives a school bus. He has a week off for spring break and the two of them are on a driving tour (a real busman's holiday) of the Midwest, splitting time between Kay's daughter's homestead in Rutledge MO and her son Mark's homestead in Fennville MI. Think of it as a tour de offspring.

Tomorrow night Kay & Dick have set up a catered dinner at the Milkweed Mercantile (Dancing Rabbit's very own eco-B&B), for all of the familial clan to enjoy a belated birthday celebration for Jibran, who officially turned 15 last Sunday. I figure you can never get invited to too many parties as long as you enjoy the company, and this is a fun group.

• • •
I believe one of the secrets of a happy life is intentionally blurring the line between work and play. Here's how I put this together:

Step 1: Find joy in many things (I refer to this as LTD, or low threshold of delight). As there's not much payoff to misery, it's a terrific strategy to be amused easily.

Step 2: Insist on your "work" being as high a percentage of things you enjoy as possible. (Obviously this is easier if you've done well with Step 1.) Hint: count everything here—both domestic chores and what you get paid for, as they are equal opportunity consumers of the limited amount of time you have in this world.

Step 3: As you accomplish the first two steps, it becomes less necessary to look for breaks, and less tempting to watch the clock (longing for relief from the toils of "work"). Instead, you are drawn to a life that is "workful," because it's so strongly associated with joy and satisfaction. Further, there is less friction (energy drain) because there is less resistance to what you're doing. Thus, less need for recovery.

Essentially, this distills to the aphorism: love what you do, and do what you love. This is on my mind right now because of a serendipitous application that just popped up yesterday. Out of the blue, Sandhill was recently approached by a buyer for the Nourish Organic Market in Grand Rapids MI on the hunt for organic sorghum (and possibly our organic prepared mustard). While we concentrate the marketing for our food sales near us in northeast Missouri (to contain delivery costs), we try to be responsive to whatever opportunities come along.

While we don't have regular trips to Michigan—excepting my annual pilgrimage to Ann Arbor as part of the faculty for the annual NASCO Institute every November—it seemed like divine intervention (I'm trying to stick with the Easter theme here) that this inquiry would coincide with the highly unusual itinerary of a friendly vehicle coming to Rutledge with Fennville MI as its next scheduled stop this week. As Fennville is a mere 50 miles from Grand Rapids, we made a sale. Pretty cool, huh? I figure this kind of windfall is all the more likely to come your way if you don't put family visits in a box that is carefully segregated from "work." In any event, it was a much more favorable wind than the one that blew our way two years ago.
• • •
Finally, I want to explain the title for today's entry. It comes (as many long-play word mangles do in my life) from my ex-partner and dear friend, Ann Shrader. As a kid, she misheard the opening line in the refrain of the classic 19th Century Easter hymn by Robert Lowry. The actual words are:
Up from the grave he arose;
With a mighty triumph o'er his foes…

Annie puzzled over why the son of Christ had slipped in the sauce for the mashed potatoes, but then, as we all know, the Lord moves in mysterious ways. Perhaps this was just a secular adaptation to the meal that had become the centerpiece of contemporary Easter celebrations among the less pious. If gravy features in your holiday plans today, please try to keep it down in front.

No comments: