When it comes to halfbaked ideas, I have had my fair share of them and plan to cook up a few more. So I will divert from my misadventures to share with you about my father-in-law, Loren, whom I’m very lucky to call “Dad”.
Loren is such a blessing to our family. There have been many times Loren has rescued me when hubby was away. I have leaned on him often over the years, and have a deep respect for him. However, he would be the first to admit he can be unconventional. So, I lovingly share how Loren has hilariously kept us laughing over the years. He is not a comedian, or blessed with a dry wit and perfect timing. He just has some halfbaked ideas over the years that tickle us and make for great dinner conversation over the years.
For example, he called hubby and me few years back convinced he had solved the problem for allergy sufferers everywhere. He had my attention, as the months of August and September have me wanting to claw my eyes out. All ears, he shared that this medical menace could be cured by plugging your nose with spit wads. I immediately conjured up the image of Dad with toilet paper stuck up his nose and shook my head in disbelief.
If only it were that easy and stylish?!
We broke the bad news that pollen is a sneaky bugger, “Dad, what about your eyes, the pollen enters there as well?”
“Oh, that is probably true.” Undeterred, our medical advice was neither accepted or probably appreciated.
Dad’s passions are for rebuilding cars, his church and ebay (don’t ask me how many pairs of orthotic shoes he has bought). However his great love is for chickens. He raises them and is quite knowledgeable about all the nuances in the poultry world. Have mercy though if you are a naughty chicken-as he is a strict disciplinarian. His wayward chickens kept wandering off. His solution? The chicks are promptly shackled. It is quite the sight to see this lonely chick shuffle around the pecking grounds. His creative methods not only work but again provide great fodder for conversation. Horrified, Mom recently shared that the chicks had been struggling with worms-making them sick. He found some natural remedy that resembles red dirt and decided he would try it too. I asked him, “how is that working for ya?”
“I’m really hungry.”
They say what is good for the goose is good for the gander-well if it’s good for the chicken- it is good for Dad.
It can be safe to say that Dad and computers are archenemies. His kids are always fixing one for him because “it just stopped working.”
You know those pesky updates that pop up at the most inopportune time. We were all stunned when we observed Dad slamming the lid shut on his lap top and admonish it, “You will update on your time, not my time. It’s my time.” Then he pulls out another laptop to show us the must see youtube video.
This explains a lot.
Dad turned 70 last year and shifted into retirement and I could tell this new season of life was bringing him down a bit. Multiple surgeries including a knee replacement had left him visibly bummed.
So this summer, he had us all very curious when he excitedly announced a classified package was on the way and that nobody in all of Hastings,NE had one. He had all the grandkids buzzing and the hype grew. Grandkids and kids were all at the house when the big package finally arrived. Loren’s enthusiasm could have lit a Christmas tree as he lugged the big box into the house. It was like the lamp of leg scene out of The Christmas Story.
Gathered around –he pulled out this.
What is that!? Basically a one wheel segway called a ninebot one.
We unpacked it, charged it up and headed to the near deserted mall in town. The grandkids jumped on. Spotted by aunts and uncles they quickly got a hang of the balance and technique required to safely ride the “bot”. Soon they were zooming down the empty corridor. Surprisingly, Dad wanted to jump on the one wheeled toy. The man that was 4 months post op from a total knee replacement? Now this was halfbaked! We shook our heads as he defied good sense and manufacturer directions that it wasn’t for anyone 60 or over. Dad balanced himself on the “bot”, propped up by his kids. He cautiously traveled the length of the mall. He was in heaven.
In the days to follow, it soon became very obvious that this purchase, hailed as a gift for his grandkids, was really Dad looking for a thrill. With ankles and knees padded, he was determined to grasp this new skill. He was faced with a choice; retreat into his winter season with grace or beat it back. Defying what was expected of him, and what most people thought would be sane-he did what brought him joy!
How often do you talk yourself out of something because you think you need to act your age. You tell yourself you can’t follow your dream because you waited too long. Maybe someone is asking you to do something and you are saying “ I don’t know how to do that.” All along thinking you’re too old to learn something new? I know I have-alot.
Obviously, I’m not advocating living with reckless abandon, and you can certainly argue my father-in-law was clearly in that category, but don’t we spend a lot of time trying to be cautious? We make our decisions based on our fears. What could go wrong? What will people think? I don’t know if I’m smart enough?
Scripture has a little to offer on this subject. “Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it” Luke 17:33. These are Christ’s words. He is sharing with the disciples advice for when Jesus returns. Jesus imparts there is spiritual danger in choosing what we want versus what God is calling us too. If we don’t fully embrace what Christ offers we may lose our life. Unfortunately, this is a serious and literal warning from Christ.
We are called everyday to surrender our own plans and submit our lives to Christ. But these words also remind me that if we seek to protect ourselves from failure, embarrassment, to essentially preserve our life- we will get to our death bed and realize we didn’t have much of a life at all. We could easily miss God’s direction in our life. Let’s face it- sometimes God’s plans might involve some failure or a little embarrassment. These plans may even may require you learning something new! The good news is that Jesus never pulls a bait and switch-there is always something better.
When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, “I used everything you gave me.” ~Erma Bombeck
To “bot” or not to “bot”, may not be the question on your heart. However, the “what if” nagging you- may be God calling you towards His plan or even something that will bring you joy. God has placed talents and desires in us-that many of us leave undiscovered, untapped because we are afraid! We worry that people will think we are crazy. Like Loren, we all have the same choice-live life or observe it.
When you start to think I’m too old, or you begin to dwell on the reasons why not..please remember Christ’s words. Also remember my father-in-law, Loren. He conquered that “bot” and every week zooms around Hastings or empty Menards parking lots. He is annoying some I’m sure, but I know inspiring others because he inspired me. When you follow your dream and do something that brings you joy-just think who you could inspire! Any other way is halfbaked!