Thursday, November 10, 2005


I arose early last Monday to push myself--in secret, and with the sound on the TV turned way, way low--through a "Crunch" exercise video loaned to me by Kim, a friend from church. I recognized almost immediately that a few of the pretend class attenders were actual dancers. It was so obvious. If I spent a straight month studying the moves on that first dance step, I wouldn't be able to wiggle and shimmy with that same Broadway pinache displayed by the girl in the back row. It struck me then, in a moment of stark, heart-stopping clarity: I'm never going to be a dancer. Oh, I might get up early now and then, tug the curtains closed so all the potential peek-gaps are covered, and fake my way through the Salsa and Samba and Funky whatever, but that won't make me a real dancer. No, that train passed by me somewhere in my teens or early twenties.

I dwelt on that thought long enough to add it to a growing list in my head. I reached into my brain, found the shelf entitled Never and made room for dancer right next to pro baseball player. That particular "never" had been a tough one. One afternoon, long ago, while watching a rousing game and discussing with Dave the intricacies of the squeeze play, it had struck me that I'd never round third base while the crowd roared, never scratch and spit on live TV, never smack a ball against a distant light and send sparkles of "She's amazing!" falling to the field (a la The Natural.) The fact that I can't be a pro baseball player has nothing to do with the passing of time, and everything to do with my gender. Mark my words, though: had I been born male, I would surely have moved mountains if those had stood in the way of me and my destiny.

I tucked the exercise CD safely out of sight, showered, and accepted Dave's invitation to run errands with him. Somewhere after breakfast, a stop at the co-op and a run to the post office, we ended up at the Oso lumber yard out near Arlington. After hunting and pecking up in the rafters, the clerk agreed to let us leave with two flimsy, hardly-worth-the-effort tin pipe clamps if we agreed to leave $20 on the counter. Do I have to tell you that I heard about that $20 all the way home? Anyway, while still standing in the lumber yard, my mind drifted as if often does and I began thinking about all it had taken to establish a lumber yard business on that particular stretch of land. They'd had to pave the whole parcel, and enclose the yard itself in cyclone fencing. They'd had to erect a large metal building . . . and buy a fleet of forklifts . . . and slap together enough shelving to hold all the over-priced tin accessories. And then it hit me: I'm never going to own a lumber yard.

We went to Starbucks. That's what you do when you realize your life is passing before your eyes. Of course, Dave didn't know that was the driving force behind my espresso thirst, but I did. And standing in line, staring at the girl who had just taken my order, I realized I probably wasn't going to ever stand behind a counter myself and scribble on a pristine cup, "tall-2 pump peppermint, 2 pump mocha-1 1/2 inch steamed Breve Americano" in secret Starbucks code, either.

It's odd to spend a day accumulating "nevers." It puts you in a pensive mood. But fortunately, enough Little Mary Sunshine lurked in my being that I found a way to turn those "nevers" around. No, I will never be a dancer, a pro baseball player, a lumberyard owner or a barista. But I'm a pastor's wife. I'm a mother. I'm a writer, and an editor, and a teacher, and a friend. And I suppose you could do worse with a life than to spend it trying to be the best pastor's wife-mother-writer-editor-teacher-friend you can be. So I will Cha-Cha in the mornings and admire the real dancers. I will continue to cheer the Mariners (and don't you DARE say a word against my boys) and try my best not to covet all that fun. I will buy my overpriced pieces of metal from the Oso lumberyard and not make under-my-breath comments about how I wouldn't dare fleece my own customers that way. I will rattle off my complicated order to the barista at Starbucks and ooh and ahh at her ability to catch it all.

And I'll play the roles I've been given--with every ounce of energy I possess.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord--not for men. --Colossians 3:23


15 Comment:

At 11/11/2005 10:19 AM, Blogger Bill and Glory had this to say ...

Being a wife, mother, and the human equivalent of a female bovine for our baby, I can totally relate.

Thanks for theese thoughts, today. I'm making myself a cocoa, right now.


At 11/11/2005 10:32 AM, Anonymous Pam D. had this to say ...

You forgot "inspirer-er!" (Not sure if there is such a word, but you get the gist.) ;-)

I have my own list of "nevers" (actually quite similar to yours), and the one that can knock the breath out of me when I let it is --"I'll never be a mom." But then I remember Sarah and Abraham, and think -- I'm so glad "never" is not in God's vocabulary! And I heard a teaching this morning as I was getting ready for work -- a minister talking about how we will rule and reign with Jesus in the milennium... my mind can't even get around imagining what things God will gift us to do then! ;-)

I'm glad you are back on here -- you inspire me in many ways!

At 11/11/2005 11:00 AM, Blogger shannon had this to say ...

Hey, Glory! Hope you're enjoying both the cocoa and the baby. :)

Thanks for the nice words, Pam. And I'm glad you heard that teaching. We've been talking a lot about the millennium in our Tuesday night Bible study. I, too, am awed to think that God could entrust (and equip) me for some important responsibility then. Of course, that's what "now" is all about--practicing and preparing for eternity (and the thousand years before :)

As to becoming a mother--there's only one "never" that applies to that: You "never" know what God has planned for you. :) You're in my prayers.

At 11/11/2005 11:17 AM, Anonymous Pam D. had this to say ...

Thanks, Shannon. Prayers are the best of all. ;)

At 11/12/2005 5:23 AM, Blogger Sheryl had this to say ...

Shannon, I'm glad to see you are blogging again. I've missed you. My husband accuses me of being the eternal optimist. And that's wrong because?? There are time he tells me I'm "clueless", which I usually am! And I think God make me that way for a reason.
ps I love Starbuck. I did a crochet "starter kit" for a poncho this week for a co-worker, and the next day she brought me a gift certificate... for Starbucks! Of course I told her there wasn't any fee,then thanked her profusely.

At 11/12/2005 9:02 PM, Blogger violet had this to say ...

Some 'nevers' are a relief to say. I'm at the age where I feel perfectly comfortable saying 'I'll probably never ski, climb mountains and ford rivers on logs' - Whew!

Lately, though, I've been forcusing on the 'never agains.' This because we've just moved my mom to assisted living, which meant serious down-sizing. Going through her stuff, more than once she said, with a sigh, as she'd put another item on the 'give away' pile: "I'll probably never do xyz again..."

I wonder how many things I've also done for the last time -- I just don't know it yet!

At 11/13/2005 2:08 AM, Blogger Fishkrisser <> had this to say ...

2:00 in the morning and I'm posting on a blog online. Only for you Shannon, only for you. Firstly I think you still have some time to limber up and get into break dancing. Secondly Your blog depressed me. lol. It's making me think of all the stuff I'll never be able to do that I always dreamed of. Never's and What if's are the worst. Thanks alot! j/k...Thanks for putting things in perspective though. I guess the answer is just to be content and keep focusing on what we can do and realize God had a reason for us to have all those never's. After all doesn't it say somewhere that we should be anxious in nothing in some book somewhere? I think so anyway... :)

p.s. But I do have a question for you. How well did the Mariners do last year??? O wait nevermind they did horible because they are horible!!! Ha ha ha ha.

At 11/13/2005 3:34 AM, Blogger Sherri had this to say ...

What an inspiration and I so needed one. It's been a rough month, lots of pruning going on, specifically involving my pride, ugh, and ego, ugh ugh. I've gone over my "failures" which are failures because my pride and ego made decisions which God was not in the leading. So my never is, I'll never be perfect and that is absolutely realistic, true, and as it should be. But, I'm perfect in the eyes of my Heavenly Father, even as He prunes me for more fruit, gets rid of the dead unproductive foliage. And in this pruning I'm redirected to look at the truth, my truth, and receive all the best that my Father has for me. Rather than all the best that I have for me which is NEVER His best. Glad to see you back. You're such an inspiration.

At 11/14/2005 2:37 AM, Blogger Mary J. Yerkes had this to say ...


I've walked down that road many a time myself, "I'll never run a marathon," "I'll never go on a missions trip" (I live with Rheumatoid Arthritis),"I'll never be skinny." The list is endless! Thanks for the reminder that though we might not excel at everything, God has created us for a divine purpose, gifts and talents, when walked in, will satisfy our soul and extend His kingdom.

Thanks for the reminder.


At 11/14/2005 4:44 PM, Blogger Sojourner had this to say ...

Thank you. I have always wanted to be the best I can be for God. It is difficult when trying to find one's place, but maybe a great place to just be.

At 11/14/2005 5:08 PM, Blogger Katie_F had this to say ...

When I read your blog, I found myself thinking of the things I can't do...and like Chris, it made me depressed...but then I read your comment about the Mariners, I became happy again, and knew i had to leave a comment!
Despite their last few seasons, I am still a BIG fan. For all of you who don't like them cause they haven't had a winning season in a few years (CHRIS!!!) winning isn't everything! :P
The guys are like family to me! When their manager let Boone go...I cried! When Edgar retired, I cried! When something good (or bad) happens, I yell and scream at the tv! Just ask my sisters!


At 11/14/2005 6:05 PM, Blogger Darlene had this to say ...

I don't know if its the same Kim, but is Abba's Girl (kim) from your church? I always wondered that.

On another note: when you get on Oprah, can you spit and scratch just once, so you can say, "I did it on live T.V."? I will be watching.

At 11/14/2005 10:40 PM, Blogger Derek had this to say ...

I think the Rolling Stones said as "What a drag it is getting old." I have to look at what I have accomplished and not at the targets I've missed. Remembering those things that count rather than dwelling on the "could-have-beens".

When I was a kid a couple of my cousin's moved to Oso. I asked them where that was and Terry replied: "Oh, so far away."

At 11/16/2005 9:43 AM, Blogger shannon had this to say ...

Hi all! I'm responding from Cannon Beach, where we escaped for a quick time out. :)

Sheryl--you keep being an optimist. There's nothing better. :)

Violet, your comment made me think of a post I wrote some time back entitled "Last Straw." (I think there's a link to it on my sidebar ... I've only got 15 minutes on this computer in the coffee shop of our conference center so I can't link to it right now.) I heard someone else talk about the "last times" she had without realizing it. It broke my heart.

Fish, that is IT! I'll get you. :)

Oh, Sherri ... I know how tough that pruning is. But it always yields good fruit. I hope your month starts smoothing out. :)

Nice to see you, Mary :) Good thoughts!

Cowboy Sunsets--I think you're right. You reminded me of a poem I once painted on a rock. I can't remember the author (I think it was anonymous), but it went:

Oh gift of God, a perfect day, whereon no man shall work, but play. Whereon it is enough for me, not to be doing, but to be.

Katie! So glad to have a fellow Mariners fan here. We're going to have to make Fish pay for his comments. :)

No, Darlene, this is another Kim--not Abba's girl. :) And yes, if you can get me on Oprah, I'll scratch and spit just once.

Hi Derek! Yes, Oso is at the end of the world. Fortunately, the Oso lumberyard is not in Oso. Go figure. :)

At 12/05/2005 8:55 PM, Blogger Zing had this to say ...

Thanks for reminding me that I need to be content with all that God has given to me and not to try and be something I'm not. Also this is one of the greatest scriptures.... my life scripture and sometimes I forget.. "whatever I do.... I need to be doing it for GOD... not man ".... Have a great day. God Bless, Linda


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