Top Five Life Lessons #4

Top-Fivelife lessons are different than simple truth.

i’m not sure how or why.  they just are.

i think it’s because simple truth is just stated…and then accepted or rejected.  life lessons are learned.  they are lived out and proved true by experience.  they are no less “true”,  it’s just how they come to be captured.  take lesson #4…

number four:  “fun is not what you’re doing, but who you’re with”.  

i can’t prove it, but i’m pretty sure adam and eve must have laughed.  at something.  ditto moses.   king solomon said there is a time to laugh and a time to weep.  surely there had to be some joking around the campfire with jesus.  boys will be boys, you know.

but there is no doubt life is different now.  especially for those of us who live first world lives.  freedom, wealth, technology, education, and opportunity have provided us with a way of life where fun and entertainment and comfort are treasured values.

for as long as i can remember, kids have asked the question, “is it going to be fun?”   kids learn to whine from the time they talk, “but i’m not having any fun…”   somewhere along the line, usually very early,  kids come to expect things to be fun as their inalienable right.

they also come to learn that certain things are fun…and others are not.  fun is all about what you’re doing.  this activity and that destination and this event and that experience are deemed either fun or not fun based solely on our response to them…whether we like them and whether they produce the necessary amount of personal pleasure to warrant our approval.

in my early adulthood, i was taught a new way to think.  i was challenged to redirect my expectations.  stop depending on the event to produce pleasure… and find it in sharing the experience with people.   i changed my question from, “will it be fun?” to “who’s coming with us?”

it has made all the difference in the world to me.

i am so grateful to have learned how to “find” fun in unpleasant and uncomfortable circumstances.

  • broken down on the side of the road with a bus load of kids in the middle of summer.
  • freezing around a small campfire in the middle of the wilderness.
  • sleepless nights in a tent.
  • mixing cement all day in a wheelbarrow with a shovel.
  • riding five hours in the back of a flatbed truck to do a bible lesson in the philippine jungle.
  • tearing off flood damaged and moldy drywall for hours in sweltering heat and humidity.
  • hiking up countless switchbacks at 12,000ft with a 45 pound backpack…and blisters.
  • re-roofing a barn in southern missouri…in july…with middle school kids.
  • driving through the night to get home after a week-long mission trip in arizona.
  • …and i’m just getting started!

trust me.  there was nothing fun or pleasurable about those events.  but each event was spent with people i loved and the time we spent together was priceless.  full of forever memories and laughter and joy beyond words.   if my body would cooperate,  i would go back and do each one again and again…no matter how painful or difficult or demanding or uncomfortable any of them were.

because we did them together.  we shared moments together.  we accomplished things together.  we carried each other and helped each other and challenged each other.  we were better together than we ever could have been alone.

when god said in the beginning, “it is not good for man to be alone”,  i don’t think he was talking about sex.  i don’t really even think he was talking about marriage.

i think he was talking about the way he designed humans to function.  together.

and when we grasp that truth, anything can become “fun”.


4 thoughts on “Top Five Life Lessons #4

  1. Tami, this is Mike’s blog – look down at his list below – I think we were at the first 4 listed. Those were life changing times – loved them.

    Love, Mom

  2. Mike, I just discovered your blog = How “fun” – I think I was at the first 4 things listed below and yes they were “FUN” and life changing. I’ll never forget those wonderful years of youth ministry. Say Hi to Wanda. I miss you guys.

    Love, Mary Herrington (Hapgood).

  3. I remember at least 4 of these experiences with you….the coldest I have ever been in my life was with you and a group of kids backpacking in the Sierras….thanks for the fun.

  4. Clearly I don’t give you enough credit for all the things I have learned from you and for all the “fun” I had working as a youth leader under you. I quote you on the “Fun isn’t what you are doing…” all the time!

    I was with you on that roof in southern MO and you really stretched my comfort zone putting me in charge of the project, but I now count it as one of the instrumental moments that led me to my dream job as a Volunteer Coordinator leading groups on work projects. And you know… it may have been July and probably was sweltering, but my only memories are of how much I loved being there with those kids (and Melissa, or Mo as I called her then!).

    It is amazing the opportunities we have each and every day to make a difference in the lives of those around us. What an awesome responsibility and privilege to be able to connect with others. And what a great honor when others take the time to connect with us on a genuine level.

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