Grinch-Heart Remains at -1 Station

I was hoping the last few shopping days before Christmas would actually bring me to zero, but there were some negatives yesterday–notably the traffic around my church. My co-worker John actually had to spend 30 minutes to get back to church from his lunch at Wendy’s. Folks, this amounts to about 3 miles…and, if you live in the FlowerPlex, I can’t imagine this needs much explanation.

Another negative was that I saw a sign on an area restaurant that says they’ll be open on 5PM Christmas Day. Now, it’s a good restaurant, and I have learned that my own kids are looking for something to do after the gifts are opened, the meal is eaten, the phone calls to family in other states are made (we’re staying put this year so it’s just us in the McKinney Dome), and a nap has occurred. So, they’re bored by 4PM or so and usually calling friends to try to get-together & hang at a friend’s house anyway. But the only thing that should be open on Christmas Day is the corner convenience store, the drug store, and the movie theater that night. That said, we’ll probably go out.

The positives were the “vibe” of the area outdoor mall. Lots of teenagers ruling the roost and loitering, which I actually like and enjoy the energy level (an occupational hazard). Running into lots of friends at that same outdoor mall who were getting out of the house with their spouses & children…who were amped about Santa and possibility and going to see the latest G-rated movie release. This made me appreciate that the FlowerPlex can have a small-town feel to it on occasion…sorta like high-school football games.

Another positive is that lots of former students make it a priority to re-connect with me when they’re back in town from their semesters out and about. A particularly endearing tribe called to set up dinner and we had cheese fries loaded from an area establishment noted for cheese fries loaded…and a lot of conversation about the Trinity, the nature of spiritual gifts and some end-times theology. It’s so exciting to see my students making their faith their own, man. And these were doing that very thing. Not a bad way to spend an hour and a half.

The 70 degree weather we experienced would normally lower the Grinch-heart scale, but yesterday it was countered by my wife’s updates from Portland, where she’s taking photos for a dear friend’s wedding. It was snowy and we had conversations about whether or not she could even get back from Portland on Sunday if it continues to snow as much as they think.

So, all that balanced out to keep me from moving up or down the scale…but it’s coming. I can feel it. Today might be the day…