24 January 2016

The parable of the running tights and the Jaws of Life

Where were these last night?
A parable is a simple story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson. Who knew I'd be living my own...

As I got up yesterday morning, I knew I'd be running around a bit in advance of the arrival of #winterstormjonas. So I threw on a pair of my running tights as a base layer and went about my day. Little did I know that a clothing decision would becoming a teaching moment.

First, a comment on #winterstormjonas. Much like the awful Jonas Brothers band, for those of  us in this part of Connecticutistan, the storm was a flash in the pan and lacking in any kind of depth or punch. As I'd implied in an earlier post, the hysteria that preceded Jonas was completely over the top and unnecessary, also much like the screaming fans of the aforementioned Jonas Brothers, but I digress. Let's get back to the parable.

As I went throughout my day, my running pants were doing exactly what they were designed to do: keeping me warm and aerodynamic, if the occasion called for it. As information, it did not. It was pretty clear by noon that the storm was going to be a bust. I should have at that point gotten out of the pants but I chose not to. They were doing their job. I was warm, all was good. What I'd forgotten is that those pants are called tights for a reason and the longer you wear them, the tighter they become. It's subtle though. You don't realize that you're essentially choking out your lower extremities the longer you wear them, especially if you are lounging around (my Saturday afternoon downfall). After a casual dinner at the house with friends, it was time to call it a night and I began the simple task of losing the running tights. After more than 12 hours in them, there was going to be nothing simple about it. There was a struggle, and I mean a struggle, between me and the pants that ended with me stumbling to the ground in our closet, and me crying out to the stunningly patient and mighty fine SML, "I need the Jaws of Life! Get me the Jaws of Life! I'm never getting out of these things!" Suffice to say, we don't have a set of Jaws of Life laying around in our vast (and by vast I mean, two) collection of power tools. What I got from my wife was the sound of her laughter. That was enough to spurn me on and, after a wrestling match with myself (trust me when I tell you that is not going to be an Olympic event anytime soon), out of the death grip of those pants. Whew!

Waking up early this morning to go shovel snow at the church, I opted NOT to wear the tights again. While I was shoveling, I got to thinking about the stupid pants and the consequences, while not bad in the grand scheme of things, of my choice to wear them all day long. It got me thinking about the choices in general and what happens as a result. We've all long been taught that for every action, there is a reaction (think the classic one of choosing to put your hand on a hot stove as a toddler). When we make a choice, there will be a consequence, whether it be good or bad. Some, like the toddler and the stove, are very obvious. Then there are the ones like the running tights. It doesn't seem like a bad choice at all. You've had good experiences with them in the past, so what could go wrong? You get comfortable and don't realize the consequence that's occurring (in my case yesterday the subtle assault on my slightly over-extended waist line by scientifically engineered fabric). Before you know it, you're in trouble and you're fighting like mad to get yourself out of a mess. You do nutty things, like demand that the Jaws of Life be delivered to you post-haste to get you out of a situation of your own making. You eventually find a way out, or a solution, and quickly vow to never make the same choice again.

The question is - will you remember the lesson you've just learned? Or how quickly will you forget it? That's one of the things that I'm most grateful for in this life is that each day brings me the chance to choose more wisely than I did the day before. It's an enormous blessing for me.

So, as always my friends, learn from my mistakes (take the running tights off before it's too late)
Choose wisely.

Freedom of choice is more to be treasured
than any possession earth can give. ~ David O. McKay

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