Saturday, May 02, 2015

Old Habit Creep (Peter Black)

Participation was lively and courteous. Opinions varied, thoughts concurred and sometimes diverged, and reflections and impressions bore similarities, as the members discussed the merits and demerits of the book under review.
My wife and I made one of those infrequent, quick in-and-out visits to our old stomping ground last week. Our stop was a rural community in Southwestern Ontario, where librarian Mary-Jo welcomed us warmly and had coffee and refreshments ready to perk us up after our straight-through drive. I was to chat about and present “Raise Your Gaze . . . Mindful Musings of a Grateful Heart,” a copy of which would be entered into the Lambton County Library system.
We set up a table with information and copies of the book, and a sample of our first book (“Parables from the Pond”), and also TWG (The Word Guild) bookmarks, including some from writer friends. Meanwhile, book club members engaged in the discussion mentioned above. Once we’d completed set up May and I sat, sipped our coffees and enjoyed listening in.
Have you ever attended a book club? Consider the benefits of such small-group experiences: social interaction and friendship, intellectual stimulation, broadening of perspective, and personal growth and enrichment.
I’m not a book club member; however, I do participate in a fledgling writers' circle that meets in our public library and I also engage in group Bible study and fellowship events.
Back to last week’s library presentation. Oh, my—I don’t recall ever being as unfocused and disjointed in previous book presentations, as I was then. Perhaps you’ve experienced something similar.

You knew what you wanted to say and you’d made similar presentations before, yet this time when you got started . . . Well, your mental marbles played games and led you down all kinds of rabbit trails (how’s that for mixing metaphors!). 

Decades of practice had helped me order my thoughts, especially for public speaking, during my pastoral years. Similarly, to a large extent I overcame the tendency to ‘rush speak,’ but it went out of the window on that occasion. Still, the audience was gracious and will hopefully recover from the experience.  (Of course, perhaps they didn’t mind it at all; we can be our own worst critic.)
Ah, but that’s only one of several traits from my youthful years creeping in of late. This realization reminds me of the need to exercise vigilance throughout our lives in order to recognize ‘old habit creep’ so that those tendencies can be overcome—yet again.
But why share such potentially embarrassing incidents with you? Progress. Many of us in life want to progress in character and skill, and we also aspire to accomplish goals; that involves process.
However, I’ve observed that during the process of growing and maturing we might sometimes regress and begin to lose ground? And so, I share these foibles of mine with you. Why? Well, just maybe you’ll recognize a foible or two of your own and be encouraged to take steps to regain lost ground, too. And remember, “Confession is good for the soul.”
Ground may be gained, lost and recovered­—not only in our natural life, regarding human skills and abilities, but also in matters of the spirit. “The Shepherd Psalm”— Psalm 23 says:
“He [the Lord, my Shepherd] makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake”
(Psalm 23:2-3 NIV; emphasis added). 
Finally, I raise my glass and propose a toast to Mary-Jo and her valiant, gracious book club crew for their generosity. Our brief time together helped raise my gaze to see my need more clearly and in humility to do something about it.

Peter's second book is a compilation of inspirational articles on a variety of themes from his weekly column. These are interspersed with brief expressions intended to encourage. Ebook edition is now available through Amazon.
ISBN: 978-0-9920074-2-3 (Angel Hope Publishing)

 Peter's first book: “Parables from the Pond” – a children's / family book (mildly educational, inspirational in orientation, character reinforcing). Finalist – Word Alive Press. ISBN: 1897373-21-X. The book has found a place in various settings with a readership ranging from kids to senior adults.

Black's inspirational column, P-Pep! appears weekly in The Guide-Advocate (of Southwestern Ontario). His articles have appeared in 50 Plus Contact and testimony, and several newspapers in Ontario.


Susan Harris said...

Iron sharpens iron, Peter. A different writing style but it works. Have a blessed weekend.

Peter Black said...

Thanks Susan, I did (have a blessed weekend). You have a great week! :) ~~+~~

Popular Posts