First Things First Vol. 1 - Back to reality

Hi, Gretchen O'Donnell here. Just a short note of explanation before I dive into the real writing!

Many of you have mentioned my newspaper column, The Disheveled Theologian, which ran in our local paper for about five years. Well, I am excited to bring you now the next version of The Disheveled Theologian, which I'm calling First Things First. Sure, that's a play on words being here at First United Methodist Church but I also like the name because I'll write about the things that I put first in my life. Family sometimes, church sometimes, Jesus always. Priorities.

First things first.

I hope to meet you here weekly, though sometimes it may be less often than that. Thanks for stopping by!

Ok, now on to the real writing!

Vacation is a funny thing, isn't it? You leave on holiday to get away from your usual day to day activities - from work and responsibilities, and mowing the lawn. You climb behind the wheel of your car or buckle yourself into your airplane seat, and you take off to another reality for a few days. A reality where the toast never gets burnt and the junk mail doesn't annoy.

Driving away from home can bring, of course, a small worry in the back of your mind, that everything will fall apart while you're away. Did I unplug the iron? Did I stop the mail?  Is that head of lettuce that we didn't get around to eating going to turn into a pile of mush in the refrigerator and ooze its green juices onto the floor and will the cats step in it and leave green slime trails all over the off-white carpet and why did we buy off-white when brown would have been so much better at hiding green lettuce stains?

Not that I speak from personal experience, or anything.

We got back from vacation less than a week ago and already I am tired from the unpacking and jetlag and laziness of sleeping in and I need a staycation to get over my vacation. But no such luck. Instead school awaits for our youngest kiddo, and work awaits -- which, don't get me wrong, is highly motivating -- and meetings await my attendance and wisdom (ha) and despite the fact that I'm tired and need to go to bed early every night as if I'm a grouchy seven year old, I like it all because this is real life.

Real life is about responsibilities. And that's okay. It's good to care for our families, our homes and lawns. In fact, without responsibilities and jobs we wouldn't have the sense of satisfaction that those things bring. It's good to work. And it's good to play. A time for every purpose under heaven, right?

Vacations are nice. Needful. Beautiful in many ways...but real life is, well, reality. Real life sustains us. It motivates and moves us forward. And as wonderful as it is to get away, it is even more wonderful to get back. Home sweet messy home. Where I cook and sometimes clean, I laugh and sometimes cry, I grow and sometimes regress but in it all I live.

"If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord." Romans 14:8 NIV

Let's live...and yes, when it comes our time, let's die, unto the Lord. When we live with Him as our purpose, then all the cooking and cleaning and working and driving and meetings and appointments and vacations and real-life-day-to-day-realities are worth it.



Nancy Galland - September 2nd, 2022 at 9:25pm

Thanks for the blog I’m surprised at how easily I found it!!!! I really enjoyed your complete honesty about life and WHO we live it for.

Gretchen - September 7th, 2022 at 8:17am

Thanks for your comment, Nancy! And I'm very glad the blog was easy to find. :-) Yep. Always trying to bring humor and honesty and God into my posts! I imagine that some weeks one or more of those things will be easier than others...!