learning to be routinely pleasant.

DeVon‘s memorial service is tomorrow. He was 92.

“When I get that old, I want to be that pleasant,” one of my coworkers said. Everyone around the table agreed. Everyone had a story about DeVon’s courtesy, thoughtfulness, smile, commitment. He wasn’t perfect. But he was routinely good.

Routines shape our days. They give our minds and hearts tracks to follow through the chaos of our daily life. As I said yesterday, a routine is a set of thoughts and behaviors performed consistently.

DeVon’s life invites us to consider what direction our routines take us. What made him a gracious old man?

To be gracious when we are old takes practice. Practice on the outside, and practice on the inside. It means regularly remembering we are not the center of the universe. It means regularly remembering to thank people for shaping our lives. It means regularly, routinely, remembering to ask for counsel fro God and from others. It means routinely smiling, routinely listening, routinely showing up for whatever your work is. It means routinely accepting correction, the possibility that there are other ways to do things.

As I thought about DeVon, I thought about God’s words through Micah, a prophet.

When we are thinking about how to change our lives, we often focus on big events, dramatic sacrifices. We attempt binge confessions. Instead, Micah says, look at how you live day to day:

He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.

DeVon was a pleasant old man because he practiced justice and mercy and humility. He got better at it as he worked on it.

Looking at the next year, the next week, what will loving mercy look like?

7 thoughts on “learning to be routinely pleasant.

  1. Joanna Paterson

    We like the bold gestures and yes, the binge confessions 😉 but you’re right, the shifts come from the practice we do each day. That is harder to do, but maybe also easier too.

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  2. Frank Reed

    Jon – Thank you.

    What that Micah passage says to me is to keep it simple. Concentrate on and practice the basics.

    I want that to be the theme of my life moving forward. Less words and simply do the basics better each and every day.

    Happy New Year my friend. I look forward to 2013 filled by learning with / from you.

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  3. Joseph Ruiz (@SMSJOE)

    I agree with Frank, as I was reading and reflecting I was thinking how Jesus always looks into your hearts because that is what drives our behaviors. In addition to using less words I want to be more aware of the “fruit” being produced – I have a feeling some heart work will be required.

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  4. Pingback: Worn from routine use. | 300 words a day

  5. Char Getz

    Thanks for your kind words about Dad. You captured his character beautifully. He would say, “To God be the glory!” His legacy will be a constant challenge for me to emulate.

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  6. Lynette Getz

    Jon,
    I, too, hope that as I age I will age pleasantly. It is something that I have given thought to as I come in contact with people older than myself. DeVon was my uncle, my dad’s brother, so I have observed him, my own father, another uncle (all now deceased) as well as their sister, who is still living. I think they all had the “pleasant” gene. I only hope and pray that I also inherited that gene, and that I can pass is on the the next generation. Thanks for the tribute.

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