I’m on my way out of town for a bit of vacation, so the next few posts will draw from previous material… This is one of those.
Yesterday’s post was categorized “parenting parkour.” What exactly is that?
- Parkour is a physical discipline inspired by human movement. It focuses on uninterrupted, efficient forward motion over, under, around and through obstacles (both human-made and natural) in one’s environment. Such movement may involve running, jumping, climbing and more complex techniques. The goal of parkour is to adapt one’s movement to any given obstacle in one’s path… Sebastien Foucan, a free runner who trained with David Belle during the infancy of the art, speaks of being “fluid like water.”
I have been taken with this idea of life as parkour for quite some time. I even preached a sermon on the topic in which I also addressed the age-old question: WAS Jesus the master multitasker? I say yes.
For me, parkour has been a powerful spiritual metaphor. We move through our days as best we can, with grace and speed, as various obstacles and unexpected circumstances arise. Through it all we improvise, we keep our eyes open, we aspire to that state of flow in which there is no separation between our intentions and our actions and it all just works. Whether I’m parenting or pastoring or some other thing, man, I live for those times.
Several years ago, when Margaret was just a wee toddler, I wrote this poem (?) that I think describes what I’m talking about. I read this now, so many years later, and it feels frenetic and crazy, but I remember it as a pretty good day, a day in which I was in “flow.”
Wednesday: Parental Parkour
Spring from bed at 7 a.m. at the urging of Margaret.
Environment: Notice unusual sheet of bluish-white light on staircase; look outside.
Put cup of milk in microwave; hit 30 seconds.
Dash downstairs to basement computer to check website.
Schools are closed.
Bound up the stairs, two at a time.
Grab milk. Up one more flight of stairs. Burst into M’s room.
Rock baby, kiss forehead. Check eyes for goop. Still watery.
Reach for phone; day-care provider. She’s open, but is M contagious?
Call advice nurse. Not available until 9:45.
Obstacle: M can go to daycare if her eyes aren’t contagious. Wait two more hours and call, or go to walk-in clinic?
Throw on clothes; rummage for granola bars, hop into car.
Weave slowly around icy patches in road. (Not all parkour is at breakneck speed.)
Walk in clinic, sign in, pay.
Tear off pieces of granola bar, feed to baby, unzip fleece.
Listen. Look. Grab prescription. Cell phone rings. Offer to call back.
Pile into car. Call day care. Pull into pharmacy. Turn in scrip.
Obstacle: bored kid.
Empty contents of purse. Strap child in cart. Zoom around drug store.
Pay. Leave. Drive. Stop.
Measure one teaspoon, kiss, leave.
Obstacle: low on gas.
Pull into gas station; return phone call. Pay. Leave. Fluid like water.
Finish phone call. Shower. Dress.
Obstacle: large meeting looms. Gotta get past it.
Jump right over it. Cancel; send report.
And on it goes. Fluid like water.
Just exactly like that YouTube, eh? Just without the techno music.