It seems like Twenty was just five years ago. (And our actual anniversary is the 19th, but we were traveling.)
Since then the Lord has given both of us many more pains and many many more blessings, including a son-in-law and two grandsons. We’ve been given grace to get through the global insanity of lockdowns and too many physical hurts/breakdowns to list. We’ve also been given grace to keep learning, and grace that has kept increasing our love for each other. I have no greater earthly gift from the Lord than Mo.
We found out yesterday via ultrasound that Maggie and Calvin are having a little sister in October. Of course we’re excited about having another girl in the house, though I can’t claim to share Mo’s enthusiasm regarding its effect on cloth diaper coloring.
I’ve taught a Latin class (or two) for a decade at ECS. A few years ago we started using the “Lingua Latina” curriculum for our high school students. Caput VIII is about a run-away servant who takes his girlfriend to shop for jewelry in Rome. It’s not really that dramatic, but I like to play it up.
When we read through the story (and we just got to Caput VIII again this week in class, which is part of the reason I’m posting this now, even though there are a lot of other important things happening in terra) I take the opportunity to upgrade the imagery a bit. Medus is looking to buy some bling for his baby-lady. But the first time I read it this way one of the students raised her hand and said, “Mr. Higgins, it’s not really called bling anymore. It’s drip.”
Turns out, I had a lot to learn. It can be just a synonym for bling, along with swag, you know, when you’re bougie. More precisely, when your bling has a lot of diamonds, that’s ice. And when your ice is really hot, well, you can see where this is going, right? You get drip.
So I’ve been celebrating the drip ever since, and have shared with my classes that it would be so cool to get some Latin drip. Last year, for Teacher Appreciation Week, some of my students made me my very own. (You can see the original thread here.)
The gold chain is heavy, but not gold. The (covered cardboard) medallion has “Latin Drip” on one side, and “QUID?” on the other side. Quid? means “What?” and it’s how I like to imagine first-century Gs greeting each other: “Quid, quid?”
It should be noted that my students gave me more than a linea. Caput XV famously (at least in my classes) refers to the tergum. It’s a part of the body that isn’t necessarily translated, but it can be identified. It’s the part where a kid might get a spanking. It’s the lower than the lower back part. Anyway, one day I mentioned how cool it might be to get some J.Lo like sweats with “tergum” written across the tergum. My students hot-glue-gunned some strategic sequins for me.
A few more follow-ups.
First, I may or may not still have the sweats. But I look at the DRIP every day while sitting at the desk in my home study. It hangs in front of me and reminds me that DRIP is not just style, it’s a way of life. (For the curious, here’s an explanation of the bearded mermaid.)
Second, after my previous school coffee cup broke, one of my students updated my title:
And finally, my “gift” for being part of my daughter’s wedding last summer was a DRIP tie clip. Actually, it’s a hair barrette, but I used it as a tie clip. I probably got to tell the story a couple dozen times during the reception, and I regularly rotate it in as one of my Twitter header pics.
The following paragraph is just the bees knees. The entire article is edifying, and it includes the newest phrase I’ve added to my commonplace book. But it’s like this particular quote smacked me in the head and left me rolling in the aisle laughing out loud.
“The only exception that I have ever run into—from a high-profile evangelical Bible teacher, that is, the kind with something to lose—is John MacArthur. I just finished his recent book Slave, which was very good. And as I listened to it, it almost induced me to abandon my dearly-held cessationism. There he was, out in public, being honest with the slavery texts. It was a miracle.”
I grew up with my dad listening to Country music most of the hours he was awake. He always played it in the car, he always played it while he worked, and he worked at home in a room that had no door.
It turns out that my third oldest kid loves the genre. When she was a baby, sometimes the only thing that could consistently get her to stop crying was playing Country for her. Even now she prefers our local Classic Country station.
The song, and the situation, might make your cheeks a little wet. But if you can watch it a couple times, you might be impressed with how Patty Loveless watches the lead and supports the lead and is strong for the lead. She never steals the stage from Vince Gill, while also standing right there with him. It’s a good showing, and perhaps a great illustration.
It was early in December, probably a decade ago. The invites to seasonal parties and get-togethers and functions seemed to be popping up faster than bubbles in sparkling wassail. It is a busy time for a lot of people, Christians seem to plan even more festivities (and they do have good reason), and the expectation is that a pastor will make an appearance at all of them. I was mentioning this calendar burden to my family around the dinner table one evening, and, as I recall, my attitude about it all was, mmm…, less enthusiastic.
My wife made a comment to me that not only was and is true, it has proven itself very helpful. She said, “Look, Sean, you are not the captain of the ship, you are like the mermaid on the front of it. Your job is to be out front and get wet first.”
Because our church believes and really tries to practice the plurality of elders/pastors, I am not The Pastor, I am a pastor. It turns out that much of my role involves being in front and opening my mouth. But this is not an indicator of importance, it is my assignment. Referring to the position as the mermaid position serves well to poke at the preciousness and pretentiousness of so many pastors, myself included.
I’m sure that some seminary professor somewhere would disapprove of the analogy. I mean, it’s not biblical. Another pastor might argue that it makes light of a high calling; certainly it is a critical responsibility for which we will give account to God. And yet, maybe some of us would be a greater blessing to the “ship” if we took ourselves a little less seriously and earnestly looked to the Chief Shepherd, the Head of the Body, as the actual Captain.
Anyway, I’ve been using the imagery since then. A couple summers ago my in-laws commissioned one of our favorite local artists to paint a pic of me as mermaid. There’s a number of details that make it fun, such me holding a battering ram (which we talk about for sake of our Sunday morning assembly of worship), and a couple raggants, which is the mascot of our school. We’ve yet to find the perfect spot to hang it in our house, but now you know the story when you come and visit.
My wife’s podcast is almost a year old. The most recent episode happens to include some special guests, namely, the husbands of both hosts. It’s actually my first time being interviewed on a podcast, and the conversation covers quite a lot of topics. Head over to the episode here.
My dad had a six-bypass surgery when he was 47. He struggled on for another thirteen years of life, but struggled is the key word.
I turned 47 in June. It’s been on my mind all year.
In a sermon about medicine just a couple days after my birthday, I had a long paragraph about some of my physical problems. I won’t repeat it all here, but to sum up, I have been more weak than strong, and not always as edifying about it as Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:10.
For 2021 I didn’t make any resolutions, but I did choose a theme, which is FIT. It has two or three applications, but the first is, as you should certainly expect if you’ve read this far, related to my body.
I mostly bring it up, not necessarily for seeking public accountability, but because I just read an entire section about qualifications for preachers regarding their health. The book is, The Joy of Preaching, written by Phillips Brooks.
“[E]verything that you do for your body is not merely an economy of your organs that they may be fit for certain works; it is part of that total self-consecration which cannot be divided, and which all together makes you the medium through which God may reach His children’s lives.”
If God gives illness and pains and weaknesses and afflictions, then we know He has His reasons. He uses affliction to teach us His statutes (Psalm 119:71), and He afflicts some, especially ministers, that He might also comfort them so that they can share that comfort with others (2 Corinthians 1:3-6). By His grace I have learned, and by His grace I have been a medium of comfort. Also by His grace, I’m still thinking about what I can do on my end to be less of a “sick minister [who] is always hampered and restrained” (Brooks, 48).
I started reading a book called Four Thousand Weeks yesterday. I am the sort of sucker who bought it shortly after seeing someone else mention it, because I am the sort of sucker who regularly (and wrongly) thinks that I could get more D.U.N. if I just had a more optimized system, the right app stack, a cleverer acronym, or was just a different person altogether, ha!
Anyway, I’m still in the introduction, and I don’t know where the book will end up; is it even possible to agree with anyone completely? But Burkeman has already encouraged me with this:
The world is bursting with wonder, and yet it’s the rare productivity guru who seems to have considered the possibility that the ultimate point of all our frenetic doing might be to experience more of that wonder.
—Burkeman, Four Thousand Weeks, Location 55, emphasis added
It reminds me of this inspired life-buoy from Solomon:
There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God.
It’s enjoying the process. It’s seeing the wonder of God’s many gifts. And it’s what the “man of God” called wisdom:
So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.
As the title of Burkeman’s book signals, a life of 80 years (a number Moses figured for those with strength, Psalm 90:10) is about four thousand weeks. Not only is that calculation not morbid, it’s an opportunity for both mighty work and whacking gratitude (Ecclesiastes 9:10).
Our kids have been swimming for the Mighty Marlins Swim Club for years. Mo has been an assistant coach for many of those years. We’re a swimming family, well, except for me. I’m more of a drowner. And the voice of reason.
Anyway, our pool, along with everything else, has been closed for coronavirus. The head coach of the team who is full of energy has been running dry-land workouts via Zoom, and in some ways, has gotten to see our kids more. Dry-land workouts also mean that their mouths are out of the water more.
So Coach Kirby wrote and produced and recorded and shared this song about the Higgins family: Better Off Muted!