Nothing’s Wasted: In Defense of Sitting Down

The best thing about being a writer is that anything that happens, no matter how horrific, leads me to think, “It’ll make good material someday” or “I’ll laugh about this and write about it eventually.”

Like the time I slammed the car door on my dog’s tail, amputating it, on our way to show-and-tell in my daughter’s first-grade classroom.  Or the time I threw up on an American flag.  Or the time I told the story of throwing up on the American flag on the stage at the Kennedy Center during a game show that was part of a “Brady Bunch Live” show.  Everything’s material.

And in the same way, the experiences of our lives that seem most humiliating or awkward or painful can also be the raw material for an actual life being built and lived, not just for the telling of it.

When I was a child I attended summer camp. I started with a month at around age seven, and I progressed to seven weeks as a teenager.  I liked camp.  I liked the routine and the scheduled activities.  I liked the drama of the team competitions (as evidenced by the fact that my husband even knows the words to the Trooper fight song from Camp Skyline Ranch in Mentone, Alabama).  I liked making lanyards and leather belts.

My crooked-name belt, made in about 1969.

But on looking back at camp, both Camp Skyline Ranch and Camp Greystone in North Carolina, what I realize is that I mostly liked sitting down at camp.  Yes, I’d ride a horse.  Yes, I’d swing a racquet.  I’d even endure the dreaded swimming test.  But what I really wanted to do was any activity that involved sitting in the shade.  Rest hour was my favorite part of the day.  My chore was being a mail sorter.  I took Bible class, any form of Arts & Crafts, Cooking class (which may have required standing but not moving, at least) and — my favorite — Typing.

In fact, when other girls were winning awards for Fencing and Gymnastics, I won the award for “Fastest Typist in Camp.” I kid you not. I’m not sure that was a competitive sport nor how many competitors there were if it was, but I won.  It was one of my finest moments of sitting down at camp.  Which, as I said, I was always doing.

Probably because it was hot.  But more likely because I always prefer things that involve relationships and the mind and the soul to things that engage the body.  Not that I’m disembodied in the pursuit of the former category… but I’m not particularly athletic, nor inclined in that direction. I trip a lot.  I fall down stairs.  I don’t seem to have a neurological problem; it’s just me.  And I’m tempted at times to feel inadequate about it, to feel less awesome than those girls who have toned arms, sun-tanned legs and STAMINA.

But me?  I love to drive long distances.  I can sit all day without even shifting my weight much.  And the thing I prefer to do over anything is to write, which does (let’s face it) involve typing.

So it’s with humility and a certain sense of pleasure in just letting myself be me, instead of being embarrassed that I’m not more athletic or more something or other, that I wear my “Fastest Typist in Camp” award on my favorite charm necklace, a reminder of my nerdy ways and a reminder that nothing’s wasted.

A nerdy reminder of equipping for life.

One camper’s preference for lethargy is a grown woman’s career skill.  Nothing’s wasted.

~ by Cary on August 6, 2010.

2 Responses to “Nothing’s Wasted: In Defense of Sitting Down”

  1. This is a great post! Very entertaining and encouraging to be who I am created to be NOT who I think I should be. Thanks!

  2. […] via Nothing’s Wasted: In Defense of Sitting Down « Holy Vernacular. […]

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