Tag Archives: joy

Dick Van Dyke: Fun, Fun, Fun at 89

Dick Van Dyke could always dance. That pratfall he took in the opening of†The Dick Van Dyke Show was very much an example of his ability to control his body. At age 89, he can still cut a rug far more gracefully than I have ever done. He’s featured in a recent music video by a bluegrass band, Dust Bowl Revival.

Mary Poppins†is one of my favorite movies of all time. Despite Dick Van Dyke’s horrible attempt at a cockney accent, I enjoy him in that picture. He always seemed like a decent guy. As it turns out, he was, for the most part, a decent guy. He famously told his agent that he wanted to make movies that he could watch with his kids and not feel embarrassed.

In his autobiography, he explained his reasoning:

I wanted to be able to talk about my work at the dinner table and hold my head up on Sundays when my wife and I led our children into the Brentwood Presbyterian Church, where I was an elder. You were not going to see me acting up at Hollywood parties. For the most part, you werenít going to see me†at any Hollywood parties. I stayed home.

Unfortunately, this decent guy is not still with that wife or that church, but the joy for life is still apparent in his face. (Does that have something to do with being married to a woman 45 years his junior? Not sure.)

I’d love to have that sort of energy and mobility when I’m 89. Frankly, there are some days when I envy him those things when I’m almost 40 years younger.

Running Lazy

I’m scheduled to run 8 to 10 miles today, letting how I feel about my legs and lungs determine the distance. The Rock the Parkway half marathon is a week away, and I’m tapering toward the start. My goal for the next seven days is simple: don’t get hurt. On the eighth day, the goal is to finish the race in less than two hours.


As good as I’m feeling about my preparations for this race, as confident as I am that I can meet the goal I’ve set for myself, I’m also somewhat concerned about my attitude toward the activity. Is it possible that I’m running in laziness? I know that sounds bizarre, but I’ve been thinking along those lines recently, and another writing by Paul Maxwell has really brought the idea to the fore.

Maxwell argues that laziness is not exactly what it seems to be but is largely a spiritual condition. In his mind, the workaholic, the guy who won’t roll out of bed before noon, and the obsessed runner might all be suffering from a very similar affliction, although only one of them seems to be lazy.

You have your little idol, right? Maybe it is called Pinterest or Tumblr; perhaps it is golf or tennis. It could be reading or music, cooking or TV, antiquing or housework. Anything that we do without a clear vision of it within the Kingdom of God, anything that puts us in control, shares qualities with my son who is not out of bed at 11:02am on a Saturday. Maxwell shares a list of these things and then comments.

They are our easy-bake mud puddle gods ó simply sit, add water, and worship. What gets you out of bed (or off the couch)? To withdraw, to procrastinate, to stumble through a blurry haze of work days just waiting for the next opportunity to get back on the couch, back to the workshop, back on Netflix, or back to the gym, that isnít life ó and none of us is honestly or passionately arguing that it really is.

And so my question for myself is running. Do I run to put myself in charge? Is the pleasure that I derive from this activity a substitute for the joy I should be experiencing in God? It is, of course, possible to have both, but it’s also possible to foul up that joy with any of the lesser pleasures.

I can experience God in eating or I can eat to cover up the absence of God. I can actually indulge in worship activities that cover up the lack of true worship in my life. And, to the point at hand, I can run away from the lack of God in my life or run in ways that celebrate His presence.

This much I know to be true. What’s not so obvious is how to do the latter.