Homer’s Rhythm

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(Lose the Net by Rasmus Faber Courtesy of Epidemic Music)

Isn’t it just amazing how good questions lead us so naturally to good answers, and that beautiful questions lead to even better answers! When we open ourselves to the things we don’t know, we’ve opened the doors to discovery and wonder and greater understanding.

I’m Scott Lennox and you’re listening to The Beautiful Question, a consideration of things that matter every day.

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We push through our minutes and our days, barely coming up for air. As a result, we eventually pay the price for it in a variety of ways.

Join me this week as I introduce you to Homer Northam, one of the most remarkable teachers I ever had. He was a man knew how to set his own rhythm and stay with it.

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Hay Barn (graphite on paper) by Scott Lennox


Decades ago, I spent the summer as a student pastor, serving a church in Nashville, Arkansas. Because I was young and had so much to learn, I can honestly say those families served me at least as much as I served them.

One day, I got a call from Jim, the son of our church’s leading elder, Homer Northam. Jim explained that a set of heavy storms was on its way and was predicted to hang over the area for several days. He said his father’s pastures would become unworkable and asked if I would be willing to work with them the next day to clear the fields and get the hay put up.

I eagerly agreed. After all, I had hauled hay before, right?

We met the next morning before sunrise in Homer’s kitchen. Over a quick cup of coffee, Homer explained how we would tackle the task before us. As soon as it was light enough to see, we headed out to the fields, working our way, one behind the other, through the large pastures. Jim operated the cutter. I followed him, bringing the cuttings into rows as I pulled the rake behind a tractor. And Homer ran the bailer, scooping up the rows and forming them into bales.

After working straight through, we took a short break and then worked together to haul the hay out of the fields. As Homer drove the truck, Jim stood on the bed of the long trailer, carefully stacking the bales as I pitched them up to him. Late in the afternoon, as we picked up the last few bales, thunder rumbled and the sky darkened ominously.

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As the first heavy drops of rain began to fall, we backed the trailer through the wide barn doors and began the process of neatly stacking the hay into the loft. Jim and Homer stood on the trailer, pitching the bales up to me, and I tried to keep up, but having worked so hard, fatigue had gotten the best of me. At one point, Homer knocked me over with one of the bales.

After I picked myself up and dusted off my pride, I had to confess that I was at a bit of a loss. I didn’t have to mention that he was seventy and I was in my twenties. He just laughed. “You burned your fire out this mornin’,” he said. “Ol’ Homer’s got ‘im a rhythm.”

Over time, especially now that I’m in my mid-seventies, I’ve come to deeply respect “Ol’ Homer’s” rhythm.

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Nearly twenty years after that memorable summer, I was once again in Arkansas. This time, as an advisor with the outdoor club from a private school in Fort Worth. We’d been hiking and camping along Caney Creek and stopped at a catfish restaurant on our way back to Texas. As I paid for my lunch, beside the register, Homer Northam’s picture was smiling out at me from the cover of the “Arkansas Traveler” magazine. His knowing smile and the wisdom and kindness in his eyes were unmistakable. The story about him on the inside reported that he was in his late nineties and still going strong.

His steady rhythm was obviously still serving him well.

I still remember his hay bale knocking me onto my backside in the loft. I still hear the calm in his voice and his guidance to set a pace and a rhythm and stay with them. I still remember the wise things he shared with me—things that changed my life.

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Life can seem so demanding at times, yet I wonder, what might we change to set a sustainable pace that allows us to enjoy the journey as we go. What would that rhythm look like? This week’s Beautiful Questions are crafted to help us discover exactly that.

Question One: What would your life be like if you weren’t constantly rushing through it?

Question Two: What things might you do to remind yourself to slow down a bit and set a workable pace and a rhythm you can sustain over time?

Question Three: What will you do with the extra energy you generate as, like Homer Northam, you relax into your own natural rhythm?

As you discover your answers to these questions and others that arise with them, write and tell me about it.

As I say each week,
My Light with Your Light

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I’m happy we can engage this way as we consider things that matter and what to do about them. If nothing else, I hope you feel inspired to look more deeply at ways of caring for yourself.

You can be further inspired by visiting my friends at Kosmos Journal. That’s K O S M O S Journal. Their mission is to inform, inspire, and engage global transformation in harmony with all life. You can easily find them online at Kosmos Journal dot O R G.

And at thebeautifulquestion.com, you can read the illustrated transcript of each podcast as you listen. We’ve also included an archive of all previous podcasts, including guided relaxation audios that can help you practice letting go on a daily basis.

If you find these podcasts useful, I encourage you to share them and tell others about them. That’s a great way of helping me get a voice of calm and collaboration and balance and encouragement out into the world. It’s a great way of spreading peace.

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I’m Scott Lennox, and this has been The Beautiful Question.

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The Beautiful Question is a One Light production, written, produced, and engineered by Scott Lennox at HeartRock Studios in Fort Worth, Texas, as a way of paying forward to life, being fully present, becoming better engaged with things that truly matter in a complex world, and committing to a healthier future for all of us.

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