Noticing the ‘sames’ and the ‘differents’

By Gerre Joiner | Published Wednesday, April 16, 2014

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Well, I got to the coffee shop too late to neighbor with anyone. Everyone is already gone. Phoned one friend who is doing a little farming today. Too busy to drink coffee with anybody today. So I have a little time for reflective thinking.

I am looking out the front window of a local restaurant and musing. Here are some random thoughts from my experience.

Gerre Joiner

Gerre Joiner

I am looking out at a busy U.S. 81/287 and considering the vehicles of all shapes and sizes … going somewhere … many carrying cargo from one place to another. I am seated here doing nothing.

I checked my email while seated here in the restaurant. The emails came from folks in Germany, Italy, Lubbock, Stephenville, Wichita Falls, Nashville, Paradise and a few other places. I am seated here doing nothing.

I looked at my calendar while seated here in the restaurant. I entered an October date into my calendar and made a mental note about the Lorenzo High School class reunion. I am still seated here doing nothing.

I checked in with my Facebook friends. I read about friends who are newly-pregnant, going through cancer treatment, made a wedding cake, shared a recipe, posted a funny picture, bragged on their grandchildren and related details of their travels.

I checked my telephone for missed calls. I hadn’t missed any.

On some days when things are moving slowly, I consider the things that have changed since I was born in 1948. I don’t have any way of knowing who reads this little column, but I suspect that most of you are at least as old as I am (maybe a little older) and that you can identify with me when I consider the following:

  • When I was born, almost nobody had a television set in the home.
  • We were less mobile. We traveled to Lubbock once or twice a month.
  • The schools and the churches were at the heart of the community.
  • Sundays and Wednesdays were pretty much church days.
  • We communicated by mail, but it was “snail” mail (USPS).
  • Some of us had social media connections (party lines).
  • If we received a long-distance phone call, we figured someone had died.

When I teach a piece of music, I note (and ask the choir or the student to note) the patterns in the piece. The creator of the piece puts a recurring theme together and uses it throughout the piece. He also occasionally drops in a variation of the theme. He wants the learner/performer to note the “sames” and the “differents.”

The skillful composer makes things interesting for the learner, the performer and the listener.

I believe that the Creator wants us to notice the “differents” in the progressing chapters of life. The pace is different (faster!). The content of life is different (electronic devices make it easy to expand our knowledge base).

I note that there is one very big composite “same” in my life (and yours).

It’s the people.

They are traveling faster. They’re better informed. They’re still living and dying. They’re looking to find meaning in this life. Most people wonder what things might look like after this life is over.

My most sincere hope is to be one who has a lot of friends (people!). I hope to help them (not hurt them) on their journey.

Guess I’ll go home. Can’t sit here all afternoon doing nothing!

Gerre Joiner is a semi-retired church musician and has lived in Decatur since 1999.

One Response to “Noticing the ‘sames’ and the ‘differents’”

  1. says:

    Goodness, I only wished I had some of that time on my hands. I am so busy from morning to evening, I meet myself coming and going. Maybe one day I will have time to sit and reflect on my now and my past, if I can remember it. Wednesday and Sundays are still my time for church worship and that will never change. That seems to only way I make it through my day, week and month. Have a wonderful and blessed day!

    Peggy Owens


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