I gazed at the heroine on the tv; armed with a Civil War musket, the young blond burst from a nurse’s tent and onto the battlefield. She wore a white bonnet, heeled black boots, a plaid dress, and a white apron marked with a red cross. After two strides it was clear her enormous dress a hoop skirt bottom. Jumping over obstacles and bodies, her hoop flew up, threatening to topple the girl in a Hula-hoop battlefield massacre. Talk about battle dress uniform.

This fictional heroine seized an opportunity to arm herself, run toward the field, and shoot down an enemy officer in revenge for the deaths of her husband and sons. The officer fell dead off his horse and she returned to her post. In every other moment surrounding this, she was simply caring for her family and the soldiers, attending to daily duties in terrible conditions. This one tiny act later earned her battlefield acclaim despite the years of doing the miniscule- all while wearing and totally oversized hoop skirt.

Now, because I am nothing if not serious and contemplative, my first thought at seeing this woman’s battlefield sprint was, “Talk about jumping through hoops.”

Isn’t that how life is? We have those glorious moments of personal victories or those moments where we realize we are small but influential players in a bigger, meaningful picture.  I find my ‘shoot down the enemy’ moments are  crammed into the days of running around, avoiding obstacles, hoping that my dress won’t be raised up to show the world my underoos in the process. (Not a word, Sherry. That was ONE TIME and my skirt got caught on my id tag.)

While I’m grateful hoop skirts are a fashion trend of the past, there were some reasons for wearing a hoop skirt. It flatters all hip and thigh sizes, makes the waist appear small, deters toddlers from using legs as jungle-gyms equipment, and keeps the material from dragging or wrapping around legs when the time comes to hustle the bustle. While convenience of current attire may beat out these qualities, the ability to maneuver through hoops is still valuable for both genders.

In fact, every football 2-a-days training I’ve witnessed brings lines of young men out to run/hop in and out of tires at top speed. The drill is for speed and agility.  Likewise, getting through life’s obstacles and jumping in and out of the hoops produces great agility as well.   It trains us in patience. It helps us to remember that the clerks are human beings worthy of respect and gracious treatment- even when they are unprofessional and unhelpful. It helps us read the plays and be ready for life’s audible calls. Whether in skirts or athletics, jumping through the hoops keep us moving and aware of our surroundings.  They also wear us out, complicate easy tasks, and increase the risks of pulling a muscle.

Today has been a day of total hoopla. My to-do list wasn’t so bad: 1) OB appointment 2) 11:00 Home inspection 3) FedEx and shopping for VBS items. Unfortunately, these simple and direct tasks had be running full-tilt and avoiding land mines.

1)      OB appointment:  Find sitter, drive 15 extra minutes for gate closure, arrive to a second gate closure due to a major accident, discover medical records have been lost, realize lab work can’t be completed because the appointment has already taken 2 hours, make copies of ‘lost’ medical records for future, enlist 5 secretaries to be assigned to the correct doctor. Leave needing to schedule 2 more appointments and lab work.

2)      11:00 Home inspection: Arrive home too late to see the home inspector. Discover a Mom-Medal on the counter: a pink post it that read, “You keep a very clean house!”  Victory!  Called to make a repair request I couldn’t make in person.

3)      Fed-Ex and VBS shopping:  Desperately order a drive-thru cheeseburger and wait 15 extra minutes as they remake the cheeseburger with cheese, despite my total lack of concern.  I could all but hear the clerk say, “I’ve got a complicated order.”  Run to the FedEx store at 1:00 to discover a “Will Return at 3:30” sign. Find only 4 of 26 needed VBS items at the store. Locate missing sippy cup with the front tire of my car. (Note to self:  Add sippy cup to VBS purchase list.)

Now forgive me; I know I am preaching to the choir. I am fully aware that some of our spouses’ to do list item “secure the area” turns into an all-day operation due to broken vehicles or fire fights. Other dear friends are battling illnesses that make it hard to get out of bed.  In the grand scheme of things, Monday difficulties are just hoopla.

I am sure that many of you are having some Monday moments today. Way to build up agility, stamina, and flexibility, Warriors. Perhaps it is not coincidence that the Olympic games – the international competitions for physical strength, grace, and endurance- are symbolized by a set of rings. It sure looks like a series of hoops to me. In the middle of running and jumping through today’s hoops, may you have some major victories.  Just don’t shoot anyone down off a horse; that can get you arrested.


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