Thursday, December 30, 2010

In defense of talking to other people

For all that we hear that diversity is a good thing, that it's better for the world that we're all a little different and each bring another flavor to the human potluck, it can be hard to accept that other people don't like or care about the things that - to you or to me - seem, well, ultimate. Why don't they "get" it?

I think this is one of the great causes of conflict in our world: We all share huge patches of common ground and may hold the same opinions about many things but we don't agree about what things actually matter.

How do you respond when you realize anew that most other people don't think and care like you do about money, politics, the environment, faith, or family?

With that as a disclaimer, I just wanted to say: I don't "get" people who don't seem to want or need relationships with other people, who don't find human beings precious and fascinating and ultimately the most interesting and valuable thing under the sun.

So, when it comes to relating to other people, I'd like to speak up on behalf of taking risks to seek out relationships. Make it your habit to try to get to know people. Go to that social event, talk to strangers, and treat the person behind the counter like a human being and not an object; see what happens. You might really blow it, I know. Or they might. They might hurt you. But you'll never find out if you limit yourself to the people you already know, and/or the fake (but safe) one-way relationships you can have with celebrities and people on TV and in other media.

Most of us fear the awkwardness of risking relationship with people who might be really different from us. But they may not be as different as you think.

I saw a kid at church wearing a T-shirt that said "awkward is awesome." Could be. Only a willingness to step out into awkwardness can make way for awesomeness. Here's my hunch: You will never experience the best that life has to offer if you don't engage with other people on this planet.

If I ever end up writing my book about listening, this will be why. I hate to see so many people missing out. Missing out on what they could get out of life; missing out on what they could give others. A few adjustments of perspective and practice could make all the difference.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2010 Book List

I read a =lot= of books during my six-month sabbatical – the rest of the year not so much. Looks like the total is 122 volumes. Here’s what I think is a complete list. Lots of good stuff, but I’ll star the ones that for whatever reason I loved the most. Want to talk books? Leave a comment or drop me a line.

See also Read in 2009 - Part 1, Nonfiction, Read in 2009 - Part 2, Fiction and 2008 Book Blogging Roundup.


Biography / Memoir
  • Following Jesus through the Eye of the Needle | Kent Annan
  • Just Like Us: The True Story of Four Mexican Girls Coming of Age in America | Helen Thorpe *
  • How Reading Changed My Life | Anna Quindlen
  • Speak What We Feel, Not What We Ought to Say | Fredrick Buechner *
  • The Dream: A Memoir | Harry Bernstein
  • D. E. Hoste, A Prince with God: Hudson Taylor's Successor as General Director of the China Inland Mission 1900-1935 | Phyllis Thompson
  • Percy Mather of Central Asia: The Making of a Pioneer | Mildred Cable and Francesca French
  • The Caliph's House, A Year in Casablanca | Tahir Shah *
  • Making Toast | Roger Rosenblatt
  • Desert Flower: The Extraordinary Life of a Desert Nomad | Waris Dirie
  • The Second Trail: Behind the Scenes of the Enemy God | Amber Castagna
  • The Reluctant Exodus | Phyllis Thompson *
  • Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith | Ann Lamott
  • Lady on the Beach | Norah Berg and Charles Samuels
  • Wisdom Chaser: Finding My Father at 14,000 Feet | Nathan Foster *
  • One Man’s Meat | E.B. White **
Personal Development
  • The Bible **
  • God Guides | Mary Geegh
  • The Overload Syndrome: Learning to Live within Your Limits | Richard Swenson
  • A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 | Phillip Keller
  • The Way of the Heart: Connecting with God through Prayer, Wisdom, and Silence | Henri Nouwen
  • The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath | Mark Buchanan **
  • The Bible Jesus Read | Philip Yancey **
  • The Vertical Self: How Biblical Faith Can Help Us Discover Who We Are in an Age of Self Obsession | Mark Sayers *
  • Knitting without Tears | Elizabeth Zimmerman
  • In Search of Balance: Keys to a Stable Life | Richard Swenson
  • Overcoming Missionary Stress | Marjory Foyle *
  • Things Unseen: Living in Light of Forever | Mark Buchanan *
  • Expectations and Burnout: Women Surviving the Great Commission | Sue Eenigenburg and Robynn Bliss *
  • Why Am I Afraid to Tell You Who I Am? Insights into Personal Growth | John Powell
  • The Search for Significance | Robert McGee
  • To Be Told: God Invites You to Coauthor your Future | Dan Allender
  • A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows through Loss | Jerry Sittser **
  • Now, Discover Your Strengths | Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton *
  • 48 Days to the Work You Love | Dan Miller
  • StrengthFinder 2.0 | Tom Rath
  • Outlive your Life | Max Lucado
  • Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream | David Platt*
Other Nonfiction
  • Outliers, the Story of Success | Malcolm Gladwell **
  • Commissioned: What Jesus Wants You to Know as You Go | Marv Newell *
  • Woman to Woman: Sharing Jesus with a Muslim Friend | Joy Loewen
  • Delhi: Adventures in a Megacity | Sam Miller
  • Cows, Kin, and Globalization: An Ethnography of Sustainability | Susan A. Crate
  • Somebody Else's Century: East and West in a Post-Western World | Patrick Smith
  • Skills, Knowledge, Character: A Church-Based Approach to Missionary Candidate Preparation | Greg Carter


Fiction / Literature
  • Gilead: A Novel | Marilynne Robinson **
  • A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
  • In the Beauty of the Lilies | John Updike
  • Tales from Shakespeare | Charles and Mary Lamb
  • The Magician's Nephew | C.S. Lewis
  • The Three Musketeers | Alexander Dumas
  • Hannah Coulter | Wendell Berry **
  • Summer Morning, Summer Night | Ray Bradbury
  • Home | Marilynne Robinson
  • Jayber Crow | Wendell Berry
  • Three Short Novels | Wendell Berry
  • Run: A Novel | Ann Patchett *
  • Girl in Translation | Jean Kwok
  • The Bonesetter’s Daughter | Amy Tan
  • The Help | Kathryn Stockett
  • Silver Birches | Adrian Plass
  • The Devil amongst the Lawyers: A Ballad Novel | Sharyn McCrumb
  • In the Company of Others | Jan Karon
  • Homeland and Other Stories | Barbara Kingsolver *
Mysteries and Light Fiction
  • The Tale of Applebeck Orchard | Susan Wittig Albert
  • Curtain: Poirot's Last Case | Agatha Christie
  • A Caribbean Mystery | Agatha Christie
  • Skull Duggery | Aaron Elkins
  • The Lost Art of Gratitude | Alexander McCall Smith
  • The Five Red Herrings | Dorothy Sayers
  • Light from Heaven | Jan Karon
  • The Good Husband of Zebra Drive | Alexander McCall Smith
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society | Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows **
  • The Game | Laurie King
  • Debts of Dishonor | Jill Paton Walsh
  • Among the Mad | Jacqueline Winspear
  • The Double Comfort Safari Club | Alexander McCall Smith
  • Kaleidoscope | Dorothy Gilman
  • Miracle on the 17th Green | James Patterson and Peter deJong
  • The Girl Who Chased the Moon | Sarah Addison Allen
  • Egret Cove | Margaret Nava
  • Key Lime Pie Murder | Joanne Fluke
  • The Lacemakers of Glenmara | Heather Barbieri
  • Locked Rooms | Laurie King *
  • The Mapping of Love and Death | Jacqueline Winspear
  • 44 Scotland Street | Alexander McCall Smith
  • Just Between You and Me | Jenny B. Jones
  • The Language of Bees | Laurie King
  • Chasing Shakespeares | Sarah Smith
  • The Yada Yada Prayer Group | Neta Jackson
  • Mostly Harmless | Douglas Adams
  • Holiday Grind | Cleo Coyle
Kid Lit / Young Adult
Five of these I read aloud to my young friend Rachel. But I still enjoy this kind of stuff for myself, too.
  • C D C? by William Steig
  • Betsy-Tacy / Deep Valley stories (12 volumes) | Maud Hart Lovelace
  • The Hardy Boys: Hunting for Hidden Gold | Frank Dixon
  • Stuart Little | E.B. White
  • The Battle of the Labyrinth | Rick Riordan
  • The Last Olympian | Rick Riordan
  • The Secret Garden | Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • The Horse and His Boy | C.S. Lewis *
  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian | Sherman Alexie
  • Anne’s House of Dreams | L.M. Montgomery
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone | J.K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire | J.K. Rowling
  • Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates | Mary Mapes Doge
  • The Princess Academy | Shannon Hale
  • So You Want to Be a Wizard | Diane Duane
  • Bloomability | Sharon Creech *
  • The King in the Window | Adam Gopnik *
  • Beside the Dark Sea of Darkness | Andrew Peterson
  • A Week in the Woods | Andrew Clement *

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Sound of Owls

Sometimes it takes me by surprise, how different we all are.

Recently a friend told me that late the night before she was reading a book that spoke of God's work in the "small" things. Just then she heard something land on the roof of her house with a loud thump, and, listening, realized it must be an owl. Another owl was perched on a neighbor's roof; she could just make out the shape.

She and her family have always loved owls. She called her grown daughter into the room: come quick! For half an hour they listened to the owls calling back and forth. My friend was so excited about what had happened she could not sleep.

While I like this story, I'm pretty sure I would not have reacted the same way. Would not, I suppose, have known it was an owl or been so excited that it was. Nature lover, yes; animal person, not really.

But it got me thinking about what things do thrill me in that same way. People, chiefly, and people's stories, and what makes people tick. The fact that I could tell you a story about my friend being excited about the owls means more to me than, say, hearing a couple of owls.

What kinds of things thrill or delight you? Can you sum them up into easy categories?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Not Yet Perfect

"Still looking for that perfect gift?" asked the radio spot. It was a Christian station; I think they were pitching something like child-sponsorship. But I chewed on those words for a while. I wondered why they felt like an accusation.

Should I be looking for that perfect gift? Is there something wrong with me if I don't want to give the perfect gift or have stopped looking? What if I don't like choosing presents for people, or shopping in general? If I'd rather opt out of wrapping, decorating, and filling and/or facing down a table full of sweets?

I envy the husbands of some of my friends, the kind of guys who have someone else to plan events and buy presents and write cards and sign their name. Must be nice to be a man! Now and again and in small doses I enjoy these celebratory arts, but this time of year it's all at once, and the more there is the less it seems to mean.

But it is what it is, and I go along with all of it, awkwardly, longing for the clean, crisp days of January.

It helps to acknowledge to myself that it's not that I'm right, and the others are wrong. Shopping and wrapping and parties and decorating and eating together are ways as good as any to show love, good will, and generosity. I can give those things, and I can receive them, even as I object to the huge helpings all at once.

Maybe next year I'll get more Silent Night, Holy Night, and Peace on Earth.

What does bring a sweetness to my soul, tears to my eyes, and cause my Grinchy heart to grow three sizes larger? There are some elements of Christmas - even Christmas in secular 21st-century America - that do. Every time I click on a link to watch one of those Hallelujah Chorus videos that are going viral on the internet (here's today's), I start to cry. What is it that makes that piece so glorious? Whatever it is about those melodies, harmonies, and rhythms, the lyrics cap it for me:

King of kings, and Lord of lords / And He shall reign / And He shall reign forever and ever

How wonderful it will be to take our place in a kingdom that will last forever, not to be in charge but to be under the care of a completely trustworthy and loving authority, in a place where both rest and work are redeemed and there will be no more struggling.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
Revelation 21:3-5 

Monday, December 20, 2010

Comment Policy

Got something to say? This blog is a nice outlet for me and at least occasionally of interest or help to some of you. But it does tend to feel rather one-sided, huh?

Recently I turned off the settings that made potential leavers-of-comments "register." Now you can comment at will and see your words appear immediately. Voila! Unless you are a spammer. In which case you may not get through; Blogger has finally got a system set up to flag spam comments. Slowly, slowly, they are catching up.

I still plan to move to Wordpress. I just haven't gotten around to it.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader

"Voyage of the Dawn Treader could be a great movie," I thought. The movie that got made, however, is not that movie. Not only is much of the original content left out, a number of things that get played up are either small incidents or not present in the book at all. So, as a big fan of the book, I was not sure what to think.

I liked the reinterpretation of the story of Lucy and the Magic Book; they used it to launch a whole theme about jealousy, temptation, and identity. Similarly at the end, when Caspian has to make a decision about what he's going to do next, he says,
“I’ve spent too much time wanting what had been taken from me and not enough being grateful for what has been given to me.”
Awesome. And - though not from the book - very much in the spirit of the story.  

They did add a lot of conflict and violence that might be hard for the youngest viewers to watch. Three new fight scenes in the first 15 minutes? And the rather funny scene with the sea-serpent transformed into a terrifying 20-minute night battle?

There are are a couple of scenes that celebrate faith and believing, when believing is just believing that what you want to happen is going to happen. What kind of faith is that? Pretty watered down, but much what you'd expect from Hollywood. Then, in the scene where the crew is about to go to the dark island, Caspian gives a speech to stir up their courage. Do it "for Narnia!" he says. "For Aslan!" he says. "For Narnia!" they echo, cheering. Some of the characters are starting to weep. Narnia! Wait, what happened to Aslan? Are they just like people in my country who adore their own, destined-to-decay nation and only give lip-service to God?

When Aslan does appear, though, he is well played. When Lucy asks whether she can see Aslan again, even if she can't return to Narnia, Aslan says yes. The line is straight from the book:
"But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there."
What else? The cinematography and effects are brilliant; the boat is gorgeous. The writing's not brilliant, but the acting is quite good. Overall, I would recommend this movie.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Three things

1. I tend to like parties, but four Christmas parties in one week is enough. I'm done until the 24th.

2. Last night someone handed me a $1000 check for my ministry. The second time it's happened this week. How cool is that?

(To put this in context: as of two weeks ago my ministry account was >4k in the red. That's because - to my dismay - my agency pays full salary and benefits even when the money is not there. The IRS likes it that way. I don't. But there's light at the end of the tunnel now: Yay for year-end gifts!)

3. Off to brave the crowds and get my Christmas shopping done today, I hope. And catch up on thank-you notes this evening. In between, going to see The Voyage of the Dawn Treader with some friends. Fun!

    Friday, December 17, 2010

    Profession and/or Calling

    In a recent blog post, John Holzmann challenges the frequent connection between job and calling. I thought this was really helpful. While I've been blessed to do work that aligns closely with my sense of calling, I know many more people whose real vocation is something they pursue after hours. Here's what John says:
    Traditionally, it has been understood that whatever one's "job" or "business" or "profession," that is one's vocation. And what one does by way of pure pleasure, is a hobby or avocation -- literally, a non-calling.

    I don't want to go too far into these matters, but it seems to me that one might pursue a "job" or "business" or "profession" not by way calling or vocation, but simply as a means to an end, a means by which one is enabled to pursue other, "higher" goals -- either, simply, to "stay alive," "keep body and soul together" (because one can't find other work to do) or, perhaps -- as is the case with many missionaries in limited-access circumstances -- as a means by which to gain legal access to the area in which one actually senses he or she is called to minister.

    "Calling," it seems to me -- vocation -- is something more akin to a compulsion, a "necessity laid upon" a man or woman to do something of great worth whether he or she feels a lot of pleasure from the activity or not, whether the activity is easy to do or hard, requires great courage or, almost, nary a second thought.

    Whether one is engaged in one's calling or, simply, a "job" or "profession," I believe it is still incumbent upon us to do our work "with all our heart, soul, mind and strength" and "as unto the Lord." But I sense there is -- and, rightly, we ought to recognize a distinction between vocation (or "calling") and job.

    >> John's Excursus on Calling is part of a longer post.
    See also my post Work and Rest in Heaven (May 18, 2010).

    Thursday, December 16, 2010

    Mailing List

    Hey, I just sent out an email newsletter. Do you frequent this blog and have some interest in my doings - but don't get my newsletters? If you'd like, zap me an email and I will put your address on my list. I send out updates about once a month.

    Avoiding a Bah, Humbug Christmas


    "Christmas can be, as the song says, 'the most wonderful time of the year' or it can be the saddest season of all. Fortunately, as I've learned since that long-ago Yuletide, the choice is up to us.

    "When it come to cranky Christmas-ers, no one tops Ebenezer Scrooge. (He was single, too, by the way.) Scrooge's holiday plans, such as they were, were rudely interrupted by visits from a parade of ghosts. If we're not careful, those same ghosts can haunt our own holidays..."

    >> Read the rest of Susan Ellingburg's article on being single at Christmas.


    My new friend Kay writes: "When I learned about King Edward abdicating his throne I thought it was the most romantic story I'd ever heard. Imagine, giving up the throne for the love of a woman.

    "Of course, during that time, the throne didn't really hold any power anymore. It was purely position, but still...

    "What if a king of old had done that? Back in the day when brother killed brother, son killed father, husband killed wife for the crown. What if a king had forsaken all that power, wealth, prestige and honor for love? Unheard of.

    "But then... isn't that what we're celebrating this month?"

    >> Read Kay's post.

    Born into What Kind of World?

    Finally, another friend who lives in a war-torn African country writes in a recent newsletter:

    "When I think about Christ’s birth in light of our situation out here I am reminded that our situation is closer to the world Christ broke into than yours.

    "The Christmas story is not just a warm fuzzy baby born in rustic settings and declared 'Prince of Peace.'

    The Holy Innocents by Giotto di Bondone
    "Remember that the Jews were subject to a brutal Roman overseer in Israel, Herod killed hundreds of babies and children in pursuit of his 'rival,' and Mary and Joseph were forced to become refugees and flee to Egypt. The Magi had to return a different way to their land in order to not endanger Jesus. For Joseph, Mary, the Magi and everyone involved in the birth story, their lives were turned upside down.

    "So my prayer for you and me is that we will have a 'real' encounter with Jesus this Christmas season and even though our lives may be turned upside down we would say yes to Him who gives 'peace not that the world gives, but that surpasses understanding.'"

    Thursday, December 09, 2010

    Fun Run

    Just a few days until the Jingle Bell 5K Run. I think I'm ready.

    We lived on Vashon Island for 5-6 years,
    in the area so originally called "Center"
    Another hope I have with this running thing is to go slay a childhood dragon. Yes, sometime when I'm in the NW I want to borrow a car, drive to Fauntleroy, take the ferry, and make my way to McMurray Middle School to run the two-mile "Fun Run" which we were expected to complete once a week back when I was twelve. As you might guess, this was not something I could do when I was twelve.

    As you may recall, I've had a life-long problem with "fun"!
    Especially when it had to do with sports. All through school P.E. was my least favorite class. And I loathed the Fun Run. It was a low point of my existence. I could run about 100 yards, then walked the rest of the way around the route before getting back to school, shivering and shamed.

    Had I then a fraction of the maturity I have now I might have enjoyed the chance to go for a walk in the rain with friends... though of course being clad in yucky gym clothes and left in the dust (er, mud) by friends may have dampened that experience.

    This week I asked myself, "What was the message of the Fun Run?"
    "That you are a pathetic loser," came the answer. Yikes. Harsh, huh? I don't think my P.E. teachers would like to know they left that kind of legacy. I'm pretty sure that wasn't their intention. (Personally, I think that message was Satan's idea, since he'll use anything that works to steal, kill, and destroy.)

    "So, why do you want to go back?" I continued this conversation with myself.
    "Because I'm not a pathetic loser. Because I can do it. Because doing something that seems to be out of character is completely different when you choose and prepare for it instead of being forced into it, forced into someone else's mold for you. Now, I can do it, and I think it would be... fun."

    If you live in the Seattle area and would like to come with me, let me know. It might be hard to get there over the holidays this month, but maybe that would work out. If not, I should be back in the area for a visit sometime in the summer.

    Wednesday, December 08, 2010

    Christmas Mind Games

    How do you feel about Christmas this year? If you live in America you may be considering this question as the "season" is well underway. In any other part of the world, Christmas may be two and a half weeks off and you aren't giving it much thought.

    However, let's just say you're in America. And probably, like me (and many other people over 10) you have some mixed feelings here.

    I'm a big fan of Christ, but getting frustrating with Christmas. I'm seriously considering dropped the term "Merry Christmas," with all the stress and nonsense that covers up its legitimate meaning, and going with the not-quite-as-tarnished "Happy Holidays." I might opt for "Season's Greetings" but that sounds too meaningless. It reminds me of a phrase they use in a Central Asian country where I spent one Christmas: "bairamingiz bilan." Literally that translates "with your celebration." Works for any occasion. It's short for "bairamingiz bilan mubarak bo'lsin," which means, "Blessed be your celebration." Guess that's a little better. Huh. What do you think?

    Do the "Merry Christmas!" greetings make Christmas more merry, or less? I've been wondering if the tidal wave of memories, expectations, and messages from friends, strangers, and media of all kinds to be and feel fabulous, since it's the "most wonderful time of the year, the hap, happiest season of all" is part of the problem.

    I've done most all of my shopping and my bit of the decorating; I've committed to attend three holiday parties next week. I also have two big boxes of Christmas cards to send. But I'm not sure I really want to send them and if so, what to write. Will it just add to the madness and put on more pressure towards jollity? If I dampen my well-wishes to the point where they don't invoke pressure, though, they don't seem worth sending. Hmmm.

    A friend/relative of mine who claims to hate Christmas writes in a post called I Am a Christmas Failure

    "Christmas is a wonderful time of year when everything is wondrous and special and magical and stuff. Which is why it sucks... because I'm supposed to feel magical, and I don't, so I end up feeling sub-unmagical."

    Probably I am over-thinking this one, throwing out the baby with the bathwater, and fighting when I could just relax and let Christmas be the stew of peace, joy, stress, meaning, and nonsense that it has become. Any advice?

    Thursday, December 02, 2010

    Random Acts of Tax-Deductible Charitable Giving

    Do you want to add another $.45 to go to the Salvation Army?" she asked. I didn't. I also walked by the bell ringer at the next place. I shy away from retail charity of all kinds, preferring to give deliberately, generously, and in focused ways - not carelessly and in little bits to whomever has the cutest or easiest fund-raising campaign.

    But maybe I need to get off my high horse about this. I also showed up for my church's Thanksgiving service without the requisite bag of cans for the food bank. After all, I didn't have any little children to enlist in preparing this good deed, and my $50 check would go further and might bring in some healthier offerings, right? Of course, I forgot the checkbook, so my good intentions didn't go so far as the family carefully picking out canned green beans at Costco, did they?

    Others must find it harder to say no to such easy, hands-on, feel-good requests, because I'm seeing more and more of them.
    I wonder what percentage of charitable giving comes through such random acts of charity? Do you participate in much of this kind of stuff? Why or why not? Do you budget for it? How do you decide what organizations to support, or do you give to all who ask?

    Recently I've noticed several friends raising support asking for "just 50 partners at  $10 a month..." That's more than a one-time donation of $.45, true. But it's a hard way to pay the rent. Would you rather do that, and support many different things, or partner in a more significant, costly way?

    Wednesday, December 01, 2010

    Late Because...

    Do you tend to run a bit late? Are you - forgive the pun - chronically late? I don't, myself, consider tardiness a grave insult or unforgivable sin - In fact, I'd like to see more people stop taking punctuality so seriously. But if you are one of those folks who does, I may be that person who frustrates you.

    On the other hand, I've felt the pressure that comes from being late, trying not to be late, worrying about being late, and trying to compensate for or justify being late. Stressful, eh? I'm all for reducing stress.

    What are some of the reasons we run late?

    - We don't respect or value the other person's time or the event
    - We consider the beginning of the event or get-together to be "miss-able"
    - We are trying to avoid the awkwardness of being too early or having to stay too long

    Lack of margin:
    - We fail to accurately estimate how much time it would take to get someplace
    - We plan to be early, but then try to get too many other things done with our extra time
    - We try to do too much, in general

    Being in the moment:
    - We simply lose track of time
    - We are helping or in conversation with someone else

    We are unavoidably delayed 
    - Traffic jams, accidents, etc.

      Did I miss any?  (A member of my family says I did. There should be a special category for being unable to get moving because you stayed up too late the night before to finish reading a novel.)

      Which of these are "good" reasons, in your mind, to be late yourself or for someone else to be late for a meeting or event you're part of? Which ones are worth the stress and pressure of lateness?