May 24, 2007
Mix It Up Day
Yesterday, apparently, was Mix It Up Day at InterVarsity Press. (It was also Sarcastic Wednesday, according to Hallmark's Hoops and YoYo.) Yesterday I parked in the parking spot normally taken by the director of production and fulfillment (gasp!). Yesterday the associate editorial director led a meeting normally led by the editorial director (wow!). Yesterday the director of sales and marketing sat in the seat normally occupied by the senior marketing manager (huh?!?). Yesterday the editorial intern took the favorite lunch spot of Craver VII. And yesterday the editorial department cancelled its weekly popcorn meeting in favor of a Thursday bagel meeting. I even switched stalls.
We were all mixin' it up yesterday. This post even mixed it up; I scheduled it to go online yesterday afternoon, but here it is, one day late. We didn't plan Mix It Up Day, but in all sorts of ways we honored it.
It's good, I think, to mix it up on occasion. It's far too easy to settle into habits and routines that once were refreshing and innovative for us but have become regimented, subconscious, automatic.
Some things, of course, lend themselves to becoming regimented, either by their nature or by design: our bodies require regular rhythms of sleeping, eating, whatnot; we discover the most efficient path to a repeated outcome, and we repeat it because to do otherwise would be silly, wasteful. Those things notwithstanding, I think there often comes a time when we need to look squarely at what we've become accustomed to, in order to determine whether we've become enslaved to it. Dietrich Bonhoeffer (my favorite Dietrich) gave at least one example in his book Life Together:
"Let him who cannot be alone beware of community."
I'm struck by this pairing of statements both because they caution us against the type of settling we're vulnerable to--when we seek out community or solitude by default, we miss out on the benefits and responsibilities of their opposites--and because the paradox itself mixes it up for me. Every time I read these statements together, my initial reaction is "Huh? . . . Wait a minute . . . Huh?"
So for a time at least I get interrupted from my presumptions about what it means to be in community or in solitude, and I revisit my own understandings of what I need from others, and what they need from me. What happens next is unpredictable, which is, I suppose, why we don't often like to mix it up.
Nevertheless, I welcome you to make your own Mix It Up Day. Share your favorite memory of mixing it up (or getting mixed up) here. Then go, as they say, and do likewise.