I don’t think it was in the mind of Dr. Bell when he invented the telephone for people like me to be harassed by people who are only after my money. Don't get me wrong here. The telephone has been a great blessing to many people. But lately, the wrong people have my number.
It finally came to a head this past week. At least as far as I was concerned.
The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and I had a very busy week and by Thursday we had accomplished a lot, or at least we thought we had. We had lunch with a very good friend and enjoyed ourselves tremendously.
This month I celebrate another birthday. At my age, I cannot remember exactly which one but that does not really matter. The number of the birthday, in my point of view, does not influence the celebration of the birthday.
Life has been rather good to me in many respects. The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and I are a wonderful team and have been for so many years; I’m not allowed to say how many.
As a team, she can fix anything and I can break anything. That certainly goes hand-in-hand with life. No matter what I can break, she can fix. This has made life rather good.
Thinking is not my strong suit by any stretch of the imagination. Every time I start thinking, I either get a headache or get into trouble. I’m not sure which is worse, the headache or the trouble.
In my normal pursuit of life, thinking sits in the backseat. If there is an emergency, thinking may come forward and help out. However, in the meantime, thinking is not something I like to do on a regular basis.
That is my side. On the other side, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage is always thinking. Most of the time, she is thinking about jobs I should be doing. I don’t know how she does it, but she can come up with a list of “honey-do’s” that will occupy all my time. Of course, I must confess, while I am doing these “honey-do’s” I am thinking, but not thoughts I would like to come out into the public arena.
There are all kinds of questions in this world of ours. Most are rather annoying. It would not surprise me in the least if there were a gang of hooligans somewhere hired to make up silly questions. If I could find this gang, I would disperse them immediately, without a question.
Of course, there is the fact that the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage is in cahoots with these question-maker-uppers. Every once in a while she comes up with questions for Yours Truly.
It is not the questions I object to but rather the answers I am supposed to give in connection to the questions. My wife has a silly notion that the answers I give should be in direct correlation to the questions she asked. Who made up this rule? Oops, that was a question. Sorry about that.
After about a million days of toil, sweat and aggravation, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and I decided to take a few days off and relax.
I am not a real expert when it comes to relaxing. I have not pursued a PhD in relaxing and therefore it is a foreign theme to me.
Of course, I have advised many people to chill out, relax a little bit and not get so excited about things. What doctor do you know who takes his own medicine? Or, what pastor do you know that listens to his own sermon?
So that you know, I am not suspicious (knock on wood). I take a rather practical approach to life and try my best not to get bent out of shape. At my age, it’s rather difficult to keep my shape. I try to keep my guard up, but no matter what I do, I drop it.
Tuesday I was engaged in a “project,” when the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage came and brought me an apple fritter. “I thought,” she said rather cheerfully, “that you could use an apple fritter.”
I was most gracious for this apple fritter. Nothing raises your spirits and encourages you to do your best like an apple fritter. I know my wife and I disagree as to the nature of these apple fritters so it surprised me that she brought one to me.
Rare is the time when I actually am all caught up with my schedule. Whenever I think I am caught up, something happens that takes that and throws it out the window.
Such was the case this past week. I was very much happy with the fact that I was on schedule and I had everything in hand. Nothing makes me feel better.
Of course, this is mostly delusional, at least for me. If there ever was an award for being delusional, I am quite certain I would be at the top of the list. The amazing thing about being delusional is that you never think you are.
As I was wallowing in my delusion and enjoying every moment of it, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage came and said rather sharply, “Are you ready to go?”
At the moment, I had no idea what she was talking about. And so I responded, “Huh?”
I’m not sure if that is really a word or not, but it accurately described my delusional moment at that time. I had no idea what she was talking about.
“You haven’t,” she said, “forgotten what day it is, have you?”
I was tempted to say, “Of course not. It’s Tuesday.” Fortunately, I did not yield to that temptation and just responded with another, “Huh?”
I wouldn’t tell her, but I probably would not miss my head if I would forget it. After all, I don’t wear a hat.
“Today,” she said in a very serene voice, “the two grandchildren are getting awards at school.”
I’m not quite sure if I forgot or if I was not listening when the instructions came my way. At this point, I was not going to let anybody know, particularly my wife.
“Oh, yes,” I said getting up from my chair, “I’m all ready to go. Let’s go.”
She gave me one of her classic sarcastic grins and we headed for the door.
Our one granddaughter was graduating from the third grade and the other from the fifth grade. Unfortunately, one was at 8:30 in the morning and the other was it 1 o’clock in the afternoon. It would make sense to have them all at once, but what has sense to do in our world today?
I did not want to complain, after all, it is our grandchildren, but I think the planning could have been just a little bit better than that. After all, sitting in the school cafeteria listening to the award ceremony is about as exciting as it can get.
The chairs that we had to sit on were uncomfortable, which was very fortunate for me because I was not tempted to fall asleep during the ceremony. I believe that was done on purpose.
Imagine getting an award for completing the third grade!
I cannot remember any such thing when I was going to grade school. Our great award was leaving school and going home in the afternoon. It just doesn’t get any better than that.
We live in a different world today where everybody gets an award for something or sometimes for nothing.
Then I felt a sharp pain in my right ribs (thanks Eve) and I heard a voice saying, “Put that away and pay attention.”
Slowly and reluctantly, I returned my cell phone to my shirt pocket and tried to pay attention but I didn’t have enough quarters. Paying attention can be very expensive when you’re in situations like this.
The problem is that the grade school, particularly the third grade, had more children than my grandchildren. They were trying to give awards and recognition to all the children and I was only interested in one, my granddaughter.
I was musing on this for a while and then my companion said, “Look, there she is.”
When she said that, out came her cell phone and she began taking pictures of our granddaughter walking up to the stage to get an award. I can’t use my cell phone, but she’s at liberty to use her cell phone. Where’s the fairness in that?
Taking a hint from my wife, I reached for my cell phone only to realize that I was too late and the moment was gone. I glanced over at my wife and all I could see was the big smile on her face and her saying, “I got her picture.” All I could do was return her smile and congratulate her on getting the picture.
After each of the award ceremonies my wife and I went forward and she took pictures of me in the grandchildren together which made her rather happy.
All the way home that afternoon, she was giggling and chattering very excitedly. “Her” grandchildren received some awards. According to her, these were very special awards.
I smiled and was tempted to say, “Aren’t they my grandchildren too?” Why spoil the moment. She was excited and happy and it was worth my silence.
I was reminded of what Solomon said. “A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak” (Ecclesiastes 3:7).
A wise man knows when “to keep silence.”
Tim Davis is a pastor at Westside Bible Church in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. His internet past-time is the backbone of the Cybersalt sites.
The Reverend James L. Snyder is an award winning author whose writings have appeared in more than eighty periodicals including GUIDEPOSTS. In Pursuit of God: The Life of A. W. Tozer, Snyder?s first book, won the Reader?s Choice Award in 1992 by Christianity Today. Snyder has authored 8 books altogether.
Rev. James L. Snyder has a knack for making fun of daily frustrations and will increase your humor aptitude so you too can discover that life is less stressful when you?re laughing. Through these essays, you will realize that humor and religion belong together and that its OK to keep from taking yourself and others too seriously.
Blog writings by Shirley Choat.
This is Alyssa Sampson's blog. She is Pastor Tim's daughter.