I was frantically searching for something I desperately needed when I stumbled upon something I had long ago forgotten. I am always trying to find something that I know where it is at but I just cannot put my fingers on it at the moment. It is not that my office is messy and disorganized; I just have a very complicated filing system. It is so complicated that most time I do not understand it myself.
The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage is always getting after me about organizing my office. "If you would spend some time organizing this office you would be able to find something when you need it."
The only recourse I have is simply that I do not have enough time to waste in organizing my office correctly.
"If you would spend the time you squander searching for something," my wife argues, "in organizing your office, you wouldn't be wasting so much time."
Of course, this only goes to show that she has no idea how my mind works. Invariably, when I am searching for something I need at the time, I find something I had long ago forgotten about. That is the exciting thing about searching for things in my office. Although I rarely find what I am looking for, I usually run across something I have not seen for years, which sets me off on a completely different direction.
As a country boy, I grew up hunting rabbits. And rabbit trails are about as natural to me as anything I can think of at the time. I feel sorry for those people who know exactly what they are doing and where they are going. What kind of life is that?
The exciting thing for me is that when I start a project I never know what I am going to discover or where I will end up.
Such a thing happened to me this week. I was searching for something; I cannot remember what it was now, when I uncovered an old friend.
It was hidden away in the corner covered by files and books and other such artifacts. I could not remember the last time I saw it, which really may not be that long ago the way my mind works. But there it was and it brought back a flood of wonderful memories.
What I discovered was my old Underwood typewriter. None of those electric typewriters that sissies use, but a man's typewriter. When you typed on this typewriter, you knew you were working.
I took the cover off, dusted it a little and just admired it. Oh, what fond memories I had of that piece of equipment. I took it off the stand and gently placed it on my desk so I could see if it still worked. I rolled a sheet of paper in it, adjusted the bar and began typing away.
One thing about those old typewriters, they gave you a sense of being in control of what you were doing at the time. As I typed, I had a sense of power I had long ago forgotten about.
Admiring my old typewriter, I recalled when I switched from my good old friend to a computer. At the time, I remember it being quite a decision for me. I, being a literary purist, decided I would continue using my old typewriter until I died. None of that new fangled technology for me, I vowed.
The reason men are much larger than women is that we have to eat our words all the time. I had to eat my words on this issue.
I was in the middle of writing my first book when out of frustration I started thinking about getting a computer. I had retyped one page four or five times and I was still making mistakes on it. I had run out of Whiteout and was simply frustrated with the process.
Seeing my frustration, my wife suggested, "Why don't you go and get a computer?"
Normally, I do not take my wife's advice until I have convinced myself it was my idea in the first place. It is just a little rule I have.
A week later, I came home with my first computer promising myself I would only use this computer on big jobs. My preference, of course, was my old Underwood typewriter, where I would do most of my work. Dignity has its standards.
Little by little, I began using my computer more and more. It was not long before I was neglecting my old friend. It was not long before all of my thoughts were for my new computer. Gradually, I moved the old Underwood typewriter into the corner where I found it this week.
Old friends should never be forgotten. Even if the only thing they give us are fond memories of the past, at the least that's a good thing and should not be despaired. Old friends should be celebrated if only for all the wonderful memories they have generated in the past.
As I thought about my old typewriter, a wonderful verse of Scripture came to mind.
"A man that hath friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother" (Proverbs 18:24 KJV).
The more friends a person has, the more memories to indulge. Choose your friends wisely for they are the stuff memories are made of.
The Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship,